Cary teen wins $50,000 in international AI and machine learning competition

Wake County News

CARY, N.C. (WNCN) — Daniel Shen, 17, a junior at Enloe High School won $50,000 at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), the world’s largest international high school science competition.

Shen’s project, titled Development of an AI-Powered Powered Facial-cue Control Module was among the top winners in the competition, taking home 2nd place for the Regeneron Young Scientist Award, according to a news release.

With the project, Shen developed a new way to control computer systems using a patent-pending fast data analysis algorithm. He was inspired when he was trying to develop an app that could turn pages of sheet music on his tablet using only facial cues and found that the existing time series algorithms were too slow for real-time use.

“Its high speed accelerates scientific discoveries, medicine research, and many other fields driven by large amounts of temporal data. The new algorithm has been adopted by researchers in Sepsis Shock diagnosis and Hurricane predictions,” Regeneron said about Shen’s project.

The Young Scientist Award winners were selected for their “commitment to innovation in tackling challenging scientific questions, using authentic research practices and creating solutions to the problems of tomorrow.”

Michelle Hua, 16, of Troy, Michigan, won the $75,000 top award in the competition.

In total, more than $5 million was awarded to the finalists, who were evaluated based on their projects’ creativity, innovation and level of scientific inquiry. The competition featured over 1,800 young scientists representing 49 states and 64 countries across the world.

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