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From November 21, 2005, News-Sentinel

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3 from ORHS win regional science event

Designing computer search software won three seniors from Oak Ridge High School the team category in the Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science and Technology.

The award was presented to Nick Grabenstein, Patricia Brent and Tarik Umar on Saturday during the Southern Regional Finals of the 2005-06 competition at Georgia Institute of Technology.

All of the winners will advance to the national finals in December in New York, according to a release from the Siemens Foundation.

The Oak Ridge students will share a $6,000 scholarship.

Their winning project, "Searching With Comprehension: Going Beyond Google," developed a software program that teaches computers to recognize people, places, organizations and other types of entities in electronic documents, according to the Siemens release.

Their research in "named entity recognition" could be used to improve the relevance of search results, according to the release.

Nagiza Samatova, Ramya Krishnamurthy and Christopher Symons of Oak Ridge National Laboratory were the students' mentors.

"This team demonstrated a thorough understanding of the state of the art in natural language processing," said judge Ashwin Ram, associate professor of Computing at Georgia Tech. "Their system has potential applications in bioinformatics, homeland security, disease research and search engines."

Patricia speaks fluent German and is a member of the National Honor Society, Math and Science clubs. Her favorite subjects are calculus, chemistry and journalism. Her dream job is to work for Google, according to the release.

Nick has participated in the National Science Bowl and National Science Olympiad. His favorite subjects are calculus, linear algebra and physics. He also is an avid soccer player and enjoys programming and building computers. He aspires to be a physicist or mathematician.

Tarik is fluent in Spanish and has participated in the Cumberland College Science Bowl and National Chemistry Olympiad. A jazz pianist and saxophonist, Umar enjoys break-dancing, cooking and trading stocks.

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