Boston University Academy Student Makes Finals In National Science Search

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BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — A Boston student is heading to Washington D.C to compete in a national science competition that has a grand prize of $250,000.

17-year-old Zoe Xi, a student at Boston University Academy, became of one of the 40 finalists for the Regeneron Science Talent Search 2022. According to the Society of Science, the finalists were chosen out of 1,800 highly qualified high school senior entrants from across the United States. Officials said that program alumni have gone on to win 13 Nobel Prizes and 22 MacArthur Foundation Fellowships, some became founders for important science-based companies like Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

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With her project, named "Approximation Algorithms for Dynamic Time Warping on Run-Length Encoded Strings," Xi may be a strong contender for first place. But Xi told WBZ's Matt Shearer that "time warping" may not mean what you think it does. According to Xi, "Dynamic Time Warping" is about calculating distances for comparing strings and time series data.

In terms of real-world applications, Xi said there are plenty, including signature verification and speech recognition. But because those processes require exact data and are typically slow, Xi came up with highly accurate approximation algorithms that would help streamline progress.

Because of her work, Xi is heading to D.C for the RSTS 2022, something that the rewards at least $25,000 to finalists.

"I felt really lucky, and really surprised when I got the call- I wasn't expecting it at all," Xi said.

WBZ's Matt Shearer (@MattWBZ) reports.

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