UIC students excelled in the 2020 Contemporary Undergraduate Mathematical Contest in Modelling (CUMCM). Li Xinyue and Xu Bokai, both majoring in Data Science, as well as Computer Science and Technology student, Xu Zimu, won the national Second Prize and the provincial First Prize. Another two teams won the provincial First Prize, while nine teams got the provincial Second Prize, 16 teams won the provincial Third Prize, and 24 teams gained the provincial Successful Participants.

A total of 72 teams from UIC participated in this contest, among which 52 teams got awards, accounting for 72.2%; the amounts of provincial First Prizes and the overall number of awards set a new record high in UIC.

CUMCM was jointly organised by the Department of Higher Education of the Ministry of Education and the China Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (CSIAM). This year, 45680 teams (more than 130000 students) from 1470 institutions participated in the contest. In the competition, up to three students form a team. The team's task is to develop mathematical and/or computer models to solve a simplified real-word problem in engineering, management, etc. The team then have to submit the final academic papers within three days. This competition aims to encourage students to learn maths, enhance their abilities to establish mathematical models, practice their comprehensive abilities to solve real-life problems, improve their writing skills as well as cultivate a great environment for team members to share knowledge and skills.

Participants' feedback

Li Xinyue

This is Li Xinyue's third time to participate in the mathematical modelling contest. In her junior year, she participated in the CUMCM and the Mathematical Contest in Modelling/Interdisciplinary Contest in Modelling (MCM/ICM) respectively. There are also students in her team who took part in the competition for the first time, but the number of times is not the decisive factor. Li Xinyue has been paying attention to this contest since her sophomore year. In the second semester of her sophomore year, she also chose mathematical modelling as her free elective course to prepare for the contest.

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Li Xinyue, a fourth-year Data Science student

Xu Bokai

Before the contest, Xu Bokai and his team spent some time to adjust to each other to make the teamwork go smoothly, and they also found the topics that they can do the best. Due to the pandemic, the contest was completed online. They did not choose the topics that looked easy. Although the topics were difficult, the algorithms they used were known before by each teammate, so the accumulation was significant because what they had learned earlier could be applied as the final solution to the problem.

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Xu Bokai, a fourth-year Data Science student

Xu Zimu

In UIC, Xu Zimu claims that he not only gained knowledge but also acquainted with many good teachers and study partners. Through various group projects, his team's collaborative skills have also been greatly improved, allowing them to cooperate better and finish their work more efficiently.

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Xu Zimu, a fourth-year Computer Science and Technology student

Qiu Yaowen

This was Qiu Yaowen third time to participate in the mathematic modelling contest, and the first time he had won the provincial Third Prize in CUMCM; the second time was the 2020 MCM/ICM, and he also won the Successful Participant. Qiu Yaowen said that the time for the contest is minimal. Analytical solutions to the questions must be completed within three days, and a minimum of 20 pages of technical papers and complete procedures must be submitted to the contest committee. Although the themed modelling solution is essential, the standard format, well-designed diagrams and so on are also crucial elements.

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 Qiu Yaowen, a fourth-year Data Science student

In the college, Qiu Yaowen claimed that the best gain he has is that he knows how to take the initiative to learn, how to enrich, expand, and deepen his knowledge level through different practices.

Zhang Chaozhe

Zhang Chaozhe said that before modelling, related bibliographies and awarded papers could all be used as references. He says tt's essential to have a general understanding of the models and know about the uses of each model. Also, daily accumulations and practices are also of vital importance.

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 Zhang Chaozhe (left), a third-year Statistics student

Zhang Chaozhe got acquainted with a group of like-minded partners in UIC, made close friends, tried the activities he wanted to try, joined his favourite clubs, and completed the competitions he wanted to participate in. University is a process of trials and errors, and UIC is the gathering place of diverse cultures. It provides him with a platform to keep trying, so we should cherish this kind of opportunities.

From DST and MPRO
Photographs provided by interviewees
Editors: Samuel Burgess, Deen He, Zhang Fan, Ma Yiran