Rensselaer Math Students Shine in International Modeling Contest

Rensselaer Math Students Shine in International Modeling Contest

By Katie Malatino

May 25, 2023

The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) team of Calvin Ang ’24,  Haoran Bao ’25, and Caleb Smith ’25 received a Finalist designation for their paper in the Mathematical and Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling! This means that their paper was judged among the top 99 out of 2,557 teams competing on their problem. 

The team’s project pertained to the development and exploration of a model for how plant communities respond and adapt to periods of drought and abundant precipitation. Their approach integrated Lotka-Volterra dynamics within a cellular automaton framework to handle the spatial component. Of note, this is the second time in three years that Ang has been part of a team reaching a Finalist status. This level of sustained success in the contest was last seen by RPI students in 2011.

Additionally, the team of Alexander Do (a high school student), Colin Langella ’25, and Arvind Rathnashyam ’25 received honorable mention and scored in the top 22% out of 8,011 teams for their efforts in developing a model to predict, based on historical data sets, the distribution of reported results for the number of tries required to guess a particular word in the Wordle game.

The teams were coached by graduate students Allison Carson and Jesica Bauer and were supported in training for the contest by RPI’s mathematical sciences department.


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