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A 16-year-old who built an encryption program has been named Ireland's top young scientist

Over 1,100 students from 375 schools across the island of Ireland competed for the title.

Shane Curran
Shane Curran
Image: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

A 16-YEAR-OLD Dublin student has been named as Ireland’s top young scientist.

Terenure College fifth year Shane Curran built a project entitled ‘qCrypt: The quantum-secure, encrypted, data storage solution with multijurisdictional quorum sharding technology’. He says that the project is resistant to quantum computers, which would break all existing security schemes.

Shane’s award includes a prize-fund of €5,000, the BTYSTE perpetual trophy, and a trip to the European Space Research and Technology Centre in the Netherlands. In addition, the winner will have the opportunity to represent Ireland at the European Union Contest for Young Scientists in Tallinn, Estonia later this year.

Over 1,100 students from 375 schools across the island of Ireland competed for the title of BT Young Scientist & Technologist of the Year 2017.

The award for group winner went to students Michael Sheehan and Jack Murphy, both aged 16, students at Colaiste Treasa, Kanturk, Co. Cork for their project entitled ‘Prey availability for hen harriers in managed farmland’.

The individual runner-up award was presented to Cormac Larkin, aged 19, a 6th year student at Colaiste An Spioraid Naoimh, Bishopstown, Co. Cork for his project entitled ‘Case study of Data Mining in Observational Astronomy: The search for new OB stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud’.

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The Group runners-up award was presented to Matthew Blakeney and Mark McDermott, both aged 14, 2nd year students at Jesus & Mary Secondary School, Enniscrone, Co. Sligo for their project entitled ‘Flint on the Moy? A Geological Study of an Area of Shoreline on the Moy Estuary’.

BT Young Scientist judge John Dunnion commented; “qCrypt is a novel distributed data storage system that provides greater protection for user data than is currently available. It addresses a number of shortfalls of current data encryption systems; in particular, the algorithm used in the system has been demonstrated to be resistant to attacks by quantum computers in the future.

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