Local teen scores big at Intel ISEF

Takes fourth place in division

An idea to help in the fight against cancer from a Foothill Teen has been judged to be among the best in the world in a competition against 1,600 teens from more than 50 countries.

Rahul Doraiswami placed fourth in the health and medicine division at the Intel ISEF (International Science and Engineering Fair). Doraiswami said the judging was tough, but exciting.

"While the notion of being interviewed for 10 hours seems grueling, the judging process was actually energizing," he said. "Judges seemed to want to learn more about my project than evaluate it."

Doraiswami's project uses a diagnostic tool called an artificial neural network (ANN) that mimics the brain and can learn -- like doctors do -- how to spot the symptoms of prostate cancer.

At the international level, he said, all the projects were "superb."

"The difference between those who placed and those who did not was very minute. I learned a lot from all the other finalists -- not just their material, but their speaking skills (and) their board organization," he said. "With a little more experience I hope I could do better."

For the 16-year-old Junior from Foothill High, a big part of the competition, held last week in San Jose, was meeting peers from around the world. He said there were a number of events held so the teens could get to know each other.

"I met many fellow finalists who were incredibly bright and talented," Doraiswami said. "I became acquainted with some judges who showed interest in my project."

Doraiswami's project did well in tests, and he thinks there's a good chance it can actually find use as a diagnostic tool. He said his idea became a protected work just by entering the Intel ISEF.

Nevertheless, he said, "I am working towards making this protection more formal."

This was his first time competing at the national level, and he called it a "great experience."

"It was a pleasure to see the world's great young minds come together in one room," he said.

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Like this comment
Posted by mooseturd
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on May 20, 2010 at 3:31 pm

mooseturd is a registered user.

Congratulations, Rahul!

Like this comment
Posted by Mom
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 20, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Warmest congratulations Mr. Doraiswami!
Your family and friends must be so proud of you!

Like this comment
Posted by Benjamin
a resident of Gatewood
on May 20, 2010 at 8:02 pm

I'm always impressed with the high school students at Foothill and Amamdor. What a great group or students our city has!!

Like this comment
Posted by Anonmous
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 20, 2010 at 9:17 pm

I hope he acknowledges that he had a lot of help on the project, he didn't do it himself and neither did any of the others.

Like this comment
Posted by letsgo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 20, 2010 at 11:09 pm

"Anonmous" - and what part did you help with?

Like this comment
Posted by mooseturd
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on May 21, 2010 at 10:52 am

mooseturd is a registered user.

Yeh, "Anonmous" (sic) Just what part did you contribute? Did you help one of the "others"?

Like this comment
Posted by Shan Chinnasamy
a resident of another community
on May 21, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Congratulations Rahul ! We are very proud of your accomplishments ! When are you launching the product and giving us the party in Hawaii !

I admire and appreciate your hard and smart work !

Seattle, WA

Like this comment
Posted by Swami
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on May 22, 2010 at 5:16 pm

Cool idea, Rahul!

Hope you can get some diagnosis experts to help to corroborate and/or point out defects in the approach for further improvement.

In time, the general idea should be applicable to many areas of diagnostics and analysis, not just in medicine, but diverse areas such as mechanical failure analysis, post-crash accident investigations, and generation of meteorological forecasting modeling algorithms, where a significant amount of measurement and expert judgement is involved - in all these situations outliers are likely to force a "re-think", and your approach can likely make the re-think more systematic.

Improved interfaces to measurement systems (that make the sensing of information reproducible and communicable for decision-making) will likely be needed before this scope can be recognized.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Country Fair
on May 25, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Congratulations to Rahul and the other participants! I hope they continue their work because we need them. Also, thank you to the judges and teachers who helped inspire Rahul and the other students. The parents of these students must be very proud.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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