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KHS Receives Honorable Mention for the M3 - Mathematics Modeling Competition

5 Kingston High School students - Jason Chen, Carolyn Vargas-Hubner, Luke Studt, Julie Chen, and Jeff Lian - competed in the "Mathworks Math Modeling Challenge" (M3 Challenge), a 14-hour event, on Sunday, February 28, 2021.  The M3 Challenge is a contest for high school juniors and seniors in the U.S., England and Wales. Through participation, students experience what it’s like to work as a team to tackle a real-world problem under time and resource constraints, like those faced by professional mathematicians working in the industry.  

Of the 535 papers submitted in this year’s challenge, our KHS team’s solution was selected to receive one of 35 Honorable Mention Awards.  Our community is very proud of this distinction, especially given the rigorous and intense scrutiny that each paper endured. Only about 9% of the submitted papers were selected for prize recognition.  Honorable Mention teams win a scholarship in the amount of $1,000 per team, to be paid directly to the colleges or universities at which the winning students ultimately enroll.  More than 125 Ph.D.-level applied mathematicians served as judges throughout 3 rounds of judging.

"I am so proud of this team and the time they had to put in to get through this challenge, let alone win an award", said Dr. Alissa Oliveto, KCSD Director of Teaching and Learning. "Our students and faculty did an amazing job of working together to come to a great answer to this year's challenge problem."

The M3 Challenge is unlike any other high school math competition in the world. It is a math modeling contest that pushes students to the limits of what they know about math and tests their ability to work as a team and under strict time restraints. This contest gives the team a unique opportunity to work on a real problem using each team member’s math abilities, problem solving and critical thinking skills. Teams are presented with a previously unknown problem scenario, and they have to work together using the math modeling process to represent, analyze, make predictions and otherwise provide insight into that real-world phenomena and the posed problem’s questions.  This year's challenge was titled "Defeating the Digital Divide:  Internet Costs, Needs, and Optimal Planning".   

Let's give a big CONGRATULATIONS and shout-out to our KHS M3 Challenge Team!!!


Below is this year's problem statement - What answers would you come up with?

High-speed internet is for more than just entertainment, and those without sufficient access are at a significant disadvantage, especially when it comes to attending school remotely, safely accessing healthcare, working from home, civic participation, information access, and more. Ensuring that everyone (particularly those in rural and low-income areas) has sufficient access to high-speed internet is a technical, logistical, and economic challenge. It is not clear which among the many ways to access the internet (e.g., cable, fiber-optic lines, satellites, mobile broadband) can best solve the connectivity issues experienced by people in different types of households and regions. Accessing the internet from a mobile device, such as a cell phone or a mobile hot spot, has been a helpful option for remote-learning students and others during the pandemic, but will mobile broadband be the future of high-speed internet access?

  • Q1: The Cost of Connectivity — Bandwidth, typically measured in Megabits per second (Mbps), comes at a cost. Build a model to predict the cost per unit of bandwidth in dollars or pounds per Mbps over the next 10 years for consumers in the United States and the United Kingdom.
  • Q2: Bit by Bit — Create a flexible mathematical model to predict a given household’s need for the internet over the course of a year. Apply your model to the example households listed below and determine the minimum amount of required bandwidth that would cover their total internet needs 90% of the time. What about 99% of the time?
  1. A couple in their early 30’s (one is looking for work and the other is a teacher) with a 3-year-old child.
  2. A retired woman in her 70’s who cares for two school-aged grandchildren twice a week.
  3. Three former M3 Challenge participants sharing an off-campus apartment while they complete their undergraduate degrees full-time and work part-time.

You may wish to account for global shifts in online education and changing patterns in online work.

  • Q3: Mobilizing Mobile  — Mobile broadband (e.g. 4G and 5G internet) is transmitted from towers or nodes. Develop a model that produces an optimal plan for distributing/placing cellular nodes in a region. The model should incorporate information regarding population and demographic data for the region and should take into account the bandwidth needs of the region. Demonstrate the flexibility of your model in the three hypothetical regions provided, or substitute with regions of your choosing.