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  • Wisconsin Mathematical Modeling Challenge (WMMC)

    Welcome to the UW - La Crosse WMMC Page! You may navigate the page with the links below:

    1. 2013 Results
    2. Contest Overview
    3. Why The WMMC?
    4. Contest Rules
    5. 2014 Registration
    6. Schedule of Events
    7. 2014 Problems
    8. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
    9. Previous Contests


    UW-La Crosse Team Sweeps Top Honors at 2013 Math Modeling Challenge

    Nine teams of undergraduate students from three institutions recently competed in the fifth annual Wisconsin Mathematical Modeling Challenge (WMMC) at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. 

    The competition drew teams from across the Midwest, including groups from Viterbo University, UW-La Crosse, and UW-Stevens Point.

    This year's 'challenge' asked teams to consider one of two problems:

    1. Determine the which students and which schools are deserving of financial aid
    2. Create a college football conferencing structure that eliminates the unpredictability surrounding conference realignment

    (The full text of each problem statement available here.)

    Each team was comprised of three undergraduate students, and teams were given 24 hours to develop a model for their predictions, write an executive summary of their results, and prepare a formal presentation for their peers.

    For the first time, both the award for outstanding oral presentation and the award for outstanding written summary went to the the same team, the UW-La Crosse team of Mac Gallagher, Lance Hildebrand, and Thong Le.


    Contest Sponsors

     The 2013 contest was funded by generous gifts from CenturyLink, The Moody's Foundation, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.


    CenturyLink Logo SIAM Logo

    TMF Logo


    Contest Overview

    The WMMC is a regional math contest that gives undergraduate students the opportunity to apply their math skills to real world problems. In teams of three, students have 23 hours to develop and test a model and write a two-page summary of their findings; teams have one additional (24th) hour to finalize a 10 minute presentation explaining their results. Soon after preparing their presentations, teams present their findings to other student WMMC participants. The event concludes with an award ceremony that highlights the work of winning teams as determined by students and advisors.


    Why the WMMC?

    COMAP's Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM) successfully encourages teamwork, creativity and written exposition. However, one (logistically necessary) element that many students remark is lacking from this competition is adequate feedback -- both from the micro perspective "What do the judges really think of my team's paper?" to the macro "How did other teams answer this question?" This contest was designed in response to the aforementioned student concerns and has been developed to meet the following objectives:

    • Encourage independent thinking.
    • Promote collaboration.
    • Develop mathematical communication abilities.
    • Prepare student teams to participate in the MCM/ICM.
    • Create a unique mathematical community.


    Contest Rules

    Participants in the WMMC are expected to follow the spirit of the rules used by COMAP in the MCM/ICM contests.  Most notably, students will be bound by the following two rules:

    1. Teams may use any inanimate source of data or materials such as computers, software, references, web sites, books, etc., however all sources used must be credited. Failure to credit a source will result in a team being disqualified from the competition.
    2. Team members may not seek help from or discuss the problem with their advisor or anyone else, except other members of the same team. Input of any form from anyone other than student team members is strictly forbidden. This includes email, telephone contact, personal conversation, communication via web chat or other question-answer systems, or any other form of communication. 

    Summary Sheet

    At the top of your summary sheet list the title and team number only.  Do NOT list any group member names or institution information. A summary should clearly describe your approach to the problem and, most prominently, what your most important conclusions were. The summary should inspire a reader to learn the details of your work. Summaries should be no more than two pages using single-spaced 12 point font.


    10-Minute Presentation

    • Clearly state (in your own words) which problem you are solving and how you plan to solve it.
    • List and provide rationale for all assumptions you make in solving your problem.
    • List all variables used in your model.
    • If applicable, justify your choice of model by comparing it to other models.
    • Discuss your model’s strengths and weaknesses. Use pictures, charts, diagrams, etc. to explain your problem and your solution methods.
    • Try to avoid reading text off the screen.
    • Discuss future goals and ideas concerning your problem.



    Host Institution: The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
    Event Title: Wisconsin Mathematical Modeling Challenge
    Location: La Crosse, WI
    Date: October 18th-19th, 2014
    Contact: Eric Eager - Assistant Professor of Mathematics
    Registration Deadline:  October 3, 2014


    Schedule of Events

    Saturday, October 18th, 2014

    • 9:30 am - Teams arrive/registration
    • 10:30 am - Opening remarks including contest instructions
    • 11:00 am - Competition begins

    Sunday, October 19th, 2014
    • 10:00 am - Summaries due (teams submit summaries electronically)
    • 11:00 am - Competition ends (teams submit presentations electronically)
    • 12:00 pm - Lunch break
    • 1:00 pm - Teams give presentations in sub-groups
    • 3:00 pm - Finalists give presentations to large group
    • 3:30 pm - Award ceremony/closing remarks


    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


    How is the WMMC different from the COMAP MCM and ICM contests?

    The original WMMC arose through an attempt to address some of the (very few) shortcomings of the COMAP contests.  Primarily, the WMMC was designed to provide students with immediate feedback for their solutions and to give them an opportunity to interact with students from other institutions and observe the different solution approaches from other teams.  In order to implement this structure, there needed to be several key changes from the COMAP model:

    1. All student teams work on their solutions at a regional host site.
    2. Teams have only 24 hours to prepare a solution to one of the given problems.
    3. Each team prepares a brief oral presentation of their model and a two-page summary of their results.
    4. An advisory panel reviews and provides feedback for summaries; students peer-review the oral presentations.

    Who may participate and what exactly constitutes a team? 

    An WMMC team consists of three undergraduate students. 

    Is there a registration fee?

    The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Department of Mathematics has generously offered to provide all contest resources for competitors this year. A registration fee of $75 per team will be imposed to help defray the cost of food.

    How do I register my team(s)?

    To register a team, first contact Dr. Eric Eager with the number of teams your institution plans to send by October 3, 2014. Once arrangements have been made, you will be sent additional information about how to make a secure online payment. 

    Is there a limit on how many teams can a school enter? 

    Yes.  Due to space limitations we will (initially) impose a two team per school cap. More teams may be allowed to participate but this will not be determined until we have a better understanding of overall interest in the contest. Please respond with the number of teams you would like to bring (this number may be greater than 2) by October 3, 2014. 

    What will be provided?

    Each team will be provided with

    • An independent workspace (a classroom)
    • One computer with internet access and Microsoft Office software.
    • Food and drink

    Will sleeping arrangements be made for the student teams?

    No. This is a 24-hour contest, students may bring items to make their room more comfortable but it is their decision how/if they choose to sleep.

    What else should teams bring?

    • A computer (or computers) loaded with preferred modeling software and preferred word processing software
    • Reference materials (helpful textbooks, notes from past classes, etc.)
    • Lots of energy

    When and where do we find the problems?

    The problems will be revealed at 11 a.m. on site on the day of the contest. The problems will be announced to all participants simultaneously.

    Who are the judges?

    Team advisors (primarily math faculty) will judge the abstracts.
    Students will judge each other's presentations. 

    How long are the summaries expected to be?

    No more than two pages using single-spaced 12 point font.


    NOTE: This list is not complete, questions will be added to this list as they are asked.