Lawrence Tech competes in marathon math modeling contest
Friday, March 19th, 2010
Eighteen Lawrence Tech students on six teams signed on for the marathon 96-hour Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM) held Feb. 18-22. This ties the previous all-time high set in 2002. Not even a major snow storm that closed the school on
Friday afternoon during the contest could keep these students from their appointed tasks!
The teams were challenged to model and solve one of two applied
problems: “Baseball Bat Sweet Spot” or “Finding a Serial Killer.” Four teams chose the baseball problem, and two chose the criminology problem.
Intense research, massive teamwork, combined math, computer, physics/chemistry/engineering, and writing skills, produced research papers to compete against the papers from an expected 1,600-plus teams from the United States and a dozen other countries. Last year, three-fourths of the papers were submitted from China.
The results will be announced in mid-April, and the Lawrence Tech students will give presentations of their work in April.
Rich Geyer and John Camardese (fourth-year MCM competitor) along with Stephanie Shevenock, working on the Criminology problem, took up residence in S115 where the food was housed.
Paul Downen and Matt Lanting (second year) along with Steve Sciacchitano, working on the Baseball problem, disappeared into Matt’s dorm room for the weekend.
Kevin Meligan and Anna Vantsevitch (second year), along with Todd Wilmore, holed up on the third floor of the Science Building, coming down when there was a need for food.
Ryan Hollingsworth (second year), Jamie MacLennan, and Levi Dojcsak worked on the baseball problem. They also took over a third-floor room. (We detect some Chem majors on these teams.)
Stacy Kaiser, Sotatsu Mitsuboshi, and Mike Skupny worked on the baseball problem. They also worked in S115, where Stacy was the keeper of the coffee.
Tim Clinesmith, Lei Cui, and Mike Eberlein, working on the criminology problem, also migrated up to the Science Building’s third floor for a while.
The key to rising to higher levels in the judging of the research paper is GOOD WRITING, with clear organization throughout, from the executive summary on page 1 to the conclusion at the end. Each year we stress the importance of writing and editing.
The students’ majors range through mathematics, computer science, physics, chemistry, computer engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering, many combined with math minors or majors. This is truly an interdisciplinary group, which may be a reason why Lawrence Tech teams have traditionally done so well.
The LTU Math Club, the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science and the Department of Natural Sciences sponsored the contest. Principal faculty advisors were Professor Ruth Favro and Assistant Professor Guang-Chong Zhu. Associate Professor Chris Cartwright and Assistant Professor Valentina Tobos also helped.
Many thanks go to everyone who helps coordinate this production, including the Arts and Sciences dean’s office for those great cookies, New York Bagel for umpteen bagels, and Lawrence Tech security for weekend help with rooms.
- Ruth Favro