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Students earned honorable mention this year at two international competitions sponsored by Consortium for Mathematics and its Applications.

The Mathematical Contest in Modeling and Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling encourage the use of mathematics to solve real-world problems. In competition, groups of up to three students research and submit an optimal solution for one of two open-ended modeling problems. A total of 638 teams from Australia, Canada, China, Finland, Indonesia, Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States participated this year.

Thomas Hill, associate professor mathematics, advised both Lafayette teams.

The fifth annual Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling is designed to develop and advance interdisciplinary problem-solving skills as well as competence in written communication. For this competition, Nathan Tregger ’03 (Niantic, Conn.), who graduated cum laude last month with honors in civil engineering and a second degree in mathematics, worked with computer science and mathematics double majors Prince Chidyagwai ’05 (Marondera, Zimbabwe) and Robert McEwen ’05 (Morgantown, Pa.). They tackled a problem that required the use of performance and reliability data on baggage screening systems to determine how many screening devices airports would need to meet new Transportation Security Administration requirements and airline schedules.

Electrical and computer engineering and mathematics-economics major Farhan Ahmed ’05 (Utter Pradesh, India) and electrical and computer engineering and mathematics major Usman Khan ’05 (Karachi, Pakistan) teamed up with computer science major Mayank Lahiri ’05 (Muscat, Oman) for the 19th annual Mathematical Contest in Modeling. They solved the fictitious plight of a stunt coordinator who needed to determine how many stacked boxes would provide a safe landing for a motorcycle rider hurdling an elephant.

Last year, Tregger and McEwen were key members of a team that earned honorable mention at the Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling for work on the ecology and survival prospects of the Florida scrub lizard.

Categorized in: Academic News