Irish student, 17, wins top prize at EU Contest for Young Scientists

Irish student, 17, wins top prize at EU Contest for Young Scientists
Adam Kelly, pictured after winning the BT Young Scientist competition last January. Picture: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

A 17-year-old from Dublin has been named as one of Europe's leading young scientists.

Adam Kelly was today named as one of four winners at the EU Contest for Young Scientists in Bulgaria.

Mr Kelly, along with the three other winners, will receive a cash prize of €7,000.

Mr Kelly, from Skerries Community College, won with his project titled: 'Optimised Simulation of General Quantum Circuits'.

The abstract for Mr Kelly's computing project is described as:

    Quantum computers may tackle problems beyond the capabilities of current computers.

    However, only small scale quantum devices are currently available.

    This introduces a need for fast and accurate simulation methods and tools.

    In this work, a series of tools for simulating quantum computers are developed.

    Existing techniques are built upon, and new algorithms are developed.

    A classical preprocessing step is introduced, allowing for optimizations throughout the simulation process.

    These developments create a coherent approach towards thesimulation of quantum circuits, that can be used by any researcher to improve the simulation process for any quantum circuit, allowing more qubits, more quantum gates and faster development times.

Mr Kelly said he was surprised to have won but was "very, very happy" none the less.

"It was very hard to know what would have won because they were very, very fair so everybody had the exact same number of judges," he said.

"Nobody had any idea as to the result until they announced it.

"So it was a surprise, but a good one."

Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said in a statement:

"I warmly congratulate the winners of this year’s contest on their outstanding achievement.

"I am convinced that we will see many of the 154 participants hitting the headlines in the coming years with breakthrough discoveries and innovations.

"We need all the bright minds in Europe to change the world!"

Mr Kelly is one of four winners alongside Magnus Quaade Oddershede from Denmark, Alex Korocencev and Felix Christian Sewing from Germany and Leo Li Takemaru and Poojan Pandya from USA.

The winners were picked from a pool of 154 young scientists aged between 14 and 20 from schools in 40 countries.

Last January, Mr Kelly was named as the BT Young Scientist & Technologist of the Year 2019.

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