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 SRU Places in Top 18 Percent in International Math Competition 

 

SPOTLIGHT

March 22, 2006

Contact: Gordon Ovenshine: 724-738-4854; gordon.ovenshine@sru.edu

SRU PLACES IN TOP 18 PERCENT IN INTERNATIONAL MATH COMPETITION

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – A three-student mathematical team from Slippery Rock University has received a meritorious ranking in the international Mathematical Contest on Modeling, placing it in the top 18 percent among 734 competing teams.

 SRU’s team consisted of math majors T.J. Deems of Ellwood City, Pete Schallot of Slippery Rock and Josh Harpst of Girard. They developed anoptimal strategy for irrigating an 80-by-30-meter field with sprinklers. SRU had the only team in the state to achieve a meritorious ranking, along with national powerhouses such as Columbia, Cornell and the University of California at Berkeley. Only 11 universities received a higher ranking.

The on-line competition, sponsored by the Consortium for Mathematics and its Applications since 1984, required students to work in teams of three and choose from among two problems. The competition took place in February, drawing teams from 10 countries. The consortium released the results this week.

The SRU trio tackled a problem that included a number of variables, such as the size of water pipes, diameter of rotating spray nozzles and amount of water.  Judges rated solutions on accuracy, clarity and organization.

 “This is a phenomenal accomplishment,” said SRU’s Richard Marchand, assistant professor of mathematics who supervised the students’ work.“The contest is challenging because students tackle vague and open-ended, real-world problems.”

“Students essentially receive on-the-job training as applied mathematicians,” he added.   “This gives them an opportunity to apply some of the mathematics they have learned while encouraging them to learn additional mathematics that may be necessary to derive a solution.”

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