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DOE Labs Promote Computer Literacy as White House Issues New STEM Plan

In celebration of National Computer Science Week this week, and in support of the White House’s Charting a Course for Success: America’s Strategy for STEM Education,” DOE national laboratories are holding events at schools and laboratories across the nation aimed at exciting U.S. students about computer programming and careers in computing and science.

Argonne, Fermilab, Los Alamos, and Oak Ridge National Laboratories are dispatching dozens of scientists and computing experts to local K-12 schools this week to host “Hour of Code” sessions that introduce students to programming basics. 

Separately, Argonne and Oak Ridge joined Brookhaven, Idaho, Lawrence Berkeley, Pacific Northwest, and Sandia National Laboratories to host the fourth collegiate CyberForce Competition this past Saturday in which hundreds of college students teamed up and competed to defend energy infrastructure from simulated cyberattacks.

2018 Cyberforce competition at Argonne national lab
This weekend, several National Laboratories hosted the CyberForce Competition, in which hundreds of college students teamed up and competed to defend energy infrastructure from simulated cyberattacks. 

A majority of STEM promotion programs at the national laboratories are sustained through generous voluntary donations of time by laboratory researchers and other laboratory employees. 

These activities reinforce a central theme of the new White House STEM strategy that was released earlier today, which outlines federal goals for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education and training over the next five years. The strategy also highlights national goals for building strong foundations for STEM literacy, increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM, and preparing the STEM workforce of the future.

A critical emphasis of the plan focuses on building computational literacy, which has become almost as important as basic literacy in our increasingly digitized society.

It is also important that we maintain our role as a world leader in supercomputing. DOE labs own the world’s two fastest supercomputers—Summit at Oak Ridge and Sierra at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory—and it is vital that we continue building a sustained American scientific workforce that is computationally literate and can help us continue our progress. 

We are proud of all the efforts by our national laboratory researchers to inspire students to pursue careers in computing and all areas of science, building our future STEM workforce and continuing our scientific leadership.