Colina High School students win “Honorable Mention” in 9th International Mathematical Modeling Challenge

Colina High School students win “Honorable Mention” in 9th International Mathematical Modeling Challenge

Since 2018 the selection of the teams representing our country is in charge of the Center for Mathematical Modeling of the University of Chile, where IMMC Chile is hosted.

The International Mathematical Modeling Challenge (IMMC) announced the location of the 31 countries participating in the 9th edition of the 2023 global competition, which challenged schoolchildren online to “develop a model for optimal land use planning and the balance between community values and business benefits” for the city of Syracuse, located in the state of New York, United States.

The local competition began in September 2022, where 133 teams applied and 105 presented a solution to the Pre-selection stage 1, which posed the need to “design a voting system to help reach agreements during the sessions of a future body in charge of drafting the articles of the New Constitution of Chile”. Twenty-one groups advanced to stage 2 of National Selection, who faced the problem of “designing a supply system for a group of families that are supplied with water by water trucks that would be more efficient”.

Finally, 6 teams, all from the Metropolitan Region, reached stage 3 of the International Competition: 2 from San Francisco Javier School in Huechuraba, 2 from Liceo Bicentenario Santa Teresa de Los Andes, 1 from Pedro de Valdivia School in Las Condes and 1 from Rafael Sanhueza Lizardi School in Recoleta. There, they had to solve the IMMC 2023 problem under the same conditions of the preliminary rounds: 4 students, 1 tutor from the educational establishment and 5 days exactly for the delivery of the report, although this time of 20 sheets.

“We propose problems of increasing difficulty; they are mathematical modeling problems linked to the real world. In order to work the problems, students can search for information on the Internet, use computational resources and, of course, all the mathematical tools they know. They are quite open problems that require not only the use of mathematical concepts, procedures and tools, but also knowledge of the real world”, explained Flavio Guíñez, director of IMMC Chile and researcher at the Center for Mathematical Modeling (CMM) of the University of Chile.

Flavio Guíñez, director of IMMC Chile and CMM researcher. Photo: Alonso Farías.

Along these lines, the director of the CMM, Héctor Ramírez, pointed out that “mathematical modeling is multidisciplinary, so it requires different visions to address a problem and, of course, mathematics plays a central role. So, especially for people in training, this allows them to understand a problem from different angles and develop different expertise within the same team”.

Héctor Ramírez, director of CMM. Photo: Alonso Farías.

IMMC 2023 Results

After 7 months of development of the three stages, the Organization of the International Competition of Mathematical Modeling for Chile, in charge of the CMM of the U. of Chile, announced the national winners. They were two groups of students from the Liceo Bicentenario Santa Teresa de los Andes de Colina, led by the teacher María Angélica Fuentes and composed of 3 women and 1 man (Anahiz Urrutia, Francisca Gaete, Jennifer Alfaro and Diego Soto, and Almendra Núñez, Valentina Encina, Javiera Jaime and Ángel Henríquez).

After translating the reports into English, both teams entered the international competition, which recently announced the results of the 55 groups from the 31 participating countries. There, both Chilean teams obtained the “Honorable Mention”, corresponding to the third place of distinction.

From left to right: Angel Henríquez, Javiera Jaime, Valentina Encina, María Angélica Fuentes (teacher), Jennifer Alfaro, Anahiz Urrutia, Francisca Gaete and Diego Soto. Absent: Almendra Núñez. Photo: Alonso Farías.

“Our goal as a bicentennial school is to provide students with a comprehensive education, therefore, we always try to make them participate in this type of instances so that they realize what they can really achieve (…). ) I must admit that when we started the competition I did not know the modeling, I enrolled in a first instance in 2018 only one team, to know how the competition was and we realized as a school that the students could and were able to go much further”, proudly commented the teacher and tutor of both groups, María Angélica Fuentes, who in 2020 has already positioned other students in this ranking.

María Angélica Fuentes, teacher at Liceo Bicentenario de Colina. Photo: Alonso Farías.

“If we had to see the costs in the long or short term, we visited web pages where they sold products to start quoting, if we saw the more political or social side, we had to see some research that had been done in terms of society or laws that had certain restrictions, for example, and also using the programs gave the modeling that was through satellites”, detailed the student Francisca Gaete, 17 years old.

Anahiz Urrutia, 16, emphasized that “it is a comforting experience and helps to improve several aspects, such as self-esteem, realizing that one is capable of achieving things. That is, it is not necessary to have spectacular grades, nor to be the best in the class (…) I am normally low profile, I am very shy, so it was an experience that helped me learn a lot about social relations”.

For Diego Soto, also 16 years old, “it was quite a stressful process, but at the same time entertaining, because despite being five whole days working, it was quite pleasant with them (…) The most difficult moment among all the reports was writing, it was the biggest challenge. In the last report we were relatively short of time, we had to sleep late and get up early to finish”.


In addition to the honor of representing Chile in this outstanding international competition, the members of the two selected teams obtained a scholarship to participate in the Summer School of the University of Chile.

Finally Héctor Ramírez, the director of CMM (the institution that has been holding the local competition since 2018), remarked that “this competition allows collective work, it allows an approach to what is similar to what is worked in the professional world of applied mathematics, to what we do as a center (…) this challenge is at the heart of what we want to do with respect to the dissemination and approach of mathematics to young people in schools”.

By Alonso Farías Ponce, CMM journalist.

Posted on Jul 7, 2023 in News