PRIMES: Steven Homberg's Story
Computer science has always been a passion. Growing up in the household of two engineer parents, an interest in technical fields was a foregone conclusion. While each of math, computer science, and engineering is vastly interesting to me, math and computer science were the focus of my PRIMES experience.
I have always found both mathematics and computer science beautiful in similar but subtly different ways. The structure of some abstract math concept or the logical flow of a computer procedure each carry the same flavor of appeal to me, and one often echoes an instance of the other. Despite this correspondence, the true extent of the fundamental similarities of the two never struck home until given the opportunity to conduct research through the PRIMES program. Before, computer science was mostly writing programs and math was largely abstractions lacking context in the real world. After my first year in PRIMES, the distinction is not quite as clear as it was before; the project, in merging two of my greatest interests, served to enhance each.
Beyond the opportunity to work with some interesting computer science, PRIMES gave me above all the opportunity to experience the research process. My previous experiences of learning known math, competing in competitions, and writing programs, however captivating, were a far cry from the research I conducted as a part of the PRIMES program. To generate my own results, prove my own theorems, and write my own papers was a truly enlightening experience, providing a taste of the real academic process and what is to come. In providing such an experience to me as a high schooler, PRIMES will truly have influenced my life.
To any considering applying to the PRIMES program, I wholeheartedly recommend doing so. High school breeds a disposition toward learning and academics which is vastly different from the one that true academic research gives; the PRIMES program provides an opportunity to escape to a superior world of enlightened thought before college, and that opportunity is out there for those like you.
Steven Homberg, together with Eli Sadovnik, worked on the project Improving the efficiency of fault-tolerant distributed shared-memory algorithms under the mentorship of Dr. Peter Musial.