A Skerries student is to have an asteroid named after him, in recognition of his scientific achievements.
SciFest national champion, Adam Kelly from Skerries Community College, Dublin represented Ireland at Intel ISEF 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona last week where he has claimed the Dudley R. Herschbach SIYSS Award, which is considered one of the competition’s top five most prestigious accolades.
He also received a first prize in his category, Systems Software. Adam earns $3,000 in prize money and will have an asteroid named after him as a result. Adam also achieved a Best in Category Award, earning $5,000 for himself and $1,000 for his school.
Intel ISEF is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition, involving some 1,800 students from over 80 countries competing for a prize fund totalling $5million. The SciFest programme is funded primarily by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), Boston Scientific, Intel Ireland and Specsavers.
Adam secured his place at the international competition when he won the top award, the Science Foundation Ireland Intel ISEF award, at the SciFest 2018 National Final last November. Adam claimed first prize for his open source solution to simulating quantum computing.
Adam’s work is a combination of physics, computing and maths, and has huge potential. Unlike a traditional computer that uses bits represented either by one or zero, a quantum computer works off ‘qubits’, meaning an action can be a one, zero or both at the same time. This means a quantum computer can work at an unprecedented speed on vast calculations with applications in fields such as astronomy and climatology.
Large-scale quantum computers are set to be the next frontier in advanced computing, but they are not yet widely available, which is why Adam developed an open source solution to simulating quantum computing that is up to 15 times faster than conventional simulations.
Speaking about attending ISEF, Adam said: ‘I was very excited to have the opportunity to travel to Phoenix and to present my work to some of the top STEM professionals in the world.
‘I really enjoyed meeting young people from all over the world and seeing the different projects that they are working on.
‘This was a wonderful opportunity to share ideas and to learn, and I am so thankful to my family, friends, teachers and everyone at SciFest who have supported me up to now.’
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