Indian American Adam Ardeishar took the top third-place prize in the prestigious Regeneron Science Talent Search competition in Washington, DC, winning the $150,000 prize.
Ardeishar, a 17-year-old student at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology of McLean, Virginia, was named a top winner for his project combining a classic previously unsolved math problem called the “coupon collector problem” with extreme value theory.
The theory is used to determine the likelihood of a maximal event, such as a 1,000-year flood. By integrating these two concepts, he developed a way to calculate the average maximum values of distributional datasets, which could be applied to predicting the expected amount of time for a given number of different randomly-timed events to occur, the release said.
His bio additionally notes that Ardeishar found a connection between Markov chains and extreme value theory for his Regeneron Science Talent Search mathematics project. Markov chains are used by companies such as Google to rank webpages and by hedge fund managers to track the stock market. A mathematical application of Markov chains is called the “coupon collector problem,” an example of which is estimating how many kid’s meals you must buy before you get at least one of every toy being offered, it said.
The son of Raghu and Samim Ardeishar, the teen is proudest of being one of six students chosen to participate in the 2018 International Math Olympiad, where he earned a silver medal and helped the US team win the event, his bio said.
Regeneron Science Talent Search is the oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors. Regeneron provided awards totaling more than $1.8 million for the finalists, who were evaluated for their research projects, as well as their exceptional scientific and mathematical knowledge, problem-solving abilities and potential as future scientific leaders, a media release said.