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Congratulations to Syosset High School senior Thomas Lam on being named a 2019 Regeneron Science Talent Search (Regeneron STS) finalist. Out of 1,964 entries nationwide, Thomas was one of only 40 students to be named a finalist. He will travel to Washington, D.C. in March to undergo final judging, display his research project, meet with notable scientists and members of Congress, and compete for a total of $1.8 million in awards. Winners will be announced at a black-tie gala award ceremony at the National Building Museum on March 12.

The Regeneron STS is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious pre-college science competition. Students are selected based upon their scientific research and on their overall potential as future leaders of the scientific community. Thomas was named a semifinalist earlier this month along with three other Syosset seniors, and received a $2,000 award. Syosset High School was also awarded $2,000 for each of the semifinalists.

Thomas Lam completed his research work at Syosset High School. He created a game named The Number Rotation Puzzle, which is played on a square or rectangular grid of scrambled numbers. The goal of the game is to restore the numbers back into order by rotating square blocks of numbers of a set size. For all possible sizes of the board and all possible sizes of the rotating square blocks, players determine for what initial positions of the numbers the puzzle is solvable. Three-cycle algorithms, which are essential to solving these types of combination games, were found using a computer program in order to solve this focused problem. The results were then extended and special cases in which the general solving algorithm failed were handled.