Mathematical
Contest in
Modeling 200304
Cornell teams' results in MCM 2004 (04/01/2004)
Four teams were formed to represent Cornell at
MCM 2004 based on
the list of winners in CMCM 2003. One of the teams submitted
a solution recognized as Meritorious and two others received an
Honorable Mention. (The "Advisor" information below is only formal
since all the teams were preparing for the contest together and
included members from various departments; the team numbers also
refer to the official COMAP registration.)
We congratulate all the participants and hope to see them again in CMCM 2004!
Results of CMCM 2003 (11/21/2003)
This contest was cosponsored by the
Department of Mathematics
and by the
School of Operations Research and Industrial Engineering.
Additional prize funds were contributed by the
Cornell Store.
A total of 11 teams have registered to participate;
8 of them have turned in their solutions;
(6 of them have greatly improved museum security and
2 have investigated the net effect of negative election campaigns).
The solutions were carefully evaluated by 4 judges:

Eric Friedman (School of Operations Research and Industrial Engineering)

Xin Guo (School of Operations Research and Industrial Engineering)

Steven Strogatz (Dept. of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics)

Beverly West (Dept. of Mathematics)
The judges have designated the following winners:

The First Place
($150 in Cornell store gift certificates):

Lars Backstrom, Jonathan Goldstein, Stephen Lesko
"The Benefits of Greed: A Solution to the Museum Security Problem"

A tie for the Second/Third Place
(2 * $99 in Cornell store gift certificates):

Jacob GodwinJones, Punit Gandhi, Matthew Herndon
"A mathematical model for the election process"
AND

Michelle Fullwood, Daniel Montiel, Jules Paulynice
"Surveillance cameras in art museums"
In addition, an honorable mention
and a special "debutant" prize ($45 in Cornell store gift certificates) goes to the only team comprised entirely of the firstyear students:

Christopher Yeung, Ramin Farhangi, Timothy Wong
"Museum Security"
The prizes will be available for pick up at Math Dept. office
(310 Malott Hall) on Tuesday, 11/25/03.
(A teammember can pick up prizes for the entire team;
please have a picture ID with you.)
Finally, we note that the other teams (not listed above) have also
submitted good solutions, using a variety of promising mathematical
approaches. What distinguished the winning papers was the completeness
of their models (justified assumptions, a manageable number of parameters,
an algorithmic implementation)
and clarity of exposition.
We certainly enjoyed preparing and conducting this contest;
we hope that you had fun participating in it!
Hope to see you in the CMCM 2004!
The organizers
/
Alex Vladimirsky,
Rodrigo Perez,
Irina Mitrea/.
Short instructions for the CMCM participants:

If you have not done so yet, please email the list of your teammembers to
vlad@math.cornell.edu
as soon as possible.
(Each team is composed of
up to 3 undergraduate students.)

Decide which one of these problems your team will be working on:

Spend the weekend conducting research, building model(s),
and writing up your solution(s).
All published materials, internet resources, and software are fair game 
but don't forget to attribute whenever appropriate.
You cannot discuss your work with anyone besides your teammates.

Turn in 3 copies
of your paper to 310 Malott Hall by 10am on Monday (11/17/03).

Don't forget to have fun in the process!
Good luck!
Timeline:
 Nov 6, 2003:
Information/training session; 57pm, 253 Malott Hall.
 Nov 12, 2003:
Information/training session; 57pm, 253 Malott Hall.
 Nov 14, 2003:
Cornell MCM starts at 6pm.
Two problems to choose from are listed above.
 Nov 17, 2003:
Cornell MCM ends at 9:30am. Solutions are due in 310 Malott by 10am.
 Nov 21, 2003:
The conclusion of CMCM  winners announced, prizes awarded,
general festivities.
 Feb 59, 2004:
The winners of CMCM 2003 represent Cornell at the international MCM 2004.
Cornell MCM Pages for the previous years :
2002.
Short summary:
MCM is an international competition, in which a team
of three undergraduates chooses one of two openended
("realworld") problems, builds a mathematical model,
obtains a solution based on it, and writes a detailed paper
(proving the feasibility of the team's model and solution) 
all this in the space of less than 4 days!
You can:
brainstorm with your two teammates, use any reference materials
either printed or on the web, write your own software or
utilize publicly available to validate your model.
You cannot:
consult with anyone besides your teammates, submit your
solutions after the deadline, or remain bored in the process.
Get a glimpse of what Applied Mathematicians might do outside of Academia!
The problems are taken from all fields of science, engineering, and industry.
Recent problems included:
 estimating the maximum "safe" number of people for a given type of public facilities;
 studying hunting strategies for velociraptor dinosaurs based on fossil data;
 comparing various grading policies for fighting the "grade inflation";
 providing the guidelines for selecting the design of bicycle wheels to optimize
the performance on a given track;
 considering the effects of different airline overbooking
strategies on the overall profitability.
Consider:
 MCM is not so much about what you already know ,
but more about what you can learn quickly in the new application area.
 MCM is an international contest: last year 638 teams participated
representing 265 institutions from 9 countries.
 We are hoping to have two to four teams representing Cornell
in 2004 (February 59, 2004).
 Several preparation sessions will be held for the potential
participants.
Interested, puzzled, or simply curious?
Send your questions to
Alex Vladimirsky
(vlad@math.cornell.edu),
Rodrigo Perez
(rperez@math.cornell.edu),
Irina Mitrea
(imitrea@math.cornell.edu),
and/or come to one of the preparation sessions.
Relevant Links:

Organized by:

Consortium for Mathematics and its Applications (COMAP).

Sponsored by:

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS),

Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM),

Mathematical Association of America (MAA).
 Some other MCM pages :

University of Colorado at Boulder,

University of Puget Sound,

University of Washington,

Eastern Oregon University,

Grinnell College.