Simpson leads US in math modeling for 12th consecutive year

Each team has 96 hours to select and solve a math problem that occurs in the real world.
Each team has 96 hours to select and solve a math problem that occurs in the real world. | File photo
Simpson College is leading the annual participation in the Mathematical and Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling (MCM/ICM) for the 12th year in a row with its 24 teams.

In addition to its 24 teams, Simpson is the only university or college in Iowa that has four meritorious winners. Simpson also has 11 successful participant teams as well as nine honorable mention teams.

“This competition challenges a team of students to propose solutions to open ended real world problems,” Rick Spellerberg, professor of mathematics at Simpson College, said. “The competition is designed to develop and advance problem solving skills as well as competence in written communication.”

For the competition, the teams comprise three students. Each has 96 hours to select and solve a math problem that occurs in the real world. Examples are how is Ebola spread or the shortage and potential sustainability of water supplies.

“These problems don’t appear to have a large math component, but it just takes a different way of looking at them to find out that they really do,” junior Maggi Long, a two-year participant in the competition, said.

The college sees the competition as one of the best ways to implement the students’ classroom knowledge to real world situations.

“We have found potential employers and graduate programs truly value this experience,” Spellerberg said. “This fact provides our students a serious competitive edge when it comes to landing internships, full-time employment and acceptance to graduate school.”

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