C of I math students receive highest honor in international competition
2008. 04. 17.
CALDWELL College of Idaho students Ben Coate, Tyler Gross and Megan Longo received the highest honor in an intense four-day international math competition sponsored by COMAP, the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications.
Coate, a junior math major, Gross, a senior math/physics major and Longo, a senior math/physics and chemistry major, competed against 1,162 other teams in the Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM). The C of I and eight others were awarded Outstanding designations.
Only 1 percent of teams who enter the MCM are awarded Outstanding designations. The C of I team won the additional distinction of being one of two INFORMS prize recipients. In the past three years, winners of this award have included teams from Harvard, Princeton, Duke and MIT.
We knew we had a good paper and we were hoping that we would get Meritorious (the category below Outstanding), Gross said. This was beyond our expectations.
The other Outstanding teams were from Duke University, Harvard University, Harvey Mudd College, University Alaska Fairbanks, University of Buffalo, University of Delaware and Youngstown State University.
The competition started Thursday, Feb. 14 at 6 p.m. and ended Monday, Feb. 18 at 6 p.m. and it meant several late nights for The C of I team.
Ben did not get much sleep during the competition, Longo said. He needed about a case of Mountain Dew.
The students have worked together on several projects at the College and often study and do homework together. For this competition, the team had to model how the melting of the north polar ice cap due to the predicted increase in global temperatures will affect the coast of Florida over the next 50 years.
This was a very good team with a diverse mathematics, chemistry and physics background, Coate said.
Associate professor Mike Hitchman, who served as the advisor for this project said he was thrilled with the result.
Judging from the covered chalkboards in the math lounge and all the soda cans strewn about when I went in to collect their paper, they worked tremendously hard on this and carried on The C of I's tradition of enthusiastic participation in this competition, Hitchman said. That they won such distinction for their paper against such stiff competition is a remarkable achievement.
Two previous C of I team have won Meritorious in this competition, but no team has ever won Outstanding.
Coate said The C of I math and physical science department deserves recognition for this award as well as the team.
They have been extremely supportive of all of our mathematical endeavors, acting as mentors and advisors for competitions like COMAP, Coate said. We appreciate their help and encouragement.