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CC Team in Top 8 Percent in International Math Contest

Thomas Braine ’16, Ellen Smith ’16, Hanbo Shao ’18 Garner Award

A paper by a team of three Colorado College students entered in the Mathematical Contest in Modeling received one of the top designations. The solution paper by Ellen Smith ’16, Hanbo Shao ’18, and Thomas Braine ’16 garnered a Meritorious Winning designation, putting their paper in the top 8 percent of 7,421 submitted solutions worldwide.

Smith, Shao, and Braine researched, modeled, and submitted a solution to one of three modeling problems. The question they selected posed a subtly complicated problem involving a person faced with the dilemma of taking a bath in a standard tub in which the water temperature is cooling and gradually becoming uncomfortable. Teams were challenged to model this situation in both time and space in order to identify an effective strategy under which a person should add heated water to raise the temperature back to near starting levels while minimizing the overall use of water. The combination of thermodynamic heat transfer in discretized space involving a human body, dynamic evolution and distribution of temperature and human motion over time, and optimizing water resource use strategy proved to be substantial for all teams.

Smith, a geology major from Dallas, Texas, will be working with the USGS this summer. Her final placement hasn’t yet been determined, but one possibility is conducting seismic data research in Ecuador, following the recent earthquake. After that, she hopes to teach.

Shao, from Hangzhou, China, is a math major. Following graduation he hopes to conduct math or operations research.

Braine, from New York City, is a physics major. He plans to work as a math and physics tutor in Denver this coming year while applying to graduate school in physics. 

The 2016 CC team was advised by Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science Andrea Bruder, who also advised the 2013 and 2015 teams. “I couldn’t be prouder of their achievement. Colorado College teams entering the contest have been wildly successful in recent years,” Bruder says, noting that the school has had three Outstanding Winning teams (1987, 2013, 2015), one Finalist Winning team (2014), and three Meritorious Winning teams (2011, 2014, 2016).

This year 13 countries were represented in the contest. In addition to the United States, teams from Australia, Canada, China, Finland, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Mexico, Scotland, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, and the United Kingdom participated.

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