Updated: Apr 28, 2020
During the last five days, I cannot emphasize how busy I’ve been because of IMMC.
So, what is this IMMC thing that I am so exasperated about? IMMC is mainly a modelling competition for high schoolers where it asks a four-member team to work on a single open-end question for five days. The question asks teams to create a mathematical model that would answer the question--and this very short deadline of five days is what makes the contest hard and very intense.
Flyer for IMMC 2020
My first encounter with this competition was when I was in grade 9, even barely knowing what a “model” meant. After seeing the question “Create a model that estimates the carrying capacity of the Earth,” I remember me and my friends’ perplexed faces. I remember being lost for four days and rushing everything at the end. But it was also that IMMC that allowed me to grow the passion I have for statistics today. Still, our first IMMC had to end with us not being able to submit our final outcome.
After the first IMMC, one of my friends (he isn’t like a math genius, but he definitely is very smart) and I discussed why the first IMMC ended in such a failure. We made some rules for the next IMMC:
1. The first couple of days are the most important.
- We noticed that we should get the most done in the couple of days, or unless we will be very pressurized to keep up to the deadline. Pressure hinders creativity.
2. Do not be greedy.
- We should be quick in making assumptions. 5 days is very short for making a strong model, so we should quickly decide what to not consider. If we are too stingy in making assumptions and cannot finish the project in five days, that is even worse than a bad project. Something is at least better than nothing.
3. Do not go for the best mathematicians, but the best team.
- I mean, if this is a problem-solving contest, we should definitely go with the best mathematicians. But in our first IMMC, we realized that good at math != good writers or good model thinkers. What’s more important is good teamwork and working together to get done a 20-page report in such a short time. So perhaps don't pick people because they are good at problem-solving, but pick people because they are, say, amicable and dilligent people.
This year, we took all of these into consideration, and made our final submission! In fact, I've been self-studying many models and reading books, but this year's topic was very unexpected and made all my preparation useless lmaooo.
We tried using LATEX (overleaf) to write our report, and it took quite some time for other members to get used to the word processor. But once they got used to it, we worked with great productivity.
I cannot upload the specifics of the competition since it is still happening in some parts of the world. But I can tell you that our project was of quite good quality, except the fact that Overleaf started working weird and messed up our document format at the end. On the last night, when we were pulling on an all-nighter, I finally collapsed an hour before the deadline, so we unfortunately couldn't edit the format error. However, I am absolutely sure that noone else would've thought our method of modelling.
I will get back to this post at May, when all the countries have finished their competitions to talk more about our work.
Update 1 (April 29th)- I really don't know what happened, but we've been chosen as our country's representative for the IMMC! This decision is quite meaningful to me, as we've beaten students from other science schools in the mainland that have far more science programs than us.