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Get with the Program

Ydunate Rekindles His Passion for Coding with His Biggest Project Yet
Get+with+the+Program
Dan Zalazar-Ramirez

Among the student population, there were some students that indulged in obscure hobbies. Having done these hobbies for years allowed some of these students to do extraordinary things. Zach Ydunate (12) was one of these students and took his love for coding and made something remarkable, artificial intelligence.

“I have always been into coding and I want to pursue being a software engineer,” Ydunate said. “I want to get some coding projects under my belt and just start doing basic building stuff. I’ve been coding for the past six, seven years and I want to take the challenge up.”

Ydunate got his idea of AI from one of his favorite movies.

“I would say the AI came from inspiration because during the summer, I watched a childhood movie of mine, “Ironman,’” Ydunate said. “It’s one of my favorite movies. The Ironman suits, I’ve always liked how the technology is and I was like, ‘Jarvis is really cool.’ Jarvis has always been interesting to me, so I wanted to make my own version. I just pulled up ‘Python’ and basically just coded an entire thing like Jarvis. That’s kind of how it started off.”

Although Ydunate liked the idea, he was slightly hesitant when it came to executing his project.

“It took three days to think, ‘Do I want to do it?’ because, I don’t want to back down or anything. If I’m going to do it, then I’m going to do it. I have to go the full way,” Ydunate said.

Once Ydunate decided to commit to this project, he spent day and night working to make this dream a reality.

“It took me 28 days to do. At first I was just going to make it a question and answer type AI. I used something called API keys that were used to build ChatGPT, so I was able to kind of replicate some of those keys,” Ydunate said. “I was able to use that, run it in the code and then once you put a response in, it would take answers from the internet and it would give you an automatic response. My AI can solve math problems, it can write essays, it can organize and more.”

Ydunate slowly took his coding to the next level, evolving his AI over time.

“It has its own voice, so it doesn’t just come through on the chat screen,” Ydunate said. “I just looked up an AI voice downloader and I was able to put the code in, so when text comes up, speech comes out.”

Although Ydunate had put a lot of effort into this project, it still was not enough for him.

“That was the first thing and that alone took me two weeks. The first two weeks I had the rough draft down, but then I felt like I could do better with it,” Ydunate said. “I wanted to really challenge myself, so what I did was give it voice recognition.”

The production process was not just about coding, it was about patience and persistence.

If you have an interest in it, don’t wait, just do it.

— Zach Ydunate

“Another thing is that a lot of problem solving and a lot of brainstorming went into it. The amount of errors I had was absolutely countless. I had to do a lot of trial and error, and I kept on doing it as best as I could because I didn’t want to give up,” Ydunate said. “I’m not going to back down because I’ve done other coding projects in the past where I’ve been working on it for two weeks and then I get busy with something else and I just don’t get back to it, but because it was the summertime and it was early June, I was like, ‘you know what? I’ll just do it’.”

Ydunate worked tirelessly whenever he could to complete his AI, even at late hours of the evening.

“I was very busy during the summer. A lot of the times when I’d be working on it, it’d be late at night. I spent so much time on it,” Ydunate said. “I tell people about it sometimes and they’re just like ‘How did you do it?’”

Ydunate did it when he started coding in middle school.

“I know how to code, but the coding I was doing was different because when I first started, I was in middle school. There was a club called ‘Computer Programming Club”. There’s a software, it’s called Scratch,” Ydunate said. “It was meant for younger people, but I was using it and I was really into it. I have been coding ever since then.”

Ydunate found an interest in coding from the beginning and he was a natural at it.

After a hiatus from his coding passion, Ydunate decided he wanted to pick back up with a big project, and took pride in the finished product.

“This AI was honestly a comeback project. I’m proud of it. Some future thing I’m trying to build right now is my own security camera for my house,” Ydunate said. “I feel like coding is going to be something that is going to become big. If you have an interest in it, don’t wait, just do it.”

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About the Contributor
Dan Zalazar-Ramirez
Dan Zalazar-Ramirez, Photo Editor
Daniel Zalazar-Ramirez, a senior, has been in The Blaze yearbook since 2021. Zalazar-Ramirez was looking for something new, and The Blaze piqued his interest. He found an interest in journalism and photography and has been pursuing that interest ever since.  Zalazar-Ramirez is a photo editor for The Blaze. He is in charge of selecting the photo of the week and setting up equipment for the staff to use for coverage of events. In his free time he enjoys working out, playing video games, photography and hanging out with friends. “The best thing about being on staff is making new friends and getting close with each other. It’s like a second family,” Zalazar-Ramirez said.
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