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100-hour International Math Modeling Competition

Two student undergraduate teams, Team Dodgen and Team WSU, represented WSU in a 100-hour math modeling competition that spanned four days and four hours. The teams were competing with over 26,000 other teams from around the world to solve one of six given problems. Both teams chose the same problem - to develop a financially efficient way to incorporate drones in wildfire fighting. From the start of the competition it was clear that the students enjoyed working together.

Members of Team Dodgen
Team Dodgen. Above, left to right: Barret Floyd, Martin Bekk, and Meghna Dutta.

Team Dodgen (named after the WSU Nuclear Science Center), consisted of Meghna Dutta, a.k.a. "Hacker Woman" (computer science), Bekk Martin, a.k.a. "Smokey" (economics), and J. Barret Floyd a.k.a. "Intarray", or Int[[ for short (chemical engineering). Eager for the competition, they started their team off by doing pushups every 34 minutes. Team member Megna confirmed that Bekk and Barret did over 200 pushups on the second day of the competition. A little punch drunk toward the end when discussing deaths and property destroyed by wildfire, they realized they'd written in their report, “These tragic occurrences need to be minimalized.” Fortunately they caught their error and changed “minimalized” to “minimized!” Team Dodgen members developed a strong bond and were saddened that two of their team members will be leaving WSU next year.

Tired team members of Team WSU
Above, Team WSU members Wendy Yu and William Frantz.

Team WSU, consisted of Wendy Yu (chemical engineering), Rebecca Hsieh (bioengineering), and William Frantz (bioengineering). This was the third competition for Wendy and Rebecca and they felt it was by far their most sophisticated model. They developed a data driven model using statistical regression to predict the frequency and size of fires followed by a sensitivity analysis. For their hard work Team WSU finished higher than any previous WSU team in the past five years. The team received a meritorious rating which meant they ranked in the top 9 percent of the 3,100 world-wide teams who chose to solve the same problem.

Members of Team Dodgen
Team Dodgen. Above, left to right: Barret Floyd, Martin Bekk, and Meghna Dutta, holding up their final report before submitting it.

Each team came up with a projected wildfire budget of 20-22 million during their problem solving. Interestingly, this happens to be only a small percentage of the actual amount Australia (in particular Victoria) spent on its 2019 wildfire fighting efforts.

Congratulations to both teams for representing WSU so well. Special thanks to Associate Professor Lynn Shreyer who serves as the advisor to our math competition teams.

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