Amy Chyao, 15, of Richardson, Texas, was awarded first place for her work to develop a photosensitizer for photodynamic therapy (PDT), an emerging cancer treatment that uses light energy to activate a drug that kills cancer cells. Amy received $75,000 and the first Gordon E. Moore Award, given in honor of Intel’s co-founder.
Kevin Ellis, 18, of Vancouver, Washington and Yale Fan, 18, of Beaverton, Oregon, each received an Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award of $50,000. Kevin developed a method to automatically speed up computer programs by analyzing the programs while they are running so that work could be divided across multiple microprocessors. Yale’s project demonstrated the advantages of quantum computing in performing difficult computations. (Adiabatic Quantum Evolution for NP-Complete and Physical Problems)
Ellis’ winning research project is titled, “Automatic parallelization through dynamic analysis.” Ellis explained that his research is into automatic methods of converting a computer program not designed to use more than one processor into an equivalent program that exploits multiple processors. In doing so, the program can distribute its work and run faster. His method analyzes the program as it executes to reveal parts of the program which can be distributed, while also showing when distribution programs across multiple processors would increase performance.
Fan’s winning research project is titled, “Adiabatic quantum algorithms for boolean satisfiability.” Fan explained that quantum computers are computers that rely on principles of quantum mechanics to accomplish certain tasks exponentially more efficiently than classical computers. He exhibited new numerical and theoretical results on the power of quantum computers for certain classes of NP-complete problems, which are the hardest computational problems whose solutions are easy to verify. This work implies that quantum computers could outperform classical computers for a class of hard problems and gives new insight into the capabilities of exciting prospective technology based on theoretical physics.