LTU students compete in international math competition

Release Date: March 2, 2015
Mathematical Contest in Modeling

LTU students competing in the Mathematical Contest in Modeling are (L-R in the back row) Dave Inwald, Tyler Pleasant, Bob Gandolfo, Eric Beyer, Mark Kenney, and Mohit Bansil. In the front are Jose Rodrigo Sanchez-Vicarte, Mitzi Cruz, and Kristin Jordan.

Nine LTU students on three teams hunkered down in the Science Building Feb. 5-9 to compete in the 96-hour international Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM).

Each year the teams have a choice of two open-ended applied problems to solve, using mathematics, computer science, various sciences, and writing skills.

This year Problem A involved modeling a realistic strategy to eradicate Ebola, given a new medication, and including vaccine development and distribution and other factors. Problem B involved modeling a useful search for an airplane lost in an ocean, assuming no signals generated, and taking into account different types of search planes and sensors.

“The students put in enormous amounts of time and effort, and some excellent teamwork, to produce a research paper on a challenging problem, working to the last minute to polish the result,” said Ruth Favro, professor emerita in LTU’s Department of Mathematics and Computer Science who has coached the LTU teams for many years. “Four days is a short time to research a problem, model and solve it, validate the model, and write a paper, plus keep your class and work commitments.”

The three LTU teams consisted of Eric Beyer, Bob Gandolfo, and Tyler Pleasant; David Inwald, Jose Rodrigo Sanchez-Vicarte, and Mark Kenney; and Mitzi Cruz, Kristin Jordan, and Mohit Bansil.

This year’s competitors include two high school students taking courses at LTU. Pleasant is a senior at Harrison High School, and Bansil is a junior at North Farmington High School.

Two competitors are student athletes. Jordan is on the women’s varsity soccer team, and Cruz is on the junior varsity volleyball team.

The seven LTU students are majoring in computer engineering, robotics engineering, mechanical engineering, and mathematics.

The results will be announced at the end of April. The participating teams will be ranked as Successful Participant, Honorable Mention, Meritorious, Finalist, or Outstanding. Last year over 6,700 teams participated from the U. S., China, and 12 other countries.

“In past years we’ve found that the key to rising to higher levels in the judging of the research paper is good writing and editing, with clear organization throughout, from executive summary on page 1 to the conclusion at the end,” Favro said.

Details about the competition can be found at


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