Young Scientist winners use a new method to solve an old maths problem

14 Jan 2022

Aditya Kumar and Aditya Joshi, third-year students at Synge Street in Dublin. Image: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

Two Dublin students were awarded the top prize at a virtual awards ceremony for their project focused on Euclidean geometry.

Aditya Joshi and Aditya Kumar, both 15 years old, have been named the overall winners of the 2022 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE).

The third-year students from Synge Street in Dublin won with their project entitled ‘A New Method of Solving the Bernoulli Quadrisection Problem’.

The Bernoulli quadrisection problem is an old, difficult problem in Euclidean geometry. The students devised a new method to solve it using an algorithm that was inspired by natural phenomena such as the flocking of birds.

Joshi and Kumar have been awarded a €7,500 prize and will go on to represent Ireland with their project at the EU Contest for Young Scientists later this year.

“I’m very speechless and happy,” Kumar said when their project was announced as the winner.

Joshi said the idea was inspired by a project his brother did for BTYSTE in 2018. As well as being part of the winning team, Joshi turned 15 today (14 January).

Speaking to SiliconRepublic.com, the boys said it felt surreal to win the young scientist competition. “It felt like a dream,” said Kumar.

Explaining their project, Joshi said they took an old problem and used the modern technique of particle swarm optimisation to solve it. “It worked out really well. So then we were able to use that method and then solve lots of other problems with it.”

Joshi also said the problem has a practical real-world application in the design of electronics.

Kumar said in the future he either wants to go down the route of becoming a software engineer or a doctor, while Joshi has ambitions of going into robotics. “Also, I kind of want to start a business but I have no ideas as of yet,” said Joshi.

‘A testament to the tenacity of the students’

Now in its 58th year, BTYSTE launched on Wednesday with more than 1,000 students representing 219 schools from 29 counties competing.

A total of 550 projects were chosen from 1,440 entries and climate, health and new technologies featured heavily among the projects.

The award for best individual young scientist went to Ross O’Boyle from Portmarnock Community School for his project investigating the effectiveness of various ventilation methods using CO2 as a proxy for the spread of Covid-19 in both controlled and real-life scenarios.

The runner-up individual prize went to St Aidan’s CBS student Andrei Florian for his project focusing on electoral voting systems using blockchain, while the runner-up group comprised Dara Newsome and David Hughes from Mercy Secondary School in Kerry for a wearable smart device for dementia patients.

Other Young Scientist award winners included Taha Fareed and Jevin Joy, two 15-year-old students from Coláiste Phadraig in Lucan, who created a website with an AI model that uses deep learning to predict the value of cryptocurrencies with high precision. They came joint second in the intermediate technology group category and bagged a special award from Science Foundation Ireland.

Additionally, the Tom Burke bursary worth €1,000 went to Robert Troy from CBS Charleville for his project Smart Yard, which looked at IoT monitoring of farm metrics to reduce emissions.

Ahead of the winner’s announcement, BT Ireland boss Shay Walsh thanked the students and said the judges were blown away by the projects, particularly with the extra challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“You are a generation that is actively seeking solutions some of the biggest challenges that humanity faces,” he said. “Please keep your passion for STEM and the possibilities that come with it.”

Minister for Education Norma Foley, TD, added that it was heartening to see the level of creativity in this year’s projects. “The calibre of entries are a testament to the tenacity of the students behind them.”

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Jenny Darmody is the deputy editor of Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com