Two Indian American high school students win prestigious Cutler-Bell Prize for 2022-2023

Four winners of the 2022-2023 Cutler Bell Prize in High School Computing. From leftOkezue Bell, Nathan Elias, Hanna Guan, and Sirihaasa Nallamothu. PHOTO:

Sirihaasa Nallamothu of University High School in Normal, Illinois, and Nathan Elias from the Liberal Arts and Sciences Academy in Austin, Texas, are among just four students nationwide to win the Cutler Bell Prize awarded by the Association for Computing Machinery, ACM, and the Computer Science Teachers Association, CSTA.

Details on the ACM website and the press release say Nallamothu’s 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.

The high school student found 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, the press release notes.

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,” the ACM said.

After completing her research, Nallamothu plans to work toward creating a consumer product and pairing her algorithm with a smart watch.

Nathan Elias, in his project, “A Novel Method for Automated Identification and Prediction of Invasive Species Using Deep Learning,” developed InvasiveAI, a service that helps farmers, agricultural workers, and average citizens in the fight against invasive species.

Elias was inspired by the loss of his grandfather’s farm in Southern India to the invasive species Kariba, the press release said.

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, the press release noted.

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.

The ACM/CSTA Cutler Bell Prize, which gives $10,000 toward higher education of prize winners, selects from among a pool of graduating high school seniors throughout the US for the ACM/CSTA Cutler-Bell Prize in High School Computing.   A panel of judges selected the recipients based on the ingenuity, complexity, relevancy, and originality of their projects, the press release said.



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