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Indian American Teenagers Earn Coveted Cutler-Bell Prize for 2022-2023


Indian American Students, Sirihaasa Nallamothu and Nathan Elias, Clinch Esteemed Cutler-Bell Prize for 2022-2023. Sirihaasa Nallamothu, a student from University High School in Normal, Illinois, and Nathan Elias, who attends the Liberal Arts and Sciences Academy in Austin, Texas, have emerged as two of the only four students across the country to secure the highly acclaimed Cutler-Bell Prize. This distinguished accolade, presented by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA), recognizes their exceptional achievements in the field of computer science.

Nathan Elias, Liberal Arts and Sciences Academy, Austin, Texas

In his project, “A Novel Method for Automated Identification and Prediction of Invasive Species Using Deep Learning,” Elias developed InvasiveAI, a service that helps farmers, agricultural workers, and average citizens in the fight against invasive species. He designed an app that utilizes Artificial Intelligence and machine learning methods to accurately detect, predict, and visualize invasive species growth. Using the app, 200 unique invasive plants, wildlife, insects, and pathogens, can be identified. Elias also created a 3D image detection algorithm to identify over 75 invasive species aerially. Elias envisions that InvasiveAI will contribute to the field of computer science by expanding CS’ reach in environmental and citizen science systems, while also furthering advancements in geospatial and AI-based tracking toolkits. This project was inspired by the loss of Elias’ grandfather’s farm in Southern India to the invasive species Kariba.

Sirihaasa Nallamothu, University High School, Normal, Illinois

In her project, Predicting and Identifying Relevant Features of Vasovagal Syncope in Patients with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) using machine learning methods and physiological data, was inspired from a TikTok that led Nallamothu down a rabbit hole about POTS. To her surprise, there were no research studies or consumer solutions to predict syncope on real-world data, and she was determined to use her machine learning skills to predict syncopal episodes. Nallamothu is the first person to conduct an IRB research study and collect human subject field data on POTS patients in the real world using non-invasive technologies. She wrote a Python script to extract the 15-minute window signal data of heart rate, blood volumetric pressure, EDA, temperature, and accelerometer data. Nallamothu also uses the concept called “late fusion” in temporal multimodal machine learning. This research is providing a starting point for future research into real-time prediction and integration into a smartwatch, which will help millions who experience vasovagal syncope research a safe and comfortable position before fainting. After completing her research, Nallamothu plans to work toward creating a consumer product and pairing her algorithm with a smart watch.–>{C}

Okezue Bell, Moravian Academy, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

With only 1% of the computer science space being Black, the innovation landscape within the field is reflective of that. There are few race- and class-responsible solutions built effectively for communities that have been historically discriminated against. “Fidutam” is a novel, putative first effort to foster a needs-responsive approach to providing financial accounts for unbanked populations. Bell uses state-of-the-art encryption to ensure the safety of user’s data, creating private signatures using a selfie, name and personal data, and location. The solution focuses on financial documentation, which is proven to be the biggest barrier to entry for the unbanked, Bell created Fidutam not only to provide financial access to unbanked individuals but to develop a platform to enable the upward mobilization of the global poor to revive their community’s economy. This increases their share in the global development landscape of computer science and also encourages and enables those whose voices are often underrepresented in CS to penetrate or quality control the field to ensure the existing products have utility in their milieus.

Hannah Guan, BASIS San Antonio Shavano, San Antonio, Texas

Guan’s project, “Multi-Dimensional Interpretable Interaction Network (MDiiN) for Modeling Aging Heath and Mortality” was inspired by the retired military population of the city of San Antonio. She wanted to create an efficient and affordable system that would be able to diagnose and find remedies for highly pervasive age-related diseases like cancer or Alzheimer’s. Guan’s research can influence elders’ quality and equity of life worldwide. MDiiN is a computation and affordable predictive model that evaluates health risk factors for elders. It’s the first three-dimensional interaction network to uncover high-dimensional interactions among health variables during the aging process. Doctors can use MDiiN to predict the onset of age-related diseases, which would significantly increase the quality and longevity of life across the grid. It’s fast and easy to run, taking less than a second to get results. This research contributes to computer science by strengthening health equality in our society, improving global health security, and leading to tremendous public health benefits.

The ACM/CSTA Cutler-Bell Prize in High School Computing recognizes talented high school  students in computer science.  The intent of the program is to promote and encourage the field of computer science, as well as to empower young and aspiring learners to pursue computing challenges outside of the traditional classroom environment. Eligible applicants include graduating High School Seniors residing and attending school in the United States.  The challenge will focus on developing an artifact that engages modern computing technology and computer science. Judges will be looking for submissions that demonstrate ingenuity, complexity, relevancy, originality, and a desire to further computer science as a discipline.  Up to four (4) recipients will each be awarded a $10,000 prize and a trip to the ACM/CSTA Cutler-Bell Prize Reception.

The award is financially supported by a $1 million endowment from the Gordon Bell and David Cutler Endowment Fund.

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