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For the third straight year the Lafayette trio of Lazar Nikolic, Daniel Swarr, and Guangxi Wang earned the second-highest rating in the annual Mathematical Contest in Modeling, an international competition sponsored by COMAP, the Consortium for Mathematics and its Applications.

In the contest, teams of up to three students researched and submitted an optimal solution for one of two open-ended modeling problems. The 522 participating teams represented 181 U.S. institutions and 101 schools in Australia, Canada, China, Finland, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Lithuania, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. The Lafayette team placed in the top 19 percent of participants.

Nikolic is a senior computer science major from Roswell, Ga.; Swarr is a junior Marquis Scholar double majoring in math and physics from Clifton Park, N.Y.; and Wang is a junior electrical and computer engineering major from Shanghai, China. Advising the team was L. Thomas Hill, associate professor of mathematics.

The problem they solved dealt with wind and water-spray. Solutions to this problem were submitted by 279 teams. The top four teams were rated outstanding and the next 48 teams, including Lafayette, were designated meritorious.

A second Lafayette team, including Farhan Ahmed, a first-year student from Utter Pradesh, India; Alex Balan, a junior computer science major from Bucharest, Romania; and Steve DiMauro, a senior math major from Hatboro, Pa., was designated a “Successful Participant” for its work on a problem concerning airline overbooking.

Wang, Balan and Tim Wetzel, a senior civil engineering major from Selinsgrove, Pa., also placed in the top echelon in the 62nd William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, an annual international contest renowned for its difficulty. Lafayette finished No. 54, placing in the top 12 percent of the 453 participating institutions from the United States and Canada.

In another COMAP-sponsored competition, the Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling, a Lafayette team was among the 44 percent to earn Honorable Mention for work on the ecology and survival prospects of the Florida scrub lizard. Participants were Andrew Colton, a senior math major from Hicksville, N.Y.; Robert McEwen, a first-year student from Morgantown, Pa.; and Nathan Tregger, a junior double major in math and civil engineering from Niantic, Conn.

“I’m pleased with the effort they gave, especially since this was the first time that we sponsored a team in the ICM,” says Hill.

Categorized in: Academic News