Students Mentored by CS Faculty Receive High Marks at Siemens Competition


Stony Brook University’s Department of Computer Science has always had a great  mentorship program through a wide range of high school outreach programs.  Mentorship to high school students takes center stage this fall as several of students conducted research with CS faculty and achieved regional semi-finalist and finalist recognition in the 2015 Siemens Competition.  

Launched by the Siemens Foundation in 1999, the Siemens Competition is the flagship initiative of the Foundation and a symbol of our commitment to education in the United States. The Siemens Competition awards excellence in math, science, and technology. High school students submit innovative individual and team research projects to regional and national levels of competition as they vie for college scholarships ranging from $1,000 up to $100,000.  This year students worked on a range of high-tech projects. 

Kunal Singh of the High Technology High School in NJ, was announced as a Siemens Competition regional-finalist, for his project Classification of Subtle Morphological Features for Individual Nuclei in Stained Glioma Tissue Slides supervised by PhD student Le Hou and CS professor Dimitris Samaras in collaboration with Professors Joel Saltz and Tahsin Kurc from Stony Brook’s Department of Biomedical Informatics. Kunal proposed and implemented an algorithm that automatically recognizes nine subtle nuclear features with a relatively high agreement rate of 75% with a pathologist's annotation, in brain histology images. This method could help pathologists study glioma, the most common brain cancer. 

David Gu, another Computer Science professor at Stony Brook University, supervised Kylie Zhang when she won the gold medal in international High School Mathematics, and was thereby admitted by Harvard University. Kylie Zhang, a senior at St. Gregory College Preparatory School, won this competition for her research in creating a more economical and efficient 3D modeling system. Her project title is "3D Surface Fabrication Using Conformal Geometry", which is an algorithm to compute two transversal foliations of surfaces with general topology via Ricci flow method. The surface is decomposed into two families of fibers, and can be reconstructed by weaving the fibers. This offers a practical way for 3D printing using only paper and scissors.

CS professor Allen Tannenbaum, supervised Andrew Zuckerman and Alice Wu on a joint project and they attained regional semi-finalist status at Siemens. Their project was called, Semi-Automatic Segmentation and Automatic Classification of Breast Lesions in Low Resolution Ultrasound Images. Zuckerman and Wu developed a detection, segmentation, and classification program to objectively quantify the breast lesions, and accordingly defined metrics to account for the heterogeneity/homogeneity of the lesion, eccentricity and orientation of the lesion, and irregularity of the lesion’s border. With these descriptors, the Department of Computer Science students created a classification model to distinguish benign and malignant lesions using the method of support vector machine (SVM) with about an 82% success rate. Andrew Zuckerman is a senior from The Wheatley School, Old Westbury. Alice Wu is a junior at Half Hollow Hills High School West, Dix Hills.

The department wishes Kunal Singh the best of luck as a regional finalist and we congratulation all of the faculty and students on their accomplishments.