Modelling Mathematics to Make a Brighter Future12 Aug 2020
International Mathematical Modeling Challenge
From left to right, Mrs. Chua-Lim Yen Ching (Deputy Director-General of Education (Professional Development) and Executive Director, Academy of Singapore Teachers), Jiang Zhiheng (20S7B, Tan Yi Kai (20S7D), Kwee Tze Wei, Bernard (20S7D), Yu Wenhao (20S7D) and Mr. Ng Tong Cheong (Senior Consultant/Education Technology)
Written by: Jeron Sia (20S7J)
From March 16th to March 21st, 2020, Hwa Chong sent two student teams to tackle a mindbendingly complex mathematical competition, the International Mathematical Modeling Challenge (IMMC 2020).
Team A, mentored by Mr. Ng Tong Cheong (Senior Consultant/Education Technology), comprising Kwee Tze Wei, Bernard (20S7D), Tan Yi Kai (20S7D), Yu Wenhao (20S7D) and Jiang Zhiheng (20S7B) clinched a High Distinction in the competition at the national level and an Honourable Mention award at the International level. Meanwhile, Team B, mentored by Mr. Philip Ho (Lecturer/Mathematics), which comprises Ying Yexuan (19S7D), Beh Chuen Yang (20S69) and Li Yuanfei (20S6G) attained a Distinction at the national level.
The teams had to develop a decision-making model, through which one could decide on the layout of a store and the arrangement of the merchandise to minimize the damage to the goods during a flash sale. During then, it was expected that many customers would rush into the store within a short period of time. The problem statement is incredibly detailed, including data on the sale items to set specific requirements for the teams to work on.
Mr. Ng Tong Cheong, Team A’s teacher-mentor, worked hand-in-hand with the students, providing them with online resources and readings. Nevertheless, he remarked that the students put in their own effort to learn independently, citing that “they were resourceful enough to find more websites to read from.”
Naturally, the path towards success was not clear of all obstacles. On March 19th, the Ministry of Health announced that a 14-day Stay Home Notice (SHN) was issued to all Singapore residents and visitors entering from all countries. One of the team members had been to Malaysia prior to March 16th, and could not return to school in time – about halfway through the competition. Still, the tenacious team did not let this setback trip it up. “The team continued to communicate closely online and submitted the report by the deadline,” commented Mr. Ng.
Team A’s Bernard said that he had to reframe the task in his head, taking it less as a purely mathematical task, but rather, a “Project Work task”, citing that his team had to analyze “how (customers) would behave in certain situations and propose a plausible model to reflect this.”
“Through this (endeavor), I appreciate how Mathematics can be applied in the real world to solve a problem better,” he adds.
When asked about the contributors to this internationally-recognized accomplishment, Bernard and his team would like to thank their senior Wu Bangye (19S7F) and their teacher-in-charge Mr. Ng for their guidance and support throughout the competition.
Bernard happily concluded that “if given another chance, (they) would do it again as (they) found it more meaningful than (they) thought it would have ever been.”
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