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Jiayi Peng, 17, of Chappaqua, developed a computer model to study how the brain's information processing is optimized for her Intel Science Talent Search physics and space science project. She investigated short-term plasticity (structural changeability) and how this plasticity changes over time (metaplasticity), contributing to attaining and maintaining optimal brain functions (criticality). She found that short-term plasticity allows the system to attain criticality while long-term metaplasticity helps the system recover from perturbations. Working together, these two time scales of plasticity help the brain self-organize to a critical state. She is first author of a paper published in Physica A on this research. Jiayi believes her work could help others find cures for neuropathologies such as epilepsy and autism. Jiayi is co-president of the Science Olympiad team, editor of the school paper Tribune, a member of various math teams, and she competes on the varsity track team at Horace Greeley High School. She founded and is president of Kits4Kids which raises money to help children, especially girls in rural China, continue their education. A national award-winning pianist, Jiayi is the daughter of Gongwen Peng and Hong Deng.
Learn about more Intel STS 2013 finalists.
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