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UST Hosts SCUDEM IV 2019 Houston Site

University of St. Thomas Math Department hosted the SCUDEM IV 2019 challenge (SIMIODE Challenge Using Differential Equations Modeling) on campus. The worldwide challenge gets students excited every year to utilize math in real-world situations.

UST served as the Houston host site for the event on Sat., Nov. 9.

"Last year we only had two teams," Dr. Arati Pati, assistant professor of Mathematics at University of St. Thomas, said. "This year we had eight teams from outside schools including the University of Houston-Downtown, Texas Southern University, and San Jacinto College. We even had a 10th-grade student who worked on a team by herself."

Each team is comprised of three student members. Starting on Nov. 1, the teams were able to access three modeling scenarios involving differential equations, posted on the SIMIODE website. According to their website, the scenarios are designed so that every team may experience success in modeling, building their skills and confidence in differential equations.

All participating students had one week after receiving the math problems to work with their team, write a summary and prepare to present on the day of the challenge.

What are Differential Equations?

The laws of the natural and physical world are written and modeled in the form of differential equations. People use differential equations in a variety of disciplines from biology to economics to physics to chemistry and engineering. These equations arise in the study of rates of change and of quantities or things that change such as the population growth of species or the change in investment return over time.

"The high school student presented on ‘group affinity in fashion sense,’" Dr. Pati said. "The audience was so impressed by her, it was such a big excitement to see the clarity that she provided at such a young age."

The event included modeling first differential equations, build-modeling skills, networking with peers, a Fun Student Mathbowl and a faculty development-modeling workshop.

"I am very grateful to the University for giving our students this opportunity," Dr. Pati said. "Having this event gets students excited to learn, and hosting it on campus spreads the word about UST."