BUFFALO, N.Y. -- High school scientists who programmed
University at Buffalo computers to study regional cancer rates will
share the results of their work on Friday, July 6 at UB.
The presentations, part of an annual summer computing workshop,
will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Zebro Room of UB's New York State
Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences at 701
Ellicott Street in Buffalo.
The students, who will present digital maps of cancer clusters
in Western New York, will be joined by their families and UB
scientists. Tours of UB's supercomputing facility, the Center for
Computational Research, will follow.
The research on cancer rates is part of UB's Eric
Pitman Annual Summer Workshop in Computational Science, a
two-week program that introduces about a dozen high school students
to the use of computer modeling and simulation to solve important
problems in science and engineering.
Through this year's program, participants:
- Toured research facilities at UB and Hauptman-Woodward Medical
- Visited Roswell Park Cancer Institute to view a gamma knife
and a linear accelerator, radiotherapy tools that use computational
techniques to calculate the ideal beam intensities for different
- Took part in a hands-on learning activity that demonstrated
how a process called optimization enables global positioning
systems (GPS) to determine an object's location
- Learned new computer programming languages
- Programmed UB computers to hunt for unusual patterns in cancer
rates in six Western New York counties: Cattaraugus, Chautauqua,
Erie, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming
Scientists who worked closely with the students included Alisa
Neeman, a scientific programmer at CCR who oversaw the project
examining cancer rates. Daryl Nazareth, an assistant professor and
medical physicist at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, organized the
UB's Center for Computational Research has hosted the workshop
every year since 1999. Since 2007, it has been held in honor of
Eric Pitman, who was a freshman at St. Joseph's Collegiate
Institute when he passed away in 2007 after a brief illness.
"The workshop interests kids in science and stokes their
imaginations by showing them some of the exciting things that are
happening in Western New York," said Bruce Pitman, dean of UB's
College of Arts and Sciences and Eric Pitman's father. "It lets
them know that there are opportunities here for great careers in