2018 Synopsys Science Fair
On March 15, 2018, the annual Synopsys Science Fair took place in the San Jose Convention Center. About 2,000 middle and high school students from several school districts in the Santa Clara County competed in this prestigious science fair with the projects they had developed from the beginning of the school year.
All contestants register for the fair with a school-affiliated organization or an adult they know out of school. Based on the topic of choice, the group or individual may choose to work under a professor in a laboratory setting to conduct experiments. Others turn to technology, dealing with hardware and software to use Machine Learning Models to accomplish feats like predicting the likelihood of a patient having cancer.
Each project focuses on one of the several science-related problems our society struggles with today. For instance, a group of students from Cupertino High School created a “Machine Learning Algorithm that takes in stats of previously endangered animals and applies it to currently endangered animals to predict their fates.” With the rapid rise in carbon dioxide levels during recent years, the students decided to start the project “because animal extinction rates are increasing every day, and it would help to be able to predict animal extinctions for ecologists. This improves efficiency of saving endangered animals.” Because the current extinction rate is 1,000 to 10,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate and will only skyrocket in the future, this is an extremely important issue to face with projects such as the one above.
It was a good experience and my first legit science fair. I am relieved that we finished it because there was one point where I believed that I couldn’t pull through. My project was a machine learning algorithm that takes in stats of previously endangered animals and applies it to currently endangered animals to predict their fates.
-- Anonymous Participant
Not only does Synopsys address some of the most pressing scientific crises, but it also builds the character of its participants. When asked what the group learning experiences, one of the members stated that “it was a good experience at [his] first legitimate science fair. [He] was also relieved that [they] finished [their project] because there was one point when [he] believed that [he] couldn’t pull through.” By self-managing their projects throughout the school year, students learn the importance of long-term planning. Also, communicating with professional scientists and engineers helps competitors gain valuable experience working with higher–level associates. Working alongside experts teaches students to adapt to a realistic working environment.
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