March 22, 2006
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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.
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
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
“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
“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
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