COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES Department of Mathematics and Statistics

  (Team Cougars)

Spring 2018 International Math Modeling Competition - Go Cougs!

Two teams of three undergraduate students competed in a 100-hour (4 days and 4 hours) math modeling competition against 15,000 teams world-wide. The competition began at 2:00pm on Thursday, February 8, 2018, and ended at 6:00pm on Monday, February 11, 2018.

Each team chose one of the following six real-world problems to work on:

  1. Analyzing the effect of ocean turbulence on high frequency radio wave transmissions.
  2. Predicting the change in the numbers of native speakers and language speakers (not necessarily native) of the most popular languages over the next 50 years world-wide.
  3. Predicting the type of energy consumption over the next 50 years for the 4 states bordering Mexico.
  4. Developing a model to determine where and how many charging stations should be placed as the percentage of electric cars increases.
  5. Developing a model predicting a country’s vulnerability to violent conflict due to climate change effects.
  6. Developing a price point for different types of individual “privacy” data (e.g. medical records, social media, income).

(Team WSU)

Mimicking real-world time pressure, each team turned in a twenty page report explaining their assumptions, modeling approach, and an explanation of their results to the group that requested the information.

This year WSU was represented by Team Cougar (Paula Kimmerling, Yatin Singla, and Henrik Melse) who chose problem (c), and Team WSU (Richelle Thompson, Max Hart, and Conor O'Kelley-Ault) who chose problem (d).

In spite of being a little overwhelmed initially with all of the available information, both teams successfully pushed through challenges and arrived at very reasonable models for each of their problems. In addition, both teams provided solid recommendations and submitted their reports within the allotted time. They were all glad they participated!

When asked what they thought of the contest, Paula Kimmerling said she would do it again next year if she wasn't graduating. Conor O'Kelley-Ault said “it was like a brain marathon,” and according to math major Richelle Thompson, “going into this competition made me realize how much math is out there that I still don't understand, yet its made me fall even more in love with my major, as well as encouraged me to continue to take higher level math classes so that I can improve my modeling skills.”

If you are interested in competing in the fall 2018 math modeling competition, please contact Lynn Schreyer,, or David Hampson,, prior to Sept. 15th, 2018.

(Team Cougar)

(Team WSU - Richelle Thompson)