Student Earns Intel Success with Help from CS Faculty


Justin Barish had his plate full this year.

The Kings Park High School senior, who will be delivering the Salutatorian speech for the class of 2015 on June 25, was also a Simons Fellow through his school’s Independent Science Research Program, conducting research with Stony Brook University’s Department of Computer Science.

Barish had the opportunity to work with Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Computer Science Department Arie E. Kaufman, and Kaufman’s PhD student, Charilaos (Harris) Papadopolous, who also just graduated.

“Upon first entering the lab, I was shown the CAVE and the Reality Deck, both high-tech visualization displays,” Barish said.

While keeping up with his daily homework, conducting computer science research at Stony Brook, and preparing his graduation speech, Barish was also kept busy as the founder and co-captain of the Science Olympiad Team, president and lead programmer of the FIRST Robotics Team, treasurer of the Trivia Team, and a member of the Math team.

And on top of all of that, Barish competed in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), where over 1,700 students from over 75 countries, territories and regions were invited to attend as finalists. The fair was held in Pittsburg, PA from May 10-15. Barish’s project, ‘A Hand-centric Gestural Interface for 3D Navigation and Interaction in Visualization,’ was awarded 4th place in the Systems Software category. In addition, he was awarded the AVASC Special award.

“With increased computer technology, it is essential to have modern, efficient computer interaction interfaces. Current methods of navigating and interacting with 3D scenes utilize intrusive physical devices (e.g. keyboards, mice, gamepads), which are not optimal in sterile environments. The purpose of this research project focused on creating a modern interface to allow work to be performed faster and to be touchless, with no physical contact with devices,” Barish wrote in his project summary.

Barish, whose project also took first place in Computer Science at the Long Island and Engineering Fair and who was chosen as one of 20 finalists from Long Island selected to compete in Intel ISEF, said that in high school, he performed multiple Computer Science projects through his school’s Independent Science Research program, but after a short time, sought to expand his possibilities and contacted Professor Kaufman. Barish said he couldn’t thank Professor Kaufman enough for allowing him to work in his lab, and for all of his help. “It has opened up all sorts of opportunities I could never have imagined,” he said.

In the fall, Barish will attend Stevens Institute of Technology, studying Computer Science. He said when he’s not doing research, he loves playing the piano as a member of the school jazz band. He is also a field major in the Marching Band.

As an already successful computer science student, Barish has some advice for future Intel ISEF competitors: “Take the initiative to put a 100% effort into your work. Don’t ever doubt your work or think it’s not good, especially when you are at a competition surrounded by other great projects. Lastly, performing your research is a ton of fun, and going to Intel ISEF is a blast and an amazing experience,” he said.