The annual Mathematical Contest in Modeling took place earlier this spring with more than 10,600 teams worldwide competing, and the Colorado College team comprised of Sohair Abdullah ’19, Nick Crews ’18, and Jack Schrott ’19 was one of two CC teams to receive an honorable mention.
Students may choose one of three open-ended modeling problems, and have four days to work on a solution in teams of up to three students. Abdullah, Crews, and Schrott, coached by Associate Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science Andrea Bruder, chose Problem A, which involved high frequency radio transmissions that exhibit multiple hopping behavior due to surface and atmospheric conditions.
“Teams were asked to identify variables and construct a mathematical model to determine the maximum number of hops a transmission could make before the signal dropped below a maximum usable frequency over a calm ocean, a turbulent ocean, and rugged terrain,” says Bruder.
“These are open-ended problems that do not have one single ‘right answer.’ There's a lot of room for creativity and outside-the-box approaches,” says Bruder. “The teams had to take lots of material and make sense of it to become experts on their topics within hours. Then they made certain simplifying model assumptions to come up with a mathematical description of the problem, also known as the model, which allowed them to draw conclusions about the original problem.”