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Math Pineview

Osprey, Florida Students Advance to Finals in Prestigious International Math Competition

| Suncoast Post Staff |

Over a weekend for 14 straight hours in late February, a group of Pine View School students came together to participate in an international online math competition. A combination of math smarts and creative thinking has added up to a spot in the finals for the team, whose submission was selected as one of the best solutions to the question of whether remote work is a fad or the future.

The students – Nolan Boucher, Uday Goyat, John Halcomb, Max Rudin, and Lisa Zhang of Osprey-based Pine View School – advanced to one of the top six spots in MathWorks Math Modeling Challenge (M3 Challenge), a unique competition that drew more than 2,700 11th and 12th graders in the U.S. and sixth form students in the U.K. this year. This team is also a finalist for the Technical Computing Scholarship Award, recognizing outstanding use of code to support their solution. The team, whose work underwent intense scrutiny by judges in the first two rounds of assessment, has one last hurdle on April 25, when they present their findings to a panel of professional mathematicians for final validation.

Using mathematical modeling, students had to come up with a solution to a real-world question: will the shift to remote work last, and to what extent? The M3 Challenge problem asked teams to create a model to predict what percentage of workers’ jobs are remote-ready, and whether an individual worker whose job is remote-ready will be allowed to and will choose to work from home. It also had participants estimating the percentage of workers who will work remotely into the future. A total of 612 teams submitted papers detailing their recommendations. More than a third of submissions included technical computing to support and enhance their solutions, making them eligible for extra prizes for those coding skills.

“This year’s topic touches on several relevant issues we are facing as a global community,” says M3 Challenge judge and lead problem developer Karen Bliss, Virginia Military Institute. “As a result of the pandemic, many people suddenly shifted to working from home. While they may have initially been unprepared, for many people work from home is the ‘new normal.’ We’re at a critical juncture where businesses are deciding whether to allow workers to stay home, go back to the office, or have some hybrid model moving forward. There are many facets to consider, not least of which is the current labor shortage in many fields. It is very exciting to see how teams think about remote work and whether they predict that it is here to stay.”

Now in its 17th year, M3 Challenge is a program of Philadelphia-based Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) and is sponsored by MathWorks. It spotlights applied mathematics as a powerful problem-solving tool and motivates students to consider further education and careers in applied math, computational and data sciences, and technical computing. Winning teams will be awarded a share of $100,000 in scholarships, with the champion team receiving $20,000 in 2022.

In addition to Pine View School, the other finalist teams hail from schools in Mequon, Wisconsin; Lincolnshire, Illinois; Winnetka, Illinois; Lincroft, New Jersey; Watford, England; and Huntsville, Alabama.

“I could not be happier for my students and for our Pine View School for the opportunity to have advanced to the MathWorks Math Modeling Challenge Finals,” says the team’s coach, Dr. Mark Mattia. “As in past years, this year’s team was highly motivated to learn new programming and modeling techniques. They always put in the effort that it takes to excel.”

Team member John “Brennan” Halcomb found M3 Challenge to be a pertinent math experience to society and his studies. “Our team utilized a computational approach to tackle this year’s challenge. Throughout the modeling process, we leveraged concepts learned in our statistics classes and acquired knowledge in more advanced modeling techniques: time series analyses and machine learning classifiers. Overall, the challenge provided us with an opportunity to investigate the relevant topic of remote work. I believe I speak for every member of my team when I say that we thoroughly enjoyed the experience.”

For more information about M3 Challenge, visit the website.

To access this year’s challenge problem, visit HERE.  

To see the full list of finalist, semi-finalist, and honor mention teams, visit HERE.

Photo Credit, M3- Pine View School M3 Challenge finalist team (from the left): Nolan Boucher, Uday Goyat, Dr. Mark Mattia (coach), Brennan Halcomb, Lisa Zhang and Max Rudin.

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