Mississauga student heads to prestigious international STEM competition


Published April 6, 2023 at 1:10 pm

aditya dewan mississauga

A Mississauga student is one of eight youth from Canada competing in an international STEM project competition.

Grade 11 Woodlands Secondary School student Aditya Dewan, 17, heads to Dallas, Texas May 14 to 19 for the 2023 Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), the world’s largest and most prestigious pre-college STEM competition, according to a press release from Youth Science Canada, the national charitable organization behind Team Canada-ISEF since 1995.

A panel of STEM professionals from across the country chose the eight students based on the ingenuity, critical thinking, scientific excellence, and communication skill in developing their STEM project.

“Every year, Canada chooses eight projects to represent the nation,” Aditya tells insauga.com.  “I am honoured to be part of that.”

Team Canada’s eight students will compete against students from more than 80 countries.

“The quality of these projects and the calibre of these students is truly remarkable,” says Reni Barlow, executive director of Youth Science Canada. “I encourage everyone to support these young scientists by learning more about their projects and speaking of the value STEM-based projects have inside and outside of school, to children and teens.”

Aditya’s project titled, SPRKD: Effective Knowledge Distillation for Deep Neural Networks via Saddle Region Approximation, centres around artificial intelligence and its use for everyday settings.

ChatGPT, an artificial-intelligence chatbot, launched in November 2022, is an example.

“So the key problem, however, is that these models are so large that they aren’t actually usable in most practical settings,” Aditya says.

Artificial intelligence takes a lot of computing power, and is expensive, he says.

“Everyday people simply cannot use it on their own devices without having to create an entire infrastructure of hundreds of millions of servers,” Aditya says.

Hospitals, for instance, generate a ton of real time data, he adds.

“But we have no way to use AI to analyze real time data and provide direct value to patients.”

Aditya’s project aims to take large neural networks (AI) and “simplify them into really small form factors while still boosting their performance.”

Aditya first got interested in this field when he did a summer internship at 14 years old with behavioural science company Actionable. He has continued to work for the company while finishing high school.

His interest in STEM dates back to his time at Tomken Road Middle School when he participated in robotics competitions.

He hopes to continue working in the AI field and dreams of attending MIT after high school.

While Aditya is excited to enter the competition, he isn’t focused on winning.

“I just focus on producing great work that can truly make a difference.”

The rest of Team Canada includes:

  • Cindy Cheng – Waterloo, Ontario – Detecting hypoxia through the non-invasive monitoring of sweat lactate and tissue oxygenation
  • Max Du – Calgary, Alberta – A Novel Pre-Hospital Indoor Rescue Drone
  • Keerthan Kamala Krishnamoorthy – Winnipeg, Manitoba – Detection of Harmful Microorganisms in Drinking Water using Deep Learning
  • Krish Modi – Sarnia, Ontario – Pee Xylophone: A Novel Non-Invasive System to Measure Bladder Pressure
  • Annabelle Rayson – Sarnia, Ontario – Plankton Wars: An Innovative Analysis of Daphnia Genotype Biomanipulation for Algae Bloom Prevention
  • Thomas Yang – Toronto, Ontario – Seeing Cells without a Lens: Compact 3D Digital Lensless Holographic Microscopy for Wide-field Imaging
  • Tara Zhan – Vancouver, British Columbia –Hemistride: Design of a Low-Cost and Backdrivable Lower-Limb Exoskeleton for Hemiplegic Patients

Learn more about Team Canada-ISEF 2023.

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