McCallie Senior Allen Liu Is Finalist In National Technology Competition

Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Allen Liu
Allen Liu

McCallie senior day student Allen Liu and his research partner were named one of 12 national finalists in the prestigious Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology after winning the contest’s regional competition at Georgia Tech. 

Allen and his teammate Gabrielle Liu, of Nashville, shared the $6,000 team scholarship for developing a faster computational system that could lead to improvements in data processing speed for facial recognition software. They were among 101 students selected to compete in regional competitions across the country in November out of a pool of more than 1,860 projects submitted to the competition. 

They were among 101 students selected to compete in regional competitions across the country in November out of a pool of more than 1,860 projects submitted to the competition, and they presented their research to a panel of judges at Georgia Tech, which hosted the southeastern regional finals. 

“Allen’s work on this project is nothing short of incredible,” said McCallie Headmaster Lee Burns ‘87. “For a high school senior to conduct research that could change the nature of a growing technology like facial recognition is a great accomplishment, and we’re excited about his team’s chances at the finals.” 

As regional winners, Allen and Gabrielle now move to the final phase of the Siemens Competition to present their work at the National Finals in Washington, D.C., next week, with $500,000 in scholarships on the line, including two top prizes of $100,000. Each of the finalists will receive at least $25,000 in scholarship money. 

Allen and Gabrielle’s winning project is titled, “Neural Networks without Multiplications” where they came up with a new mathematical concept for improving the running time in convolutional neural networks—a type of artificial intelligence computing system used in new technologies like facial recognition and driverless cars. 

The team's mentor is mathematics teacher Peter Lowen of Ravenwood High School in Brentwood, Tenn., where Gabrielle is a student. "It’s amazing to see the knowledge and determination students bring to the competition each year," said David Etzwiler, CEO of the Siemens Foundation. "These high school students are presenting top-notch, graduate-level research and they deserve recognition for their efforts to improve so many lives." 

The Siemens Competition, launched in 1999 by the Siemens Foundation, increases access to higher education for students who are gifted in STEM and is based on the culture of innovation, research and educational support that is the hallmark of Siemens. The competition, administered by Discovery Education, develops a pipeline for the nation’s most promising scientists, engineers and mathematicians. 

Allen is most passionate about math and music. He is a classically trained violinist and has performed at Carnegie Hall with the National Youth Orchestra. He has also served as concertmaster of the Tennessee All-State Symphony Orchestra, and regularly organizes concerts and community projects as an intern with String Theory, a chamber music concert series based in Chattanooga that has performed across the country. Allen’s interest in science led him to placing in the Top 150 in the United States National Chemistry Olympiad. He is president of McCallie’s Young Democrats club and co-captain of the Mock Trial team. 

For more information about the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology go to:

Brian Peterson Receives Excellence In Scholarship Award At Lee

Dr. Brian Peterson, associate professor of Old Testament, has been named the recipient of Lee University’s 2018 Excellence in Scholarship Award. The winner of this award is chosen each year by the Faculty Scholarship and Research Committee. Lee President Dr. Paul Conn officially recognized Peterson for this award during spring commencement. Dr. Peterson joined the Lee ... (click for more)

Sewell Finds Her Home At Alma Mater CSCC

Growing up, Cleveland State Service-Learning Program Assistant Brooklyn Sewell never thought college was for her. Fast forward a few years and not only has she completed her associate degree, but she will graduate with her bachelor’s in December and is already making plans to complete her master’s degree, and even considering a doctorate. Ms. Sewell originally decided to pursue ... (click for more)

Jury Finds Donaldson Guilty Of Second-Degree Murder In Killing Of Son-In-Law

A Criminal Court jury late Friday afternoon returned a verdict of guilty of second-degree murder against Glen Donaldson in the killing of his son-in-law, Adam Levi. He is facing 15-60 years in state prison. Judge Don Poole will set the sentence at a sentencing hearing on July 12.  He has been free on bond, but was taken into custody after the verdict. The jury deliberated ... (click for more)

1st Vote On Controversial Signal Mountain Grocery Proposal Set June 13; Town To Choose Either Tennessee American Or Waldens Ridge For Water Service

The next steps in rezoning 617 Cauthen Way were discussed at the Signal Mountain work session Friday afternoon. Since the last council meeting, Town Manager Boyd Veal created a list of conditions to include in the zoning ordinance relating to the proposed commercial development designed to assure that there is no negative impact to the surrounding properties or to the interest of ... (click for more)

Conserving White Flight To Private, Public Secluded Schools Is Shameful

If you really care about the kids of Hamilton County’s most distressed schools, then you’ll take help where you can get it. The question on your mind isn’t which political label someone wears. Anyone who shifts attention away from the critical issues facing public education and toward political labels is not really committed to public education. Their support for equitable, quality ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

Today’s edition of The  Saturday  Funnies is the most technical savvy, advanced, software-enhanced, and modern-day genius that I have ever delivered. I can sum it up in just one sentence: I am using a new H-P Pavilion that is the newest seventh-generation Intel Core computer and, if you want to see “real funny,” go get a new computer and try switching over your tech ... (click for more)