Teams of Walsingham Academy seniors and juniors recently competed in the 2021 MathWorks Math Modeling (M3) Challenge. For this challenge, the students worked during a 14-hour block on Saturday, Feb. 27 trying to devise the best solution to a real-life, open-ended problem.
Using mathematical modeling, as well as other skills and experiences, our student participants worked in their teams to understand and define the problem, gather data and information, document their assumptions, and devise a mathematical model to provide insight about the issues presented in the problem. The teams did not know the problem topic until they logged on for their 14-hour block.
Walsingham's Class of 2021 participants were: David Carter, Jocelyn Covaney, Katie Haines and Lincoln Lubsen. The Class of 2022 team consisted of: Alex Ambrose, Joshua Morris and Julia Wilson. Both teams worked in Upper School classrooms, computer lab and library. Mrs. Zielinski was this year's "coach" but she was only allowed to ensure that the team members were well-nourished and hydrated, and help with any technical computer issues that might arise.
"We are very proud of our Trojans," Mrs. Zielinski said. "They successfully endured the grueling, real-world environment of problem solving under pressure. They achieved significant accomplishments in data analysis, math modeling, executive summary and analytical paper writing, fatigue management and teamwork!"
Teams determined to have the best solution papers receive special recognition in the form of tuition scholarships for college education. Each scholarship is shared equally among the members of a team and is paid directly to the college or university at which winning students enroll. Normally, six M3 Finalist teams and the M3 Technical Computing Scholarship Awardee Teams would be invited to New York City to present their paper, answer questions about their models, and receive their awards. This year, finalist teams will present their solutions to a prestigious panel of judges live on Zoom. To try and make up for not getting to travel to New York, the finalist awards ranges were increased so that the range for this year's competition is $5,000 to $22,500 per team.
Finalist, semi-finalist, honorable mention, and technical computing award teams will be notified on Wednesday, March 24.
A week prior to the competition, the challenge sponsors sent a haiku clue about the 2021 problem topic. It read: "Accessing the world, Speedy versus quality, What capacity?"
Some of our students were thinking "internet" and, lo and behold, when the actual 2021 problem was released, it was called: "Defeating the Digital Divide: Internet Costs, Needs and Optimal Planning.
The teams were challenged to:
- Create a model to predict the cost per unit of bandwidth over the next 10 years for consumers in the Unites States and the United Kingdom.
- Create a flexible model to predict a given household's need for the internet over the course of a year and determine the minimum amount of required bandwidth that would cover a household's needs 90% of the time as compared to 95% of the time.
- Develop a model that produces an optimal plan for distributing/placing cellular nodes in a region.
If you would like to read more about the competition, please visit the website: https://m3challenge.siam.org.