Regional Winners Move on to Final Phase of Competition: National
Finals in Washington, D.C.
Andrew Komo, Bethesda, MD, Wins Top Individual Honors;
Katherine Tian, Cupertino, CA, and Swapnil Garg, Sunnyvale, CA, Win
Top Team Honors
ISELIN, N.J. -- (Business Wire)
Three students have been named National Finalists in the Siemens
Competition in Math, Science & Technology after earning top spots in one
of two regional competitions that took place this past weekend. The
Competition is the nation's premier science research competition for
high school students and promotes excellence by encouraging students to
undertake individual or team research projects. For more information go
Andrew Komo of Bethesda, MD, earned top individual honors and a
$3,000 scholarship for developing a coded system that protects online
auctions from threats, such as cheating and fraud. Katherine Tian of
Cupertino, CA, and Swapnil Garg of Sunnyvale, CA,shared
the $6,000 team scholarship for developing a potentially more accurate
way to classify kidney cancer tumors. They were among 101 students
selected to compete in regional competitions across the country this
month out of a pool of more than 1,860 projects submitted to the
These top regional winners now move on to the final phase of the Siemens
Competition to present their work at the National Finals in Washington,
D.C., December 4-5, 2017, where $500,000 in scholarships will be
awarded, including two top prizes of $100,000.
The students presented their research this weekend to a panel of judges
at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology (MIT), host of the Region Five Finals.
"This level of research coming from high school students never fails to
inspire us," said David Etzwiler, CEO of the Siemens Foundation. "We are
blown away by the hard work and dedication of these students to solve
real world problems and proud to shine a light on their accomplishments."
The Siemens Competition, launched in 1999 by the Siemens Foundation, was
established to increase access to higher education for students who are
gifted in STEM and is based on the culture of innovation, research and
educational support that is the hallmark of Siemens. The competition is
administered by Discovery Education and builds a strong pipeline for the
nation’s most promising scientists, engineers and mathematicians.
The Winning Individual for Region Five
Andrew Komo, a senior at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring,
MD, won the individual category and a $3,000 scholarship for his project
entitled, “Cryptographically Secure Proxy Bidding in Ascending Clock
Andrew developed a cryptographic protocol designed to protect online
auctions from threats including collusion and fraud by prioritizing
privacy. Bidders' bids are completely private from all other parties
until the close of the auction. Despite this, auctioneers can be certain
that these hidden bids are valid and know when to draw the auction to a
close. Furthermore, the protocol is constructed in such a way that
bidders can ensure an auction has run correctly once cryptographic
information is revealed at the close of the auction, guaranteeing them
an honest purchase price.
Andrew's system could be used for large-scale auction sites that manage
billions of dollars of transactions, often run by governments. Each
year, for example, the FCC auctions off bands of the electromagnetic
spectrum to communications and media companies, which need access to
this resource for communications such as cell phone, radio and
television broadcasts. With Andrew's system in place, such large-scale
auctions could be carried out with more transparency, fairness and
"Andrew's work is very impressive. The system he devised pulls together
a novel implementation of disparate results, and uses some clever
innovation to boot," said competition judge Dr. Jolyon Bloomfield,
Lecturer in Physics at MIT. "I would not be surprised if some variation
of this system actually becomes the standard for conducting these
large-scale auctions in the future."
Andrew is passionate about research and aspires to design new algorithms
and protocols that make the world safer and more efficient. Outside of
his research, Andrew is the captain of his school’s computer team and
economics club and is an avid tennis player. He was a finalist in the
2017 Moody's Mega Math Challenge, a national team-based math modeling
competition, and came in third in the 2016 High School Forensics
Challenge, one of the largest high school cybersecurity events.
Andrew’s mentor is Dr. Lawrence Ausubel of the University of Maryland.
The Winning Team for Region Five
Katherine Tian and Swapnil Garg, both of The Harker School in San Jose,
CA, won the team category and will share a $6,000 scholarship for their
project entitled, "Automated Clear Cell Renal Carcinoma Grade
Classification with Prognostic Significance."
Katherine and Swapnil used computational techniques and machine learning
to develop a potentially more accurate way to classify kidney cancer
tumors as high- or low-grade—an important indication of how fast the
cancer might spread. Kidney cancer is among the 10 most common cancers
in both men and women. The current system used to stage kidney cancer—or
renal carcinomas—is highly subjective, which can lead to disagreement
between pathologists on how to approach treatment. Katherine and
Swapnil’s classification method could provide a valuable, objective
second opinion for pathologists, helping them make more accurate
diagnoses and thus better treatment plans. In their study, Katherine and
Swapnil’s system had a better correlation with disease outcome than
traditional classification methods.
“I was particularly impressed with Katherine and Swapnil’s depth of
understanding of renal carcinomas,” said competition judge Dr. Ky
Lowenhaupt, Lab Manager and Research Specialist at MIT. “Because of
their extensive background on the issue, they were able to use an
existing strategy that, when applied to the problem of kidney cancer, is
very cutting edge. They also clearly presented the strengths and
limitations of their research, and how it could be applied in the
Katherine, a junior who resides in Cupertino, was inspired to pursue
this area of research after cancer struck both her great uncle and a
beloved family friend. She became determined to join scientists working
to combat the disease—channeling her interest in programming and
artificial intelligence (AI) to help make cancer diagnosis more accurate
and efficient. Outside of her research, Katherine is co-president of the
programming club and vice president of the math club. She also plays
violin, dances, swims and runs.
Swapnil, a senior who resides in Sunnyvale, decided to apply his passion
for math to the problem of cancer after he learned that human error in
tumor classification could negatively affect disease outcome. He wanted
to develop an automated way to determine what type of treatment to
pursue, and used his lifelong love of math to guide the way. An aspiring
math researcher, Swapnil was a top 10 finalist for the USA Computing
Olympiad. He cofounded the Science Competitions Club, is co-president of
the Quiz Bowl, and plays trumpet and tennis.
The team's mentor is Dr. Jan Heng of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical
Center at Harvard Medical School.
The remaining regional finalists each received a $1,000 scholarship.
Regional Finalists in the individual category were:
- David Darrow, Hopkins School, New Haven, CT
- Nikhil Gopal, The Lawrenceville School, Lawrenceville, NJ
- Alexander Liu, Montgomery High School, Skillman, NJ
- Andrew Song, Milton Academy, Milton, MA
Team Regional Finalists were:
- Cindy Huang, Thomas S. Wootton High School, Rockville, MD, Jessie
Ma, Winston Churchill High School, Potomac, MD, and Robert Yang,
Montgomery Blair High School, Silver Spring, MD
- Nadine Meister, Centennial High School, Ellicott City, MD, and Andrew
Zhao, Centennial High School, Ellicott City, MD
- Anusha Murali, Bishop Brady High School, Concord, NH and Evan
Chandran, Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, NH
- Jinhyung Park, The Hill School, Pottstown, PA and Eric Lin,
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology, Alexandria, VA
The Siemens Competition
For the 2017 Siemens Competition, 1,860 projects were submitted for
consideration. 491 students were named Semifinalists from which 101 were
named Regional Finalists. For the regional finals, the students present
their research in a closed, online forum, and entries are judged by
esteemed scientific experts at six leading research universities which
host the regional competitions: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
(November 4); University of Notre Dame (November 4); The University of
Texas at Austin (November 11); California Institute of Technology
(November 11); and Georgia Institute of Technology (November 18); and
Carnegie Mellon University (November 18).
Winners of the regional events will advance to the National Finals to be
held at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., December
4-5, 2017, where $500,000 in scholarships will be awarded, including the
two top prizes of $100,000 and one of the most prestigious science
honors awarded to high school students in the country today.
The winners of each regional weekend will be announced at 12 noon (ET)
on the following Monday at http://siemensusa.synapticdigital.com/US/Siemens-Foundation.
For up-to-date news and announcements about the Regional Competitions
and the National Finals, follow us on Twitter @SFoundation and
(#siemenscomp) and like us on Facebook at SiemensFoundation.
Interviews, video and photos available by visiting http://siemensusa.synapticdigital.com/US/Siemens-Foundation.
About the Siemens Foundation
The Siemens Foundation has invested more than $100 million in the United
States to advance workforce development and education initiatives in
science, technology, engineering and math. The Siemens Foundation's
mission is inspired by the culture of innovation, research and
continuous learning that is the hallmark of Siemens' companies.
Together, the programs at the Siemens Foundation are helping close the
opportunity gap for young people in the U.S. when it comes to STEM
careers, and igniting and sustaining today's STEM workforce and
tomorrow's scientists and engineers. For further information, visit www.siemens-foundation.org or
follow us on Twitter @sfoundation or Instagram @SiemensFdn.
About Discovery Education
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View source version on businesswire.com: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20171106005926/en/
Elizabeth Cho, 917-622-2413
Charmion Kinder, 240-274-2173
Source: Siemens Foundation
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