COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The High-Performance Research Computing (HPRC) division at Texas A&M University recently introduced middle and high school students to data science and cyber technologies through a hybrid of virtual and in-person learning environments. HPRC’s Camp Smart encouraged students to take a holistic approach to data and computing science.

“Texas A&M HPRC is constantly experimenting and offering new ways for Texas A&M researchers to work with computing and data,” said Honggao Liu, executive director of HPRC. “We are excited to engage with the community and help shape the future of the country.” 

Throughout June and July 2021, more than 150 students from the U.S. and other nations attended four camps offered through HPRC’s Summer Computing Academy. The academy returned after a year-long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Participants at Camp Smart and its counterpart — Camp Secure, a cybersecurity and coding camp — worked with artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other data science techniques, combined with cutting-edge cyberinfrastructure methods. Additionally, the summer academy offered two virtual camps that focused on building concepts in cybersecurity.  

Texas A&M undergraduate and graduate students participated as counselors and were involved in hands-on activities, educational games, lectures from faculty, tours of campus facilities, and a session dedicated to college admissions. Returning campers participated as junior counselors. 

The camps culminated with a contest in which campers developed innovative solutions to address today’s societal problems. 

Program alumni have gone on to participate in STEM and computing programs at the undergraduate level, including at Texas A&M. 

Partners for the program include the Department of Computer Science Engineering, the Department of Education & Human Resource Development, University Libraries, the Texas Engineering Experiment Station, and the Division of Information Technology. 

The program received support from the Texas Workforce Commission, the National Science Foundation (NSF), GenCyber (a program funded by NSF and the National Security Agency), Dell EMC, Amazon Web Services, and Summus Industries. 

Camp instructional materials are available for community use. For online access, send an email to