The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

April 8, 2014

Student teams excel in global competition

The Herald

HERMITAGE — Hermitage School District students competed in the 2013-14 Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications (COMAP) Competition. Nearly 600 teams from some of the top high schools around the globe participated.

Students were given their choice of one of two problems. The first involved developing a method to distribute emergency response centers within a fictitious county given areas, populations and average travel time in order to ensure all inhabitants of the county could be reached by emergency personnel within an appropriate amount of time.

The other involved developing a method to serve customers at a bank in a timely fashion in order to minimize wait time given probabilities involving times between customer arrivals and the length of time cusomers take doing their banking.

The team of Jacob Hall, Sarah Harris and Hannah Piston worked on the problem involving the line at the bank. Their solution received the designation of “Finalist” by the judges. Their solution successfully passed through three rounds of judging and made it into the top 10 percent of all solutions submitted from across the globe. Only four other teams from public schools within the U.S. earned this designation or above.

The team of Andrew Bianco, Elija Bombeck, Alyssa Kostka and Trand Wright worked on the emergency response problem as did the team of Tyler Brocious, Donte Green, and Nate Mastrian. Both of these teams had their solution earn honorable mention by the judges. This designation shows these teams’ solutions were strong enough to pass the first round of judging and were in the top 65 percent of all solutions.

Teams had 36 hours to research the situation and develop a mathematical model for the problem they had chosen. Their solutions end up being papers typically around 10 pages long describing their model, discussing how they tested it, and arguing why they did what they did as opposed to other things they considered. The papers are then sent to be judged by people at the COMAP.

Many of the participating schools are located in China and most of the ones participating from the U.S. are private, magnet schools focused on a science and math curriculum.