ARMAN BILGELexington High School, Lexington, MA
HOMETOWN: Lexington, MA
PROJECT: Bayesian Reconstruction of Coevolutionary Histories
FIELD: Computer Science
MENTORS: Yi-Chieh Jessica Wu, Research Assistant/Graduate Student, MIT; Rachel Sealfon, Graduate Student, Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT; Mukul Bansal, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science & Engineering, University of Connecticut
“I am always fascinated by the use of mathematical modeling in subjects that we do not normally associate with heavy use of math, such as biology or history. In general, I am excited to see research across all fields becoming more quantitative.”
For his project, Arman developed a computer algorithm to reconstruct the linked evolutionary histories of symbiotic organisms. The methodology he used may enable us to predict and prevent the animal to human transmissions of diseases, such as influenza and HIV.
Arman’s love of science began at a young age, and his deep interest in supercomputing unknowingly lent support to the largest collection of integrated advanced digital resources and services in the world, Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE), used by scientists to interactively share computing resources, data and expertise. Arman used the database to run analyses on the CIPRES Science Gateway, which is hosted on XSEDE resources. As a result, he was featured in an article about CIPRES that appeared on the homepage of the National Science Foundation. Arman also runs a computational biology club at his school that gives his fellow students the opportunity to use computational methods in their biology research projects, and volunteers at the school’s Learning Center, where he tutors students in math and science. He is president of the photography club and an accomplished violinist. Arman aspires to be a professor and principal investigator of a computational evolutionary biology group.