WCG Club at Boca Raton Community High School

Students at Boca Raton Community High School have been contributing to the World Community Grid since 2020, and the partnership is expanding with the creation of the new WCG Club.

Boca Raton Community High School is on a mission to expand science curriculum for its students, and introduce them to high-performance computing on the grid and its benefits to research across many domains of science. We talked with a teacher and Science Olympiad coach from Boca Raton Community High School, Jonathan Benskin, about how he expands biology classes with World Community Grid research and how he strives to bring supercomputing into the high school.

Late in the 2020 academic year, Mr. Benskin introduced a class of juniors to the World Community Grid, which they found greatly interesting. Shortly after, students created a WCG Club at the high school with the aim to grow the base of volunteers, just in time for new students to learn about the platform during the next academic year.

Students presented completed WCG projects in groups of two and current projects in groups of four. These presentations focused on the scientific goals of each project and even ventured into the computational strategies employed by each to complete work units. As part of their preparations, the team (through Mr. Benskin) asked WCG project team leads questions, and ran their ideas by them. Mr. Benskin believes this assignment deepened students’ appreciation for the WCG research and helped them understand the impact that their donated computing power makes to advance science.

The students’ in-class presentations of World Community Grid current research.

After the presentations, the students moved onto a fundraising campaign to further expand their computing equipment. Their primary purpose would be for WCG contributions, with additional hardware used for academic purposes when not being used to complete work units. To start, the students conceived of a school-wide workshop program run by themselves to introduce new students into computer science. Workshops would teach interested newcomers many relevant topics such as introductory-level Python. The school’s administration agreed to support the expansion after a detailed presentation by the students who originally proposed and evolved the idea.

Fundraising in their local neighborhood was another major component of the campaign. Students were given a choice for roles within the club, with the first group working to raise funds through persuasive presentations. They have been successful in obtaining funding from a local business and are always searching for new businesses to help them. The second group was tasked with determining what equipment to buy with their funds, carefully balancing performance and cost. So far, they have fundraised enough to build three new high-end workstations, enabling them to substantially increase their contribution to WCG. Their campaign is far from over, though, as they plan to become the largest high school contributing partner.

Students working on optimizing cost-performance of the new computing hardware.

The students of Boca Raton High School aspire to become one of the main contributing partners on the WCG. Their initial success is a great motivating factor for them as they are always looking for new ways to support a project that means a lot to them. We are extremely grateful for their contribution and applaud their enthusiasm.

For any questions, please comment on our Boca Raton H.S. Announcement forum thread.

WCG Team