DNAImpute wins Rep. Lucy McBath’s 2022 Congressional App Challenge in Georgia’s Sixth District

Rep. Lucy McBath has named Naveed Kabir of Chamblee High School and Anthony de Leon Velasquez of Chamblee High School as the winners of the 2022 Congressional App Challenge in Georgia’s Sixth District.

When asked what inspired the creation of DNAImpute, the students said, ”First, we’ll discuss why we created a DNA imputation algorithm. The sequencing of genomes has helped researchers gain an accurate understanding of the biology of various organisms. However, due to the fragility of DNA, current DNA sequencing methods are not completely accurate and data is prone to be degraded, thus resulting in lost data. Due to these gaps in DNA data, researchers are unable to analyze genomes to their full extent. Some models and tools have been created for DNA imputation that are able to predict what DNA base pairs would be present in these blank spaces. Current methods are however, not entirely accurate and require supplementary data, apart from the raw genome data, to generate accurate predictions. This is why we attempted to create an imputation model using machine learning algorithms that works solely on genome data of the target organisms along with some reference organisms that are closely related to the target.

Although our algorithm worked extremely well (>85% accuracy), we wanted users to be able to visualize the imputations and how they came about. Thus, we created a web app in which users can play through each prediction while viewing pre- and post-sequence data and viewing Levenshtein distances (our metric for DNA sequence similarity). We accomplished this in our interactive web app and were also able to add a sign-in feature, so that users could store their data in their accounts and view reports, logs, and statistics for each imputation.”

The Congressional App Challenge smashed previous participation records in 2022. All told, 9,011 students registered for this year’s competition – creating 2,707 fully-functioning apps for 335 Members of Congress across 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and the District of Columbia. This year’s competition set the record for most student registrations, most apps submitted, most apps per district submitted, and most districts receiving over 20 apps. The wildly successful competition continues to impress upon House Members the importance of computer science education and the need to develop a pipeline of diverse, domestic STEM talent.

The Congressional App Challenge is an official initiative of the U.S. House of Representatives, where Members of Congress host contests in their districts for middle school and high school students, encouraging them to learn to code and inspiring them to pursue careers in computer science. Each participating Member of Congress selects a winning app from their district, and each winning team is invited to showcase their winning app to Congress during our annual #HouseOfCode festival. The program is a public-private partnership made possible through funding from Omidyar Network, AWS, Rise, theCoderSchool, Apple, and others.

The 2023 Congressional App Challenge will launch in June of 2023, and eligible students can pre-register for the competition now.