Categorized | Education

Three named semifinalists in MASTERSTM competition


Three Big Island students have been named semifinalists in the first ever national Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology, and Engineering for Rising Stars) competition.

Hawaii’s rising stars are:

* Davy Sam Ragland (Grade 8), Parker School
“Artificial Intelligence: Predator vs. Prey”

The purpose of this experiment is to determine what kinds of problem-solving strategies (predator, prey) are most effective. The hypothesis was that if an artificial intelligence program uses a predator (offensive) strategy when encountering an obstacle, then it will accomplish its task better than if it was using a prey (defensive) strategy. To test this, a computer program was developed in which artificial opponents competed against each other in multiple games of tic-tac-toe. This was created in HTML and JAVA-SCRIPT, totaling in 17 pages of computer code which scripted the interface and logic behind the program. For the actual testing, the program was set to run a defined number of games on which Predator (offensive) played against Prey (defensive) and then display the results. One million games were played. Then to test its efficiency against unpredictable situations, the algorithms played against human participants of varying ages. Over 300 games were played in which humans competed against the computer. From the data, it can be concluded that a Predator (offensive) is indeed a more effective way of thinking than a Prey (defensive).

* Jordan Roy Kamimura (Grade 8), Hilo Intermediate School
“Added Value…or Added Cost?: Is High Protein Dry Dog Food a More Cost-Effective Food Source than Commercial Grade Fish Food for Tilapia?”

* Sabrina Lynne Pike (Grade 7), Kealakehe Intermediate School
“How Does Volcanic Acid Rain Effect Kona Coffee (Coffea arabica) Growth?”

The Broadcom Foundation and Society for Science & the Public recently announced the selection of 300 middle school students as semifinalists in its first ever Broadcom MASTERS competition.

The Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology, and Engineering for Rising Stars) semifinalists come from 251 middle schools across the United States with concentrations in California, Florida, Texas, Ohio and Oregon.

The Broadcom MASTERS is the national STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) competition for sixth, seventh, and eighth graders nominated to compete by their local SSP- affiliated science and engineering fair.

The competition encourages middle schoolers to continue their studies in STEM courses throughout high school by igniting a personal passion for science, engineering and innovation through a competition that exposes them to independent research, scientific inquiry, hands-on learning and teamwork.

The semifinalists were selected by a panel of distinguished scientists and engineers from among 1,476 applicants located in 45 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico.

Semifinalists and their teachers will receive prizes from Broadcom Foundation and Elmer’s Products, the official classroom partner of the Broadcom MASTERS.

Following the semifinalist selection, Broadcom Foundation and SSP will announce the 30 finalists on Aug. 31. The finalists will receive an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, DC in October to showcase their science fair projects and compete in a four-day STEM competition for awards and prizes, including the top education award of $25,000 presented by the Samueli Foundation, a gift of Susan and Henry Samueli, a founder of Broadcom.

Elizabeth Marincola, president of Society for Science & the Public said: “Middle School is an important time in students’ lives, a time when they begin to formulate ideas on what career paths to pursue. It is important to ensure they have access to science and engineering, not just the facts but the hands-on experience of learning about the world through scientific experimentation and understanding the engineering process. The Broadcom MASTERS inspires and rewards these important project-based pursuits.”

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