Student wins young scientist award

SOMALIA-BORN Abdusalam Abubakar, who found a way to crack the encryption system used by banks and the military to keep information secure, is this year’s BT Young Scientist of the Year.

The 16-year-old student is now looking for a more powerful computer to see how good his system is.

Abdusalam moved to Ireland two years ago to join his father who has been living in the country since 1999.

Judges were highly impressed with the way Abdusalam, a third-year student at Synge Street CBS in Dublin, mastered enormously complex mathematics that limit the security of encrypted digital and internet messages.

“For a student still in second level, such command and insight into cutting edge mathematical research is remarkable,” the judges said after awarding Abdusalam the top award for his project entitled An Extension of Wiener’s Attack on RSA.

The judges said they continued to be astounded at the breadth of knowledge of participating students.

Minister for Education and Science, Mary Hanifin, presented Abdusalam with a cheque for €5,000, a Waterford Crystal trophy and the opportunity to represent Ireland at the European Union Contest for Young Scientists that takes place in Sweden this September.

The award for best group went to Ben Finnegan, Justin Cullinane and Timothy Seebus from Maynooth Post Primary School in Co Kildare for their project on launching a radio station using web technology.

A total of 500 projects by 1,145 students had got through to the finals and 100 prizes were presented last night.

The exhibition will open at 9.30am today and close at 5.30pm.

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