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Young Achiever: computer whiz develops app

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Kairo Morton has created software that could help X-ray scans identify lung cancer, designed an app to track fishing nets in the ocean and worked alongside software developers at a leading international company.

Not bad for a 15-year-old.

Kairo, a former Somersfield Academy pupil, was picked out as one of the rising stars at the Code 441 Hackathon at Axa XL last Friday.

He began developing his skills in computer science at Somersfield Academy, but some of his most exciting work came on a computer science camp at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology this summer.

Kairo told The Royal Gazette he created software which could identify lung cancer in X-ray scans with 80 per cent accuracy. He said: “It used artificial intelligence to determine if a given X-ray displayed cancerous lungs.”

Jahde Eve, the founder of the non-profit organisation Code 441 that hosts the hackathon, described Kairo as “a superstar”.

Although this was Kairo's first appearance at the hackathon, his keen interest in computer science goes back six years.

He said: “At Somersfield, we had a robotics programme. So starting in P5, when I was 9, I began programming, and ever since then I've just been building on my knowledge and pursuing my passion.”

Kairo is now a junior at George School, a boarding school in Pennsylvania. He said: “AP computer science is the class I'm taking now. We also have a really strong robotics programme that I've been involved in”.

Kairo participated in the hackathon because it featured an artificial intelligence component. He said: “My main goal is to do software engineering and AI specifically. It's what I want to spend my life doing.”

Kairo also took part in the 2016 Fishackathon in Georgia, in which he had to develop an app with an environmental focus. He said: “I created an app that allows people to identify fishing nets based on diameter and size.

“You can then target where fishing nets are being lost in the ocean and which big industrial fishing companies are losing their nets. So scientists can pick up a piece of fishing net and it goes through a database, and then they can find out where it came from.”

While at Somersfield, Kairo also completed a work-shadowing at Sompo International, formerly Endurance.

He said: “I had to do my own research to find out where software developers work in Bermuda, and Endurance was one of the main places, so I e-mailed them and asked if I could shadow them for a day or two and they said yes.”

Kairo, who also took part in a computer science camp at Oxford University last year, intends to study computer science at university and then make a career out of it.

He added: “There are practical uses for AI in every industry. It can help so many people. What humans can't see, AI can pick up. It can help augment people's abilities to be the best they can be, making the world a better place overall.”

Leading edge: 15-year-old computer programmer Kairo Morton

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Published December 24, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated December 24, 2018 at 8:12 am)

Young Achiever: computer whiz develops app

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