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[March 26, 2014]
Chesapeake Science freshman headed to international science fair [Maryland Gazette (MD)]
(Maryland Gazette (MD) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) At Chesapeake Science Point Public Charter School, 14-year-old David Kravets studies Advanced Placement calculus, mostly with other freshmen.
But he isn't your average freshman.
What separates David is his ability to code. He creates software that allows users to chat over the Internet and then encrypts the data to make it secure.
By itself, a chat box isn't extraordinary -- people chat on the Internet all the time. But the data encryption adds extra levels of security.
David's creation won the grand award at the Anne Arundel County Regional Science and Engineering Fair this month. He will demonstrate his project at the International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles in May.
David started coding between sixth and seventh grade. His parents taught him how to keep his code neat, encouraging him to continue programming.
His submission to the fair last year was software that can tell how fast a computer's operating system runs.
The second-place project, from South River High School sophomores Sally Albright and Allison Raines, investigated how ethylene glycol pollution in the Chesapeake Bay effects oysters.
David created the chat software based on a relatively simple program developed before his time: AOL instant messenger.
The most difficult part, he said, was learning how to make a program communicate over the Internet.
"Data security is a really big issue right now, so I just decided it would be fitting," he said.
The Annapolis teenager wants to intern for the National Security Agency eventually.
He codes on a computer that runs Windows XP, a version of Windows that was introduced in 2001 and was sold only until 2008.
"It's just about personal preference. I'm not making high-class professional programming, I'm making my own user face by myself," he said.
The 14-year-old is on track with about 20 other students to graduate early, said Chesapeake Science Point Principal Ilker Gurbuz.
The Hanover school is one of two public charter schools in the county, formed by a public-private partnership. Incoming students are selected through a lottery. Next year, about 40 students will join the school.
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