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Casey Banner

Location: Smithers, BC

Award: Young Canadians


Year: 2007


Neural Networks: Image Recognition

News Release

BC students garner three Manning Innovation Awards at Canada-Wide Science Fair

TRURO, NS — (May 22, 2007) Three BC high school students have won Manning Innovation Awards at the Canada-Wide Science Fair (CWSF). Their innovative projects delved into linguistics, computerized image recognition and medicine.

Casey Banner, a Grade 11 student from Smithers, BC, won a $4000 Manning Young Canadian Innovation Award and $500 Manning Innovation Achievement Award for his project "Neural Networks: Image Recognition." Banner, who also received a CWSF silver medal in the Computing and Information Technology Division, developed software for using artificial neural networks to reliably identify simple images. Typically, artificial neural networks are used to classify and find patterns in data, but not to recognize images. A potential application of Banner's innovative work would be analyzing low-quality surveillance video or security system photos.

Daniel Bild-Enkin of Victoria, BC, also received a $4000 Manning Young Canadian Innovation Award and a $500 Manning Innovation Achievement Award for his project "Voila les Voyelles: French Pronunciation in a Victoria High School." The Grade 12 student wrote a computer program called "Formant Finder" in order to analyze recorded vowel sounds to assess students' pronunciation. His technology converts spoken sounds into a spectrograph. This graphical representation of speech could potentially be used to help foreign language-learners, the deaf and others achieve authentic pronunciation. Bild-Enkin also won a CWSF bronze medal in the Physical and Mathematical Sciences Division, and the Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) Physics Prize.

Bing Luo, a Grade 12 student from Vancouver, BC, won a $500 Manning Innovation Achievement Award for his research relating to atherosclerosis, the build-up of plaque in the arteries. For his project, Luo investigated the biochemical chain of events that prevent fat-laden 'foam cells' from dying off, leading to their build-up in the blood vessels. His project "The Missing Link: An Investigation into JAK 2 Phosphorylation" was further recognized with a CWSF bronze medal in the Health Sciences Division, the Peter W. Newman Award, and Quality of Life Student Research Award.

The Manning Innovation Award winners were among the approximately 25,000 young Canadians in Grades 7 though 12 who earlier this year competed in regional science fairs across the country. Of these students, 459 Finalists gathered at the 2007 CWSF, held in the Colchester County of Nova Scotia from May 12-20th. The annual fair is the showcase event of Youth Science Foundation Canada.

The Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation introduced the Young Canadian Program in 1992 to recognize innovative CWSF projects. Each year a judging team selects eight winning projects for the $500 Manning Innovation Achievement Awards, which are presented at the science fair awards ceremony. Out of these projects, another four are selected for the $4000 Manning Young Canadian Innovation Awards. The top four award winners also receive invitations to the Foundation's annual awards dinner and ceremony.

Bruce Fenwick
Executive Director, Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation
Phone: 403-645-8277
Email: bruce.fenwick@encana.com

Lori Murray
Youth Science Foundation Canada
Phone: (Toll free) 866-341-0040 ext. 3
Email: communications@ysf-fsj.ca