Andrew Komo did it! The student from Montgomery Blair High School won first prize in the Siemens Competition Math, Science, and Technology.
— Siemens Foundation (@sfoundation) December 5, 2017
The senior attending Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, MD created a project under the name of “Cryptographically Secure Proxy Bidding in Ascending Clock Auctions.” Komo entered his program into the Siemens Competition and rose through the ranks. He won in the preliminary rounds held at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Komo then went on to the finals held at The George Washington University in Washington, DC to present his program.
Komo’s program was designed as a cryptographic protocol that protects auctions held online from threats such as fraud and collusion. This is done through a deep code of privacy. The bids placed on items are completely hidden from all other parties until the close of auction. Auctioneers are guaranteed that the bids are valid and can decide when to end the bidding. The process gives bidders an honest and fair purchasing price.
William Gasarch, a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Maryland said, “Andrew applied a great combination of mathematics and computer science with a practical application in mind. People have long thought about this problem but no one has really come up with a clean, fast, user-friendly way of solving it. But Andrew did just that. He has applied techniques of cryptography to the problem of making sure all parties in an online auction are honest and he has implemented it in a way that could be applied soon.”
This programming could be used for major auctions involving billions of dollars. The government holds auctions like these often and could significantly benefit from a system like this. It’d take out much of the guessing game of fairness of a bid.
The program that Komo designed blew the judges away. It was one that they had never seen before and the detail involved was much more than any other student. Because of his hard work and dedication, the Siemens-Foundation rewarded Komo with a $100,000 scholarship (on top of the $3,000 one he already earned in prior stages.)
Komo has also been a finalist the 2017 Moody’s Mega Math Challenge, a national team-based math modeling competition, and came in third in the 2016 High School Forensics Challenge, the largest high school cyber security event in the country.
Andrew Komo has a bright future ahead of him. What will he design next? And where will his auction program be implemented?