COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Join the Spring 2018 Math Modeling Competition!

  • When: February 8-12, 2018
  • Where: WSU Pullman Campus
  • Why: meet new friends, challenge yourself, have a great time!
  • Deadline to join: January 20th, 2018
  • Join by contacting: Dr. Lynn Schreyer Lynn.Schreyer@wsu.edu or David Hampson, dhampson@math.wsu.edu.

About the October 2017 Regional Math Modeling Competition

Three math modeling teams competed in a 24-hour competition at Carroll College in Helena, Montana during the weekend of Oct. 21-22nd, 2017. Each team was given a choice of two problems: (1) Develop an emergency evacuation plan for hikers and backpackers in Glacier National Park in case, e.g. a wildfire, given a finite number of rangers and little to no cell phone coverage, or (2) As a finance manager for a presidential candidate, decide where and how much to best spend the financial resources to recruit voters given four different ways in which the electoral college representatives are selected and how they can vote. Teams were given the problems on Saturday at 10am and were to provide a written summary of their results by 9am on Sunday. Oral presentations from teams began at 10am on Sunday.

WSU was represented by three undergraduate teams that chose team names representing famous mathematical concepts.

Team Harmonic
  • Grant Esomonu
  • Hendrik Melse
  • Conor O’Kelley-Ault
Team Continuum
  • Kevin Allan
  • Simon Petris
  • Michelle Danese
Team Quaternion
  • Mariah Combs
  • Drew Cannon (Math/Physics major)

Most team members didn't know each other when they left Pullman, but after singing songs from the musical Hamilton, playing word games, and enjoying the view of the Rockies on the 5 to 6 hour drive to Helena, Montana, they soon bonded.

After starting the competition the teams spent between 1 and 3 hours deciding which problem to tackle, and it took until Saturday evening before the teams had learned enough about their chosen problem to develop a mathematical modeling approach. Some members tried to sleep a bit, but would come up with an idea, jump up, and be ready to try it out! As Simon Petris said, “I was amazed how fast time passed. Planning your time out is more important than coming up with the most complex solution.”

Besides seeing the Rocky Mountains for the first time, Grant Esomonu summed up his experience as, “The ability to see mathematics in action and apply our knowledge to solve a real-life scenario problem was a truly profound and rewarding experience.” Kevin Allen, the most enthusiastic Broadway musical fan, said the experience was, “a fun and exciting all-night experience where all your math knowledge gets put to the test” (his team tried differential equations, calculus, and finally settled on college-level algebra for their model!). Mariah Combs whose team worked on the presidential election problem said, “it was the ultimate experience of left brain meets right. We got the opportunity to use logical reasoning to apply mathematics to real-world problems while maintaining the creative freedom to approach the problems in whatever way we found enjoyable." The students all thought the experience was rewarding.

If you are interested in joining the Spring 2018 math modeling competition, please contact Lynn Schreyer, Lynn.Schreyer@wsu.edu, or David Hampson, dhampson@math.wsu.edu, before January 20th, 2018.

Team Harmonic:
Team Continuum:
Team Quaternion: