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2006 Contest

A total of 990 teams registered for the 2006 Mathematical Contest in Modeling. Each team had to chose one of three problems (Problem A, B, or C) which they would attempt to solve during the first weekend of February (which happened to coincide with the Super Bowl this year!). Teams from all over the world competed in this contest.

A total of 972 teams successfully completed the contest earning the following possible designations (from highest to lowest): Outstanding, Meritorious, Honorable Mention, Successful Participant. All of the competing teams are to be congratulated for their excellent work and enthusiasm for scientific and mathematical modeling and interdisciplinary problem solving.

Problems A and B constitute the MCM (Mathematical Contest in Modeling) and Problem C constitutes the Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling (ICM). Below are the statistics for the MCM and ICM.

Team Epsilon - MCM Problem A Honorable Mention

  • John Burton, Senior - Math
  • Zach Johnson, Junior - Math
  • Lindsay Robson, Senior - Math

Team Delta - ICM Problem C Successful Participant

  • Thomas Fields, Senior - Math & Physics
  • Brian Meckstroth, Senior - CS w/ Math Minor
  • Michael Souza, Freshman - CS

Advisor

  • Dr. M. Leigh Lunsford

 

The Problems

PROBLEM A: Positioning and Moving Sprinkler Systems for Irrigation

There are a wide variety of techniques available for irrigating a field. The technologies range from advanced drip systems to periodic flooding. One of the systems that is used on smaller ranches is the use of "hand move" irrigation systems. Lightweight aluminum pipes with sprinkler heads are put in place across fields, and they are moved by hand at periodic intervals to insure that the whole field receives an adequate amount of water. This type of irrigation system is cheaper and easier to maintain than other systems. It is also flexible, allowing for use on a wide variety of fields and crops. The disadvantage is that it requires a great deal of time and effort to move and set up the equipment at regular intervals.

Given that this type of irrigation system is to be used, how can it be configured to minimize the amount of time required to irrigate a field that is 80 meters by 30 meters? For this task you are asked to find an algorithm to determine how to irrigate the rectangular field that minimizes the amount of time required by a rancher to maintain the irrigation system. One pipe set is used in the field. You should determine the number of sprinklers and the spacing between sprinklers, and you should find a schedule to move the pipes, including where to move them.

A pipe set consists of a number of pipes that can be connected together in a straight line. Each pipe has a 10 cm inner diameter with rotating spray nozzles that have a 0.6 cm inner diameter. When put together the resulting pipe is 20 meters long. At the water source, the pressure is 420 Kilo- Pascal's and has a flow rate of 150 liters per minute. No part of the field should receive more than 0.75 cm per hour of water, and each part of the field should receive at least 2 centimeters of water every 4 days. The total amount of water should be applied as uniformly as possible

PROBLEM B: Wheel Chair Access at Airports

One of the frustrations with air travel is the need to fly through multiple airports, and each stop generally requires each traveler to change to a different airplane. This can be especially difficult for people who are not able to easily walk to a different flight's waiting area. One of the ways that an airline can make the transition easier is to provide a wheel chair and an escort to those people who ask for help. It is generally known well in advance which passengers require help, but it is not uncommon to receive notice when a passenger first registers at the airport. In rare instances an airline may not receive notice from a passenger until just prior to landing.

Airlines are under constant pressure to keep their costs down. Wheel chairs wear out and are expensive and require maintenance. There is also a cost for making the escorts available. Moreover, wheel chairs and their escorts must be constantly moved around the airport so that they are available to people when their flight lands. In some large airports the time required to move across the airport is nontrivial. The wheel chairs must be stored somewhere, but space is expensive and severely limited in an airport terminal. Also, wheel chairs left in high traffic areas represent a liability risk as people try to move around them. Finally, one of the biggest costs is the cost of holding a plane if someone must wait for an escort and becomes late for their flight. The latter cost is especially troubling because it can affect the airline's average flight delay which can lead to fewer ticket sales as potential customers may choose to avoid an airline.

Epsilon Airlines has decided to ask a third party to help them obtain a detailed analysis of the issues and costs of keeping and maintaining wheel chairs and escorts available for passengers. The airline needs to find a way to schedule the movement of wheel chairs throughout each day in a cost effective way. They also need to find and define the costs for budget planning in both the short and long term.

Epsilon Airlines has asked your consultant group to put together a bid to help them solve their problem. Your bid should include an overview and analysis of the situation to help them decide if you fully understand their problem. They require a detailed description of an algorithm that you would like to implement which can determine where the escorts and wheel chairs should be and how they should move throughout each day. The goal is to keep the total costs as low as possible. Your bid is one of many that the airline will consider. You must make a strong case as to why your solution is the best and show that it will be able to handle a wide range of airports under a variety of circumstances.

Your bid should also include examples of how the algorithm would work for a large (at least 4 concourses), a medium (at least two concourses), and a small airport (one concourse) under high and low traffic loads. You should determine all potential costs and balance their respective weights. Finally, as populations begin to include a higher percentage of older people who have more time to travel but may require more aid, your report should include projections of potential costs and needs in the future with recommendations to meet future needs.
2006 ICM Problem

PROBLEM C: Trade-offs in the fight against HIV/AIDS

Trade-offs in the fight against HIV/AIDS (pdf)

 
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Overall Results

A total of 990 teams registered for the 2006 Mathematical Contest in Modeling. Each team had to chose one of three problems (Problem A, B, or C) which they would attempt to solve during the first weekend of February (which happened to coincide with the Super Bowl this year!). Teams from all over the world competed in this contest. A total of 972 teams successfully completed the contest earning the following possible designations (from highest to lowest): Outstanding, Meritorious, Honorable Mention, Successful Participant. All of the competing teams are to be congratulated for their excellent work and enthusiasm for scientific and mathematical modeling and interdisciplinary problem solving.

Problems A and B constitute the MCM (Mathematical Contest in Modeling) and Problem C constitutes the Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling (ICM). Below are the statistics for the MCM and ICM.

Classification MCM (Problems A and B) ICM (Problem C)
Total Number of Participating Teams 748 224
High School Teams 10 (1%) 3 (1%)
United States Teams 247  (33%) 26 (13%)
Foreign Teams form Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, China, South Africa, and South Korea 501 (67%) 198 (87%)
Outstanding Winners 12 (2%) 4  (2%)
Meritorious Winners 122 (16%) 48 (21%)
Honorable Mentions 188 (25%) 113 (51%)
Successful Participants 426 (57%) 59 (26%)
 

Virginia Schools

  • Maggie Walker Governor's School, Richmond,  John A. Barnes, Problem B, Meritorious
  • Maggie Walker Governor's School, Richmond,  John A. Barnes, Problem A, Meritorious
  • Maggie Walker Governor's School, Richmond,  John A. Barnes, Problem C, Meritorious
  • Maggie Walker Governor's School, Richmond,  John A. Barnes, Problem C, Meritorious
  • Maggie Walker Governor's School, Richmond,  Harold Houghton, Problem  A, Meritorious
  • James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Hasan N Hamdan, Problem C, Honorable Mention
  • Longwood University, Farmville, M. Leigh Lunsford, Problem A, Honorable Mention
  • Virginia Western Community College, Roanoke, Steve T Hammer, Problem A, Honorable Mention
  • Maggie L. Walker Governor's School, Richmond, John Barnes, Problem C, Honorable Mention
  • James Madison University, Harrisonburg, David B Walton, Problem C, Honorable Mention
  • Radford University, Radford, Laura J Spielman, Problem A, Successful Participant
  • University of Richmond, Richmond, Kathy W Hoke, Problem A, Successful Participant
  • Longwood University, Farmville, M. Leigh Lunsford, Problem C, Successful Participant
  • James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Caroline Smith, Problem A, Successful Participant
  • Virginia Western Community College, Roanoke, Ruth A Sherman, Problem A, Successful Participant