Students Set New Record in 2015 American ICM


In the 2015 American Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM)/ Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling (ICM), Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) student teams won 3 Meritorious Winners, 9 Honorable Mentions and 12 Successful Participant Awards. There are 2 Meritorious Winners and 4 Honorable Mentions out of 8 teams in ICM, which marks a new record in the participation of ICM by XJTLU.

This year, there were 9773 teams from hundreds of institutions in the US, Australia, Canada, China, India, Mexico, Sweden, the United Kingdom and etc. that participated in the competition.

MCM is designed to stimulate and improve problem-solving and writing skills in mathematics. Students participate in the competition in teams rather than as individuals. Team work creates an environment for sharing knowledge and skills. This year MCM focused on two open problems: ‘Problem A: Eradicating Ebola’ and ‘Problem B: Searching for a lost Plane’. Both problems are closely connected with current hot topics from around the world and require profound analysis and comprehensive skills.

Different from MCM, ICM is designed to develop and enhance interdisciplinary problem-solving skills as well as competence in written communication. The two problems this year were: ‘Problem C: Managing Human Capitals in Organization’ and ‘Problem D: Is it sustainable?’ “Both problems have a long list of references and sequential requirements, and require students have the abilities of quick-learning, analysis in details and practical application”, said Dr. Gang Liu, the main organiser of this competition at XJTLU.

Yueling Chen, the former Math Club chair, expressed that she was very excited to see that her team had won the meritorious winner in the 2015 MCM. In the submitted paper, they studied the trends in the spread of Ebola, the medication quantity and proposed a high efficiency medication delivery system to minimise the death rate. The award is recognition for clear presentation of their paper and hardwork for 96 hours from February 6th to February 10th, 2015.

Together with Yibo Wu and Daiyun Huang, Yueling Chen has participated in the 2014 MCM, 2014 Web-challenge, 2014 Chinese MCM, pre-XJTLU MCM and XJTLU MCM in their first year and second year studies.

A Year 2 team consisting of Qingjia Liu, Yifang Xu and Qian Zhang won the Meritorious Winner in ICM problem C. According to Qingjia, the team chose topic C because it is full of challenge and it demands high levels of creativity. The team enjoyed the team work experience and made great efforts in the preparation process which provided them with confidence and a solid foundation to solve the complicated human resource management problems.

MCM/ICM is an extracurricular learning activity at XJTLU and the students voluntarily join this competition. “The experience of attending this competition and its preparation is more important”, said Chenxia Gu, a Year 3 student who won the honourable mention in the competition with her team.

“We learn the programming skills, paper-writing skills, team-working spirit and using Latex to write the article in addition to the mathematical knowledge and analytical skills”, added Chenxia Gu.

Another two teams of Year 1 students also joined the competition. With this initial experience and great interest in MCM, they are expecting future success in the competitions.

As an international contest in the field of mathematical modelling, MCM/ICM is sponsored by the American Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, the Mathematical Association of America, the Department of Defense Analysis, Naval Postgraduate School and Chinese Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.