By Allen He
A good portion of the student body at BHS participates in the school’s science research program, a program that allows students to experience and contribute to research while still in high school. Students submit their projects to many competitions each year. One of the largest and most prestigious of these competitions is the Siemens Competition. This year, Karthik Rao and Robert Karp became the first students in BHS history to reach the regional finals in the Siemens competition.
Senior Robert Karp is known around the school for starting his own company – Karp Enterprises. It is evident that he is thoroughly knowledgeable about the airline industry. He had been working on his individual project last year; as junior Karthik Rao listened to Rob present his project on airline mergers one day, he decided to approach him with an idea. Rao is a skilled computer science student and had a vision to bring Karp’s project to the next level. He suggested incorporating a mathematical model to the analysis of airline mergers. They decided to collaborate on a team project, and the result was their winning project, “A Network Flow-Based Approach for Post-Merger Airline Hub Consolidation.”
Their project determined the optimal way to utilize and merge airline hubs to minimize costs and maximize efficiency in the airline industry. Together, with their respective backgrounds in computer science and the airline industry, Rao and Karp were able to become one of five teams in the state to reach the Siemens regional finals. They attended a conference at Carnegie Mellon University in November to vie for a spot on the national level. Though they ultimately failed to advance, reaching the regional finals is an incredible achievement in itself.
“We were shocked when we heard we were regional finalists,” said Rao. “Attending the conference at CMU was a great experience, and though I am also disappointed that we failed to advance further, the teams that did advance were doing incredible things with their research.”
Both Rao and Karp have done an exceptional job with their team project, and they are grateful to their mentors and teachers for their support in the team’s success.
“We really appreciate all the help we got,” said Karp.
Rao and Karp have blazed a path where no BHS student has yet gone. Hopefully their success can help inspire other students in science research at BHS to reach for greater goals. Congratulations to them both for their hard work and success.