A passion for engineering drives research - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Education News

A passion for engineering drives research

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Posted: Saturday, May 17, 2008 2:56 pm | Updated: 10:37 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Edward Lee’s award-winning science projects have ranged from engineering to cancer research.

2008 All-Tribune Scholars: Celebrating academic achievement

This year, Lee, 18, won the computer science award, and a grand prize award, at the Arizona Science and Engineering Fair for his project, “Computational Cancer Detection Device Using New Self-Replicating Artificial Intelligence Networks.”

“My project was on statistically modeling cancer incidence rates across the nation, using 1,449 samples,” he said. “I actually modeled one’s chances of getting leukemia.”

The most difficult part of the project, he said, was collecting the data. He didn’t handpick the samples, he said, but rather he used a random sampling of patients’ statistical data from the U.S. Archived Leukemia Cancer Statistics and the Cancer Annual Report.

“It was taking little samples of each population group across the nation and using their data to create a mathematical model that shows one’s chances of getting this cancer if you have close to the same data,” Lee said.

He tested three main variables that play a role in causing chronic myelogenous leukemia — benzene, myeloblast and platelet concentrations in blood. Then, he statistically modeled the correlations for each variable.

The result can estimate the probability of cancer with better accuracy than current models.

Lee presented his research at the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force-sponsored 46th National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium in Orlando, Fla., earlier this month.

And he represented Arizona at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Atlanta, where he competed with more than 1,500 students from around the world.

Earlier this year, Lee also won a Governor’s Celebration of Innovation award, given for his 2006 science fair project, which was an engineering entry called, “A Universal Unique and Efficient Heating & Cooling System for Industrial and Commercial Use: A Mathematically Rigorous Approach.”

Lee said he would eventually like to become a professor, which would enable him to spend his life researching his areas of interest.

While he hasn’t made a final decision on his college career, he wants to study electrical engineering and mathematics, and is considering the University of Pennsylvania, the University of California-Berkeley and Arizona State University.

“I have to talk it over with my parents one more time,” he said.

Lee’s work, as well as his part-time job tutoring, keeps him busy — but it’s not that bad, he said. To unwind, he occasionally takes naps.

“I don’t really have any busy days, just busy workdays,” he said. “I’m just a normal person. I just do research for fun.”

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