Carroll hosts the Montana Math Modeling Challenge (MMMC)

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

This past weekend, for the sixth year in a row, Carroll College hosted the Montana Math Modeling Challenge (MMMC). The MMMC is a 24-hour regional modeling contest for undergraduate students. Teams are presented with two open ended, real world problems and have one day to choose and solve one of them using any resources they can find except for other people. (This is similar style of competition on a regional level as the international mathematical contest that a Carroll team placed within the top seven percent worldwide this past spring.)

This year's contest included 13 teams of two to three undergraduates each, representing four schools from three different states – four teams from Carroll, five from MSU Bozeman, three from Washington State and one from University of Idaho.

"It's fantastic to see young mathematicians come from all over the region to do math, write code, build models, and get to know each other,"  said co-organizer Carroll associate professor of math Dr. Eric Sullivan

Carroll students had this to share about the competition:

“When we first started it felt like an impossible task.  Then we would set little goals and just keep pushing ourselves again and again as we near one goal. Before we knew it was 9:30 am and everything was done a half hour early!

Words cannot describe the feeling of working successfully as a team and accomplishing what we all deemed impossible.  The competition showed us what we are truly made of and what we can accomplish with just a little bit of persistence.

Even if we lost the competition it still feels like we won because the whole experience was amazing. 

Every student should try this competition at least once, even if they are not that into mathematics, they can contribute creativity and differing viewpoints to create a truly amazing project that could potentially solve a real world problem.” ~ sophomore Kira Kuhlman, Helena, MT

"It was really great to meet nerdy minds from other schools, and discuss math with them."  ~ senior Matt Smillie, Helena, MT 

"The MMMC is an amazing opportunity for Carroll students to apply their mathematical skills to potential real life scenarios. During the competition, students work under an intense time pressure to deliver a complete model of the scenario at the end of 24 straight hours of math. The MMMC is very fun, and it tests the limits of student's abilities (mostly the ability to think with a brain at 4 am). Also, raspberries are delicious and are key to winning the essay portion of the contest." ~ junior Keaton Blair

"It's a real test of your knowledge when you can't ask anybody for help except for your teammates. It's awesome to see our team's results at the end and know that it's completely ours."  ~ sophomore Johnny Carstens

This event is just one of many excellent opportunities to showcase the types of problems Carroll students are able to help solve through a combination of math, statistics, computing and data science. It is an extension of our Math in the Mountains course in which Carroll students work with non-profits, businesses and government entities in town to use real world applications to solve a business problem.

Thank you to this year’s sponsors: St. Peter’s Health, TriHydro Engineering, Starbucks, Cinemark, Big Dipper Ice Cream, Vann’s Thriftway and Safeway. In addition, we are thankful to the local professionals who provided judging assistance and support.

View the two problems provided to the teams. They were asked to select one and provide the requested materials in 24 hours.