Kid of Indian-origin wins top prize in US science competition for middle school students
Broadcom Foundation and Society for Science announced that Akilan Sankaran a 14-year-old, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, won the coveted $25,000 Samueli Foundation Prize, the top award in the Broadcom MASTERS®.
It is the nation’s premier science and engineering competition for middle school students.
Akilan’s winning entry was the computer program that can calculate “highly divisible numbers” that are called anti-primer numbers and are over 1,000 digits long, SFS said.
Akilan is the first student with a math project in the history of the competition’s 11-year to take home the Samueli Foundation Prize.
The Indian-origin teenager has developed a computer programme using “anti-prime numbers” that can accelerate everyday processes, while three of the four winners of the next level prizes of $10,000 were also of Indian-origin, as were 15 of the 30 finalists from around the country.
Maya Ajmera, the president of the Society for Science (SFS), which runs the competition with Broadcom Foundation, said: “The young people we are celebrating today are working to solve the world’s most intractable problems. The Broadcom Masters finalists serve as an inspiration to us all, and I know they will all go on to find immense success on their STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) journey.”
“He created a new class of functions ï¿½ the smooth class ï¿½ to measure a number’s divisibility” and his programme has the potential capacity to speed up and optimize the performance of software and apps,” it said.
“By analyzing and developing ‘smooth highly divisible numbers’, Akilan’s goal was to make calculations run more quickly, in turn accelerating countless everyday processes and tasks,” it added.
Sankaran “hopes to become an astrophysicist so that he can merge three of his favourite topics: physics, mathematics and space science”, according to the SFS.
Camellia Sharma, 14, built a 3D-printed aerial drone/ boat that can fly to a spot, land on the water, and take underwater photos while its software can then count the fish living there, winning a $10,000 award.
Another winner of a similar award, Prisha Shroff, 14, developed an artificial intelligence-based wildfire prevention system that uses satellite and meteorological data to identify fire-prone locations and deploy drones there.
For her study of the many social factors that affect the health of communities, Ryka C. Chopra, 13, geocoded the locations of fast-food restaurants to see if they are built near populations of obese people, perhaps contributing to the obesity cycle, winning another $10,000 award.
More than 1,800 middle school students from across the US entered the Broadcom Masters competition.
The foundation inspires young people to pursue careers in STEM and to develop 21st Century skills of critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity. It is a founding member of the National STEM Funders Network and plays a leadership role in the STEM Education Ecosystem Initiative in the US and Israel.
The foundation’s signature programs, the Broadcom MASTERS® and the Broadcom MASTERS® International are the premier science and engineering competitions for middle school students around the United States and the world.
[With Inputs from IANS]
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