Campus: Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo --April 6, 2000

Cal Poly Math Students Awarded Highest Honor in International Competition

A team of Cal Poly students has once again finished among the world's best in an international mathematics competition.

The team was among 48 groups out of more than 700 teams from nine countries to earn a first-place "Meritorious" award in the recent Mathematical Contest in Modeling, 2000.

In addition, Cal Poly's team was among five that earned an "Outstanding" designation and whose solution papers are to be published in the Journal of Undergraduate Mathematics and its Applications.

Also, the Mathematical Association of America chose the Cal Poly team of Jeffrey Mintz, Aaron Newcomber and James Price to present their solution paper at the joint American Mathematical Society/Mathematics Association of America summer meeting to be held at UCLA in August.

This year, of the more than 700 teams that began the competition, only 495 submitted a solution paper.

The competition, sponsored by the Consortium for Mathematics and its Applications, lasts 89 grueling hours. The contest begins on a Friday at 12:01 a.m., when each team is given two problems from which to chose one. The team must submit a typed solution paper for judging by 5 p.m. Monday.

The Cal Poly team selected a problem that asked them, through a sequence of four increasingly difficult scenarios, to determine the assignment of radio frequencies to a symmetric network of transmitter locations so as to avoid interference.

"The students wrote a robust computer program to help optimize the assignments," said Mathematics Professor and team advisor Tom O'Neil.

Teams compete on their own campuses. Solution papers are sent to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point for initial judging and then sent to Harvey Mudd College for final judging.

Mintz is a computer engineering and mathematics senior from San Luis Obispo; Newcomer, a mathematics sophomore, is from Vacaville; and Price, mathematics senior, is from St. Louis, Mo.

A second Cal Poly team consisting of mathematics majors Brian Miceli, Andy Oster and Ryan Tully-Doyle submitted a solution paper that earned an "Honorable Mention," the second-highest ranking. Miceli is from San Jose, Oster from Capitola and Tully-Doyle, San Diego.

O'Neil, who has been coaching the Cal Poly teams since the contest began in 1985, said, "Cal Poly has a history of good results in this competition. We have fielded two teams in each of the 16 annual contests, and they have earned 23 Meritorious first-place awards, 6 Honorable Mention second-place awards, and 3 Succcessful Participation third-place awards.

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