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Tue Nov 2, 2021, 01:49 PM

A 14-year-old won a prestigious award for his discoveries on 'antiprime numbers'

Akilan Sankaran, 14, is on his school's varsity track team, plays piano, the flute and drums — and yet somehow still found time to devise a computer program that could speed up some of your favorite apps.

That program won the ninth-grader from Albuquerque, N.M., the $25,000 Samueli Foundation Prize, the top award in the Broadcom MASTERS, a highly-competitive science and engineering competition for middle school students.

For his winning project, Akilan wrote a computer program that has the potential to make everyday tasks online run smoother and more efficiently. The program he created can calculate antiprime numbers, which are highly-divisible numbers with more than 1,000 digits, and he discovered a new class of functions to analyze these numbers' divisibility.

"We use these numbers all the time in our daily lives without even thinking about it," Akilan said in his project presentation. "Because we have a natural tendency to want to split things into smaller groups. For example, 60 is a highly divisible number, and we use it to divide time, as there are 60 seconds in a minute and 60 minutes in an hour."

In a similar way, highly divisible numbers are useful in computing because they can be used to divide data among computer processors, Akilan explains.

https://www.npr.org/2021/11/02/1051476829/a-14-year-old-won-a-prestigious-award-for-his-discoveries-on-antiprime-numbers

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Reply A 14-year-old won a prestigious award for his discoveries on 'antiprime numbers' (Original post)
Jilly_in_VA Nov 2021 OP
Ocelot II Nov 2021 #1
lagomorph777 Nov 2021 #2
Zorro Nov 2021 #3
Silent3 Nov 2021 #5
WhiskeyGrinder Nov 2021 #14
malaise Nov 2021 #4
LastDemocratInSC Nov 2021 #6
mopinko Nov 2021 #7
malaise Nov 2021 #8
mopinko Nov 2021 #15
malaise Nov 2021 #17
mopinko Nov 2021 #19
malaise Nov 2021 #21
mopinko Nov 2021 #22
malaise Nov 2021 #9
Lucky Luciano Nov 2021 #13
mopinko Nov 2021 #18
Lucky Luciano Nov 2021 #23
mopinko Nov 2021 #24
MissB Nov 2021 #11
malaise Nov 2021 #16
JanMichael Nov 2021 #10
Hekate Nov 2021 #12
Disaffected Nov 2021 #20

Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Tue Nov 2, 2021, 01:53 PM

1. Jeez. When I was 14 I still could barely handle long division.

Not good at it yet but now there are calculators. Kids like this freak me out because I was such a moron at that age.

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Tue Nov 2, 2021, 01:59 PM

2. Oh, cool. There's a close connection between prime and ant-prime algorithms.

Although, the example of dividing CPU load doesn't quite fit the idea of a 1000-digit number. That would be more CPUs than there are grains of sand in the universe.

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Tue Nov 2, 2021, 02:33 PM

3. Interesting remark by Akilan about the number 60

Last edited Tue Nov 2, 2021, 07:44 PM - Edit history (1)

60 was a special number in ancient Sumeria; they developed a base 60 numbering system, and could count to that number using both hands (instead of using only individual digits to count to 10).

I wonder if Akilan has a Middle Eastern heritage that may have helped influence his interest in this area.

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Response to Zorro (Reply #3)

Tue Nov 2, 2021, 02:37 PM

5. They chose base 60 for just the reason Akilan describes

You can conveniently divide it up evenly many ways.

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Response to Zorro (Reply #3)

Tue Nov 2, 2021, 04:44 PM

14. what the heck

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Tue Nov 2, 2021, 02:35 PM

4. Have experts analyzed the link between music and math?

This is a serious question

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Response to malaise (Reply #4)

Tue Nov 2, 2021, 03:29 PM

6. Yes, many studies about it.

Google is your friend.

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Response to malaise (Reply #4)

Tue Nov 2, 2021, 04:12 PM

7. absolutely. a story about my kids-

so, we homeschooled for 8 yrs, starting when the oldest was 5. kid is a genius and at 5, it totally showed. he's prolly on the spectrum, shy as hell. i was positive he would get bullied, and for what? they werent gonna teach him anything. absolute math whiz. reading already.

anyway, #2 was a different animal. way more creative. math anxiety.
we bought a keyboard w that game where you shoot the ducks.
but she noodled around on the keys, and started finding harmonies, and riffs, and just basically lovely noodles.

i thought- ah ha. something where she has the edge on her bro. signed them up for piano lessons.
math whiz sat down, realized it was just numbers, and took off.
the kid w the ear decided she hated it if it was gonna be so mathy.

she did get the hang eventually, but preferred the clarinet.
she also figured out that math isnt that scary. runs a restaurant now.
math whiz is abt on a phd in theoretical math, doing computer stuff.
she's def the happier of the 2.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #7)

Tue Nov 2, 2021, 04:36 PM

8. What a lovely story

Nice that you let them be

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Response to malaise (Reply #8)

Tue Nov 2, 2021, 04:53 PM

15. they were amazing little kids.

4 of them in the end. they were all clearly executing sophisticated programs to educate themselves. i took my job to be- feed that, supply that, encourage that, answer endless questons, then stay the f out of the way. and keep away anyone who wasnt down w the plan.

interesting coincidence that my next door neighbor shortly after that was working on a phd in child development at the erickson institute. we had many long and interesting conversations, and i have to think that my kids made an impression on her.
she was studying how babies learn, and what babies know. ended up taking 7 yrs to finish, and its at the root of the common core math for primary grades. she was made erickson's first fellow.

a most amazing journey. but up there w hiking death valley in august.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #15)

Tue Nov 2, 2021, 05:00 PM

17. Really fabulous

I posted about the Erickson institute back in September when my close friend died - she was an Erickson graduate

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Response to malaise (Reply #17)

Tue Nov 2, 2021, 05:07 PM

19. think i mentioned my friend in that thread.

the idea that a human baby is a blank slate is dumbest idea humankind ever bought into.
and the idea that play is somehow worthless, i mean.

just glad i was raising my kids at a time when all that nonsense was falling hard.
have watched w great interest as science, read:women scientists mostly, has proven just how much is going on in those little brains.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #19)

Tue Nov 2, 2021, 05:21 PM

21. Yep

It is so important to feed them with their interests and (as you say) back off and let them grow and develop.

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Response to malaise (Reply #21)

Tue Nov 2, 2021, 05:28 PM

22. it's absurd that they have to wait til hs to have ANY choice in what they learn.

bassackwards.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #7)


Response to mopinko (Reply #7)

Tue Nov 2, 2021, 04:43 PM

13. Cool. I did s math phd in algebraic geometry. Pure math is a beast.

I’m more applied now so I can earn a living, but pure is … just pure and I grok it better…applied math is too much work actually whereas pure is more about the logic puzzles.

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Response to Lucky Luciano (Reply #13)

Tue Nov 2, 2021, 05:02 PM

18. his thing was topology of imaginary surfaces.

he thought he was gonna crunch numbers for a living, but after he had sucked the subject dry, he got bored.
computers are in his blood, so it was easy to fall back to that. we used computers extensively, starting w a commodore 64 when he was 3. he dropped out of hs and sat on my couch for 5 years.
taught himself ruby, java, and a couple other things. practiced his japanese online w gamers over there, back when that was a new thing.
eventually got up, went to college, got straight a's and a full boat bs->phd.

#3 is a drummer, and #4 is an artist. they ended up just the kind of fucked up i knew they were gonna get. but i was just worn to a ravel, and i got sick, and i just couldnt do it any more.
broke my heart, tho.
sometimes, you dont want to be right.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #18)

Tue Nov 2, 2021, 06:16 PM

23. Cool - He might have done a similar topic.

Last edited Tue Nov 2, 2021, 06:56 PM - Edit history (1)

Imaginary surfaces sounds like algebraic geometry with complex surfaces (Griffiths and Harris is the Bible for that topic).

I did the more general kind of algebraic geometry which is more pure algebra and less specifically about the complex field (which is just a special case) and my Bible was Hartshorne’s book. Your son is no doubt familiar with both! I wish I did the more complex manifold path now…it is more applicable.

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Response to Lucky Luciano (Reply #23)

Tue Nov 2, 2021, 11:10 PM

24. i survived calculus, but just for raw math brain, he bypassed my at about 10.

he went to u utah. full boat. could have gone to austin, but knew his dad and i would visit.

my attempts to comprehend what he was studying were met w contempt. lol.
his last attempt to explain was klein bottles, and a video of someone who reduced some topographic function to an ice skating routine.
there were also crochet versions of theoretical shapes.

i knew this kid was extraordinary by the time he could hold his head up. had an intense attention span from day 1. if i ruled the world, i would make sure that kids like him got an appropriate education, like federal law is supposed to provide. cali is the only state that gives the same guarantee to gifted kids it gives to disabled kids.
do we have a problem w anti-intellectualism in this country? listen in on the debate on gifted ed. even here on du.

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Response to malaise (Reply #4)

Tue Nov 2, 2021, 04:42 PM

11. Right?

My kids both took piano from the age of 5 &4. They both finished all the math required for their future engineering degrees before they finished high school.

Is there a link? I didn’t get them into piano to encourage their math abilities. But I do think there is something there.

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Response to MissB (Reply #11)

Tue Nov 2, 2021, 04:58 PM

16. I know a guy who is a freaking maths brain - did his PhD in Germany

and speaks several languages. If you ever hear his Chopin recitals - he moves us to tears.
He was always an odd duck though. I've heard that when he was at high school in Georgetown, Guyana, he looked up at the Georgetown Cathedral (was the tallest wooden building on our planet) and asked someone why the angle on the steeple was 46 and not 45 degrees. He asked this with the naked eye.
Turns out he was right

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Tue Nov 2, 2021, 04:36 PM

10. my blue ribbon "solar" water heater looks prehistoric compared to this.

1982 submittal in 8th grade...i had various wattage bulbs and calculated the temperature change in the water flowing through copper pipes on black painted corrugated metal in a wood box with a Plexiglas cover...

good old soldering...the fumes...lead fumes...ugh

smart kid.

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Tue Nov 2, 2021, 04:43 PM

12. Very cool!

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Tue Nov 2, 2021, 05:13 PM

20. 1,000 digits??

The number of atoms in the known universe is "only' about 80 digits (which is infinitesimal compared to a 1,000 digit number).

Maybe it's 1,000 divisors?

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