Students take projects to international science fair

Lukas Schwab speaks at a SPARKS lecture on May 5 about computer programming.

Lukas Schwab speaks at a SPARKS lecture on May 5 about computer programming.

By Emilia Massa, Lincoln HS, Portland, Ore.

After winning awards at the PPS and State Science Fairs, junior Lukas Schwab and sophomore Clemen Deng will be competing in the international Intel Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles from May 11-16.

Schwab placed second in both the PPS Science Fair and the Electrical Engineering portion of the State Science Fair.

His project, “The Implementation and Evaluation of a New Routing Algorithm for Complex Networks on Chip,” has been a 10-month investment of constant work. Since last June, he has been working with the Teuscher Lab at Portland State University, where a project that looks at new ways to design computer chips for complex networks is underway.

“My project tries to solve the problem of telling packets of information where to go in a very irregular network,” Schwab said.

Though his project has already won many honors, Schwab continues to work on it.

“The project is never done,” he said. “I’m still writing new code and new functionality and collecting more data.”

Nevertheless, Schwab is prepared for the competition he will face in Los Angeles.

“There will be teams from abroad to compete against,” he said, “which is exciting.”

Winning the Mathematical Science section in the regional PPS Science Fair, Deng directly advanced to the Intel fair, skipping the state competition altogether.

Deng’s project, which compares different machine learning algorithms by testing them on a breast cancer data base, also won him the Intel Excellence in Computer Science award worth $200 and an OSU general scholarship.

His experiment uses data from breast cancer biopsies that has been inputted into these machine learning algorithms to classify future data.

“I’m using an algorithm that hasn’t been implemented for breast cancer before,” Deng said. “I want to see if it shows any promise compared to the existing methods.”

While largely working at home for six months, Deng occasionally received help from professor Marek Perkowski, a professor of electrical engineering at Portland State University.

“I decided to do my project last summer,” Deng said, “and because I’ve worked with professor Perkowski before. He recommended the idea for the experiment and I thought it would be interesting.”