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TAMS student a finalist in national science, mathematics contest

(Editor's note, Dec. 5 - TAMS student Kevin Chang's team placed fourth at the national-level Siemens Competition in Washington, D.C. Kevin and his teammates won a collective $20,000.)

Texas Academy of Mathematics and ScienceKevin Chang, a first-year student in the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, will compete for the $100,000 top prize at the national Siemens Competition.

The competition is the nation’s leading original research competition in math, science and technology for high school students. The national finals will be Dec. 1-3 at George Washington University. Winners will be announced at 9:30 a.m. EST Dec. 5 via a live webcast on www.siemens-foundation.org.

Scholarships totaling $500,000 will be awarded at the finals, including two top prizes of $100,000. Chang, who is from Plano, and his teammates Andrew Xu of San Francisco and Kevin Tian of Austin, will compete for the top team prize.

The trio met at a summer math camp, where they met their mentor Edward Early, assistant professor of mathematics at St. Edward's University in Austin. Early suggested several areas of research to the team, and they decided to pursue work on graph theory. As the team winner of the regional competition the team split a $6,000 prize for their project titled Determining the Existence of Graceful Valuations of Various Families of Graphs.

The research developed algorithms that will help optimize social and communications networks by labeling graph vertices and axes.

Chang, 16, says he has been interested in math since he was a child, but this was his first experience with mathematics research.

TAMS is a unique, two-year residential program for high school-aged Texas students who are gifted in math and science. The TAMS program had more Siemens regional semifinalists and regional finalists than any other school in the nation this year.

TAMS has had nine students reach the national Siemens Competition since 2002. In 2008, TAMS student Wen Chyan won the national contest and the $100,000 that accompanies it.  

“The students showed remarkable insight into a highly complex area of graph theory,” said competition judge Daniel Freeman, R.H. Big Fellow in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Texas. “They produced three new algorithms that show a new way of gracefully labeling graphs and in particular, gave an important contribution towards the Graceful Tree Conjecture, one of the most famous unsolved problems in graph labeling. Current and future mathematicians can use their algorithms to get one step closer to solving this fascinating problem.”

 

Posted on: Wed 23 November 2011

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