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Week of: Apr 09, 2017

ERE Students Top Winners in Math Modeling Contest Environmental Resources Engineering

ERE Students Top Winners in Math Modeling Contest

For the last 16 years, student teams from the HSU Environmental Resources Engineering (ERE) department have participated in a four day long math modeling competition. The competition consists of the Mathematical Modeling Contest (MCM) and Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling (ICM) sponsored by the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications (COMAP). Competing against nearly 17,000 teams from thousands of universities, each team produced a report summarizing their solution to one of six possible problems.

In the MCM, the team consisting of Isabel Contreras, Josiah Norton, and Richard Williams selected a problem that required assessing the impact of self-driving vehicles on the dense traffic network of Seattle. Data were provided that was used to construct a mathematical model of traffic flow to predict how the percentage of self-driving vehicles would impact the flow. The team’s report was awarded the score of Honorable Mention. Only 8 percent of the 8,843 teams competing in the MCM were awarded a higher score and 4,617 teams scored lower.

The team consisting of Ahron Cervania, Jillian Freiheit, and Lorenzo Pagano selected a problem that required they build a mathematical model to determine an effective strategy for replacing an aging dam in the Kariba Gorge of the Zambezi river basin between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Ahron, Jillian and Lorenzo received a ranking of Meritorious Winners, awarded to only 7 percent of the teams in the MCM, and only 36 of the 8,843 teams received a higher score.

Four ERE teams selected problems associated with the ICM. The team consisting of Rebecca Stark, Alyssa Virgil, and Zack Ramsey worked on a problem requiring the design of methods to optimize passenger movement through airport security. The solutions sought to move passengers through security quickly without compromising the safety of the airport and other air travelers. The team’s report was awarded the score of Honorable Mention, with only 11 percent of the 8,085 teams competing in the ICM receiving a higher score and 4,307 teams scoring lower.

The remaining three teams worked on a problem requiring a model to evaluate urban planning and city operational strategies that result in smart growth and sustainable cities. The team consisting of Malia Gonzales, Peter Duin, and Brent Davis, and the team consisting of Emily Klee, Jeffrey Mosbacher, and Jordan Ludtke were both awarded the score of Honorable Mention.

The team of Yaad Rana, Marcela Jimenez, and Joshua Martinez received the highest ranking possible, Outstanding Winner. This ranking was awarded to only 14 teams out of the 8,085 teams competing in the ICM. Yaad, Marcela, and Joshua also received two additional honors. Their submission was selected to receive the Rachel Carson award, which honors the American conservationist whose book “Silent Spring” initiated the global environmental movement and whose work spanned many disciplines concerned with the local and global environments. This award is presented to a team for excellence in using scientific theory and data in its modeling. Finally, the team was one of only two teams that was given the Two Sigma Scholarship Award, which provides a stipend of $3,000 for each of the three team members and a $1,000 award to the ERE department.

Congratulations to the members of all six teams for their high achievement in this event. We appreciate your efforts which bring recognition to the Environmental Resources Engineering Department and to Humboldt State University.

The official COMAP announcement on the results from the 2017 competition can be found at “”:

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