Paly senior earns fourth in national Intel contest

Lynnelle Ye wins $50,000 in 'talent search' for her project on game strategies

Palo Alto High School senior Lynnelle Ye has placed fourth in the Intel Science Talent Search, one of America's oldest and most prestigious pre-college science competitions.

Ye garnered a $40,000 Intel Foundation prize for her project that provides strategies for winning at a computer game called "Graph Chomp."

The winners were announced Tuesday in Washington D.C. by Intel Corp. and Society for Science & the Public.

The 40 finalists in the Intel competition had gathered there to mingle, make presentations and display their projects at the National Academy of Sciences.

For the first time in the 68-year history of the competition, four of the finalists -- one tenth of the group -- were from the Bay Area.

Taking first place this year was Erika DeBenedictis of Albuquerque, N.M., who won $100,000 for her project developing a software navigation system to help improve spacecraft travel through the solar system.

Her research found that the gravity and movement of planets create "easy transit routes," which ultimately will help spacecraft move faster and with less fuel.

Second place, and $75,000, went to David Liu of Saratoga for his work to develop a system to recognize and understand digital images. His work already has been used to examine aerial images to identify hazards to buried oil pipelines and could be used to enable unmanned aerial vehicles and Web-based image searches.

Third place, and $50,000, went to Akhil Mathew of Madison, N.J., for a math project on Deligne categories, a setting for studying a wide range of algebraic structures with ties to theoretical physics.

"These 40 Intel Science Talent Search finalists demonstrate that we have the capability in this country to cultivate the next generation of innovators, scientists and entrepreneurs," said Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini.

"These young scientists are proof that curious, eager minds coupled with inspiring, knowledgeable teachers are the foundation for world-changing innovation."


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Posted by Emily
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 18, 2010 at 11:25 am

Congratulations Lynnelle. We are so proud of you.

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Posted by Sylvia
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 18, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Emily, is Lynnelle a Midtown Resident? In any case, whatever part of town she lives in, great news and congratulations to this fine young woman.

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Posted by Rick
a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 18, 2010 at 3:18 pm

It would be a good thing if our School Board would get behind more science competitions. Only a handfull of Paly or Gunn students are at the county science fair. There are a lot of Lynbrook and Monta Vista and Harker students. Where is Palo Alto?

I am very happy for Lynnell Ye and the teacher(s) who supported her. I just wish we had much more support for our students who are interested in science. I have heard that it is very hard to get teacher support for science competitions. It seems to be up to each highly motivated student (parent?) to get support.

I think we should encourage and help those teachers and students who want to step up to the challenge. Perhaps Paly and Gunn can have an internal science fair, with the winners going on to further competitions. Maybe there can be a boosters fund to support science activities, like there is for athletics. Could the local media get more interested in our science students?

Science is usually seen as a nerdy thing on campus. It is not disrespected, per se, but it is also not honored, like athletics and various band groups. Isn't it time for a paradigm shift?

Like this comment
Posted by Sarah
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 18, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Congratulations Lynnelle!

And thank you to the Weekly for reporting this story.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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