Four Blair Students are Among 40 Nat'l Intel Finalists

January 26, 2005
Four Montgomery Blair High School students have been named finalists in the 64th annual Intel Science Talent Search--the most finalists from any high school or school district in the nation.

They are among 40 national finalists in the talent search, in which high school students entered papers on their independent research projects in science, engineering, mathematics, and computer science.

Blair had 13 semifinalists in the competition, also more than any other school nationwide. Walt Whitman and Winston Churchill high schools each had one semifinalist.

The finalists will compete for college scholarships totaling more than $500,000, with a top prize of $100,000.

The MCPS finalists and their projects are:

Michael Andrew Forbes, Capacitated Vehicle Routing and the k-Delivery n-Traveling Salesman Problem. Forbes' computer science project concerned a type of vehicle-routing algorithm commonly known as a "Traveling Salesman Problem." This type of problem is of interest to researchers because it attempts to find the most cost-efficient route for delivering goods to a number of places, such as a supermarket scheduling deliveries to several stores. Forbes examined the situation when a single fixed-capacity vehicle attempts to optimize its delivery route when the levels of supply and demand are different. His paper presents algorithms for solving the problem and suggests a relationship between his problem and others that may be easier to solve. At Blair, Forbes is president of Blazernet, the high school Internet service provider, and the Linux Users Group. His awards include several for math and the Top Newcomer Award for freestyle competition ballroom dancing. Forbes hopes to attend Cornell in preparation for a career in theoretical computer science.

Abigail Ann Fraeman, Modeling the Distribution of Comets Around the Star IRC +10216. Fraeman's project in the space science category was based on the recent discovery of a water vapor cloud around a star, called IRC +10216. Current research suggests that the cloud results from photodissociation of water from the surface of orbiting comets. Fraeman proposed that the reason these orbiting comets are clustered and unevenly distributed is due to the presence of an unseen Jupiter-sized planet that is also orbiting the star. She created a C++ computer simulation to investigate whether or not such a planet could create an asymmetric system around the star, and she concludes that it could. Fraeman plays violin, heads the forensics team and has competed in the junior Olympics and national fencing championships. She hopes to become a field geologist on the moon or Mars.

Sherri Yifan Geng, Automated Seizure Detection Using Statistical Analysis of EEG Time-Domain Signals. For her medicine and health entry, Geng created an automated detection system to identify seizure patterns in digital EEG (electroencephalograph) data. She spent two summers at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, working to automate the time-consuming manual process of scanning continuous EEG recordings. Her solution-a computerized detection algorithm-also may be used to analyze other types of information, such as electrocardiogram data, and she is applying for a patent. Geng is an editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, co-president of the physics team and president of the science club. A published author and poet and an accomplished musician, she has received numerous awards for academic achievements and top honors as a world-class table tennis player. Geng plans to study at Harvard.

Justin Alexander Kovac, The Effects of Warm Core Rings on Hurricane Intensification in the Gulf of Mexico. Kovac investigated the ocean's role in hurricane intensification for his project in earth and planetary science. He studied warm pools of water in the Gulf of Mexico, known as warm core rings (WCRs), and researched WCR-hurricane interactions. In the process, he conducted the first census of WCRs using satellite altimetry and tracked a new statistic: tropical cyclone heat potential. In matching WCR locations with the tracks of tropical cyclones traveling through the Gulf during an 11-year period, his findings indicate that tropical cyclones passing over WCRs intensified by an average of 13.4 knots. Kovac believes his work is a first step toward better predictions of hurricane strength. He competes in track and field and enjoys snorkeling, cycling and swing dancing. Kovac plans to study engineering at Stanford.

<<Back to browse