Nick Pattengale SOCORRO, N.M. May 8, 2002 -- Nick D. Pattengale, a December 2001 graduate of New Mexico Tech, is one of six U.S. university students who recently were named winners in the IBM Linux Scholar Challenge.

Out of more than 1,400 students from 64 countries entering the inaugural international competition, Pattengale was among a select group of 25 students from 14 countries who were awarded IBM ThinkPad laptops for their successful efforts in developing and submitting the most innovative Linux applications.

While still an undergraduate majoring in computer science at New Mexico Tech, Pattengale began studying both operational and functional improvements to Linux-based systems, seeking ways to improve the Linux user interface.

In the course of his research, Pattengale says he became convinced that by following superior interface design principles,
developers could make Linux stand out from the pack as the premier computing environment.

"In the paper I submitted to the Linux Scholar Challenge, I argued for human-computer interface improvement for the Linux user," Pattengale says. "I then implemented a software demo/testbed of the concepts outlined in the paper.
Pattengale is now a software engineer at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he currently works on adaptive control systems and diagnostic visualization tools for particle accelerators.

"I hope to go on to grad school in the not-too-distant future to pursue human-computer interface research," he says.

While at New Mexico Tech, Pattengale was a member of several teams that participated in various computer programming contests, one of which won the 2001 New Mexico Tech Invitational Programming Competition, as well as three others which all placed second in other regional programming contests.

"I can't say enough about New Mexico Tech," Pattengale says. "It was a strange occurrence that I ended up in Socorro after living in Los Angeles; however, someone must have been looking out for me. . . . The computer science curriculum at Tech was very relevant to today's job market.

"Although, the most outstanding aspect of New Mexico Tech is the peer groups," he adds. "I wouldn't be near the intellectual level I feel I have achieved if it weren't for my 'way too intelligent' friends and colleagues at the university."

Announced in August 2001, IBM developed the Linux Scholar Challenge to familiarize university students with the open source Linux operating system and the workings of the open source community, encouraging these young programmers to develop cutting-edge projects based on Linux systems and technology.