THIS YEAR, the papier mache volcanoes didn’t stand a chance.
At the Holy Trinity School science fair in Richmond Hill, Canada, grade 11 student Nicholas Schiefer took home the gold. His project was an algorithm for finding information in smaller bodies of texts: headlines, Tweets, or Facebook status updates. The search engine is named “Apodora” after a species of python with uncanny search abilities. Schiefer’s project went on to win more gold medals at the regional and Canada-Wide Science Fair.
As he explains in his instructional video, the algorithm is unique in its ability to discern the semantic relationships of words.
If you search, for example, “Versailles,” the program will compute the relationship between the searchword and words commonly used with it. On Apodora, your Versailles search will yield content relating to the French palace, not photos of someone’s hamster named Versailles, or the city council page of Versailles, Conneticut. Clever.