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Arik Sharma, who is a gifted child, was drawn to numbers from a very young age. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News.

Dubai: A 12-year-old Canadian student in Dubai was invited by the prestigious Johns Hopkins University Centre, USA, to join it’s Talented Youth Programme in which he scored an A in his first course on Cryptology.

Arik Sharma, a Grade 7 student at Dubai American Academy (DAA), which identified him as a “gifted child”, recommended him to Johns Hopkins, which held a test before accepting him for its course in Cryptology that uses mathematics in computer algorithms to encrypt and decrypt messages.

Arik, who is of Indian origin, has always shown a great interest in numbers, said his grandfather Madhu Payan Sharma.

Speaking about the Cryptology course, Arik said: “It was an online tutored programme guided by a professor at Johns Hopkins. It was a self-learning programme over 12 weeks, where I got to learn various cryptographic algorithms and applications. I scored an A with 96 per cent... I love maths and science.”

Arik added that he also achieved 99 per cent in MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) tests by John Hopkins held on a quarterly basis within a class group.

Creative pursuits

“I am so blessed to be able to take my dream to an all new level. Having said that, creative pursuits have beckoned me as well.”

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Arik Sharma with grandfather Madhu Payan Sharma, father Neil Sharma, mother Ahilya Patkar Sharma and younger sister Tara Sharma at their residence in Dubai. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News.

Inspired by his grandmother, Arik published a 12-page science fiction book, Quantum Sudoku, when he was 11 years old.

“Quantum Sudoku is about a boy whose father is a physicist. The father disappears and this boy uses Sudoku to find him in an alternative dimension and bring him back to Earth. I made my own Sudoku and puzzles for the story,” Arik said.

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Arik Sharma's book Quantum Soduku is about a boy whose father is a physicist. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Arik’s father Neil said: “My son has a hunger to learn more; he is curious. Even as a child he would ask his grandfather about Maths tables. He would question his grandfather on the importance of tables in our lives. Recently, he went on a school trip to Borneo, Indonesia, to study and learn about life in the jungles. He participated in a project involving restoration of the village’s community centre.”

His mother Ahilya said Arik’s interests also extend to sports, including swimming and golf. “He is part of the Hamilton squad programme for competitive swimming. When it comes to golf, we do it as a family,” she added.

Arik said his “current favourite subject” is history and he is reading about Greek and Roman history.