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‘I, Robot’ fans take school science prize

A pair of high school students inspired by the science fiction movie “I, Robot” and another who studied star formation took home $100,000 grand prizes Monday in a competition honoring the nation’s top math and science students.

The Siemens Competition announced the winners of its college scholarships during a ceremony at George Washington University.

Benjamin Clark, 15, of Lancaster, Pa., won the top individual prize for his research on binary stars, which, unlike the sun, have companions. He plans to major in physics or astrophysics.

Akash Krishnan and Matthew Fernandez of Portland, Ore., won the team prize for their work on speech-recognition technology. They developed a computer algorithm that can detect a speaker’s emotion better than current technology and will split the $100,000 team prize.

Akash, 16, and Matthew, 17, watched “I, Robot,” while taking a break from trying to come up with a project idea. The movie featured a robot that could detect when its user was stressed, and they decided to try to improve on the existing technology.

FLORIDA

Transient charged in town’s 1st slaying

CELEBRATION | A homeless man was charged Monday with beating and strangling a man in what was the first homicide in Celebration, Disney’s master-planned Central Florida community.

Osceola County sheriff’s spokeswoman Twis H. Lizasuain said detectives arrested David-Israel Murillo, 28, and charged him with first-degree murder in the death of Matteo Giovanditto, 58, who was slain in his home over Thanksgiving weekend.

She said Mr. Murillo and Mr. Giovanditto had known each other for about a year but would not give specifics about their relationship.

Ms. Lizasuain said Mr. Murillo was identified as a person of interest because his photo was found on Mr. Giovanditto’s computer and his fingerprints were found in the man’s condo. He was brought in for questioning Saturday after investigators found out he tried to sell coins owned by the victim.

MARYLAND

PG executive fires several agency heads

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker has fired the heads of several county agencies, including the police and fire chiefs.

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