During the summer of 2016, we had a high school student intern with us. He knew some Java from the Computer Science AP course but was very interested in using machine learning to predict health outcomes. We were skeptical at first – the prospect of teaching a teenager (even a very smart one) the fundamentals of ML, along with a new programming language and then have him apply it to a real data set … and all in the span of a summer internship seemed like an Herculean task. But seeing how keen he was, we decided to take him on.
Sushant Thyagaraj (that was his name) proved us wrong! He learned R within the first week, following that quickly with various ML algorithms through tutorials and sample exercises. He researched various publicly available data sets that might be suitable for his work, went through several iterations with a couple of the data sets before finally settling on predicting survival for lung cancer patients after thoracic surgery.
He continued fine tuning his results and wrote a full paper detailing his work (I should add that this last was done after school began). We are pleased to present his paper: Using Machine Learning to Predict the Post-Operative Life Expectancy of Lung Cancer Patients