A Winning Solution
John Evans and Meral Reyhan were honored
at the 21st annual Mathematical Contest in Modeling for
their “outstanding” solution to the mathematical
challenge. Photo by Kris Qua
A Rensselaer undergraduate team has won the 2005 Society for
Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) Award in the
Mathematical Contest in Modeling, besting competitors from
Harvard University, MIT, and others.
Team members Meral Reyhan, a senior with a dual major in
physics and mathematics, and John Evans, a junior majoring in
applied mathematics, competed in the 21st annual Mathematical
Contest in Modeling (MCM) with 663 other teams representing
academic institutions from 10 countries. The MCM contest is
administered by the Consortium for Mathematics and Its
In the MCM contest, competing teams have four days to solve
one of two challenging problems by using mathematical tools.
Reyhan and Evans tackled a problem requiring teams to propose a
model to help determine the optimal number of tollbooths in a
barrier toll plaza, “Problem B” in the contest.
The Rensselaer team was designated as “outstanding” in the
Problem B category, a designation shared by only seven other
teams representing Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute
of Technology, Duke University, University of California,
Berkeley (2 teams), and University of Colorado.
Each year SIAM officials select one team from each problem
group to honor for their winning solution. The Rensselaer team
was selected to receive the 2005 SIAM Award in the Mathematical
Contest in Modeling for Problem B.
“We are proud of Meral Reyhan and John Evans for their
ability to perform at this level as undergraduates,” said G.P.
“Bud” Peterson, Rensselaer provost. “Their accomplishment is a
testament to an exceptional mathematical sciences department at
Rensselaer that prepares our students to creatively apply what
they’ve learned in the classroom to solve complex, realistic
“To succeed in this contest, the team must effectively work
together to research, model, and present a creative and
coherent solution by connecting mathematical analysis to a real
problem,” says Peter Kramer, assistant professor of mathematics
at Rensselaer and faculty adviser for the MCM contest. “Meral
and John demonstrated their ability to combine teamwork with
creativity and knowledge to achieve this impressive honor.”
This year’s contest is the first time a Rensselaer team has
been selected to receive the SIAM Award for its mathematical
Originally published in Rensselaer
Magazine, Summer 2005