Students imagine dragons, place in international mathematical modeling competition

Six Oglethorpe students recently competed in the annual Mathematical Contest in Modeling, an international competition held by COMAP (Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications) for college undergraduates and high school students.

Teams of students are challenged to clarify, analyze, and propose solutions to open-ended complex problems in this contest “where research, analytics and applied intelligence reign along with less-quantifiable factors like timing and luck.”  Participants submitted solutions in the form of a 30-page paper written over one intense weekend.

More than 14,100 teams from 17 countries competed, with only two percent of the teams from the United States.

Chelsea Russell, Rebecca Bryant, and Kaebron Aschalew achieved a “Successful Participation” designation, earned by only 68% of the teams.

Mason Rodericks, Mufaro Guza, and Caleb Orji were awarded “Honorable Mention”, earned by only 16% of the teams, placing them among the top 25%.

The Oglethorpe teams tackled an interesting problem:

Consider the ecological ramifications of fiction coming to life by posing a world in which dragons exist on the Earth. What characteristics would they have? How would they behave? What and how much would they eat? Does it matter where they live?

“These were just a few of the many aspects teams had to model and analyze to understand and communicate the impact of these fictional creatures living and thriving among humans,” according to COMAP. “Time dynamics were implicit in this problem, which increased the mathematical challenges that teams faced.”

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