International award for Chilean students in mathematical modeling challenge

International award for Chilean students in mathematical modeling challenge

Since 2018, the organization and national selection process has been carried out by professionals from the Center for Mathematical Modeling.

At the Faculty of Physical and Mathematical Sciences of the University of Chile, students from national high schools were awarded for their outstanding participation in the 2023 edition of the International Mathematical Modeling Challenge (IM²C), a competition organized in the country by the Center for Mathematical Modeling (CMM).

In the 9th edition, the 31 participating nations had 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.

After 7 months of development of the three competition stages, the organization of the International Mathematical Modeling Competition for Chile announced the national winners. They were two groups of students from the Liceo Bicentenario Santa Teresa de los Andes de Colina, led by teacher María Angélica Fuentes and both 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.

Award Ceremony

“Congratulations for being here. They are students who have decided to go beyond the obligations of the minimum effort, who have been motivated by this challenge they were given. We are delighted that these things happen, many things related to science happen here every day, in every corner of this faculty”, said the Vice-Dean of the FCFM of the Universidad de Chile, Professor Marcela Munizaga.

The authority was in charge of opening the instance of recognition to the aforementioned national selected teams of the Santa Teresa de los Andes school of Colina and also to the teams of the finalist schools: Rafael Sanhueza Lizardi of Recoleta, Pedro de Valdivia of Las Condes and San Francisco Javier of Huechuraba.

Vice-Dean of the FCFM of the Universidad de Chile, Professor Marcela Munizaga. Photo: Alonso Farías.

The director of MWC, Professor Héctor Ramírez, noted that “IMMC has a special closeness to MWC. It is a mathematical modeling competition that challenges students to apply their mathematical knowledge to real-world situations and solve complex problems. It is an event that not only tests the mathematical skills of the participants, but also gives them the opportunity to learn, collaborate and compete on a global stage. In other words, it has a lot of similarities to who we are.”

“The Center for Mathematical Modeling has a long tradition in its years of history of supporting massive activities of linkage with the school world. In addition to this challenge that summons us, we support initiatives such as the School Mathematics Championship, together with the University of Santiago, the ‘Golden Number’ tournament, the Antofagasta Photo Mathematics contest, among others. The aim is to inspire new generations and develop young talent”, he added.

Héctor Ramírez, director of the Center for Mathematical Modeling. Photo: Alonso Farías.

The coordinator of the strategic area of Learning for the 21st Century of the General Education Division of the Ministry of Education, María Angélica Mena, emphasized that “in the context of the educational reactivation in which we now find ourselves, we have strongly emphasized the sense of urgency we have in remedying the learning gaps that were greatly intensified during the pandemic years. But we must be careful that this remediation is not understood as simplistic, mechanical and repetitive didactic solutions that make the students’ experience tedious. On the contrary, the process they have lived through in the context of the competition is an excellent reference for this reactivation that we propose with a transformative approach. These are rich, authentic activities that generate a connection between the work of a discipline and its application in the world, through work of the highest quality”.

“This type of experience is a great example of how you can generate very powerful training opportunities that allow personal development, social development and learning of an area or discipline, all at the same time. This activity brings rigor and enjoyment together. In other words, it allows students to engage in something passionately and fully. At the same time they think and work hard in a systematic, dedicated way”, he added.


After presenting the diplomas of recognition to the 6 finalist teams and the scholarship to participate in the Summer School of the University of Chile to the selected national teams, the director of IMMC Chile and researcher of the CMM of the University of Chile, Flavio Guíñez, highlighted that “when we read the report we were very surprised by the search for information that they did, so it was very interesting to evaluate the reports. We would like to thank all the teams because it was really difficult to decide which two teams would represent the country (…) The achievement of these students and in general all those who participated in the process is very commendable. They are competing with establishments that specialize in science and have a much more advanced level of education than ours”.

The teacher María Angélica Fuentes, tutor of the teams from Liceo Bicentenario Santa Teresa de los Andes de Colina, stated that “I want to highlight the support of the Mathematical Modeling Center, especially Flavio Guíñez who has been hosting us in the competition since 2018. A few days ago, in fact, when I was asked to write these words, I looked up the first report we sent, read it and did not understand it (laughs). Since the first time we have not stopped participating as a school and there are more and more students who see us in the hallway and say “Professor, when is the competition?”. That has led us to the fact that so far we have managed to enroll more than 100 students, who have achieved great results. What’s more, in 2020 we also managed to have one of the teams represent the country in the international competition.”

María Angélica Fuentes, teacher at Liceo Bicentenario Santa Teresa de los Andes de Colina (Metropolitan Region). Photo: Alonso Farías.

“I have been fortunate over the years to work in a place where education really matters and I am very grateful for that, for believing in me and also in our students. It was seven months, but in reality it’s already a year since they enrolled. Last year I watched them grow, I watched them develop in every way, in the math part especially, and it has been truly rewarding their dedication and passion for everything they do, even when you set them as a challenge. So thank you for being so great”, she ended her speech to applause.

Student Anahiz Urrutia, who spoke on behalf of both teams, made “a very special thanks to our teacher Mari, since she motivated us and trusted in our abilities to be able to achieve this result. I would also like to encourage other young people to participate, because even though it is a complicated challenge, you have to spend a lot of time and it is exhausting, it is a very enriching experience, you learn many new things and I met wonderful people during this stage”.

Anahiz Urrutia, student of the Liceo Bicentenario Santa Teresa de los Andes de Colina (Metropolitan Region). Photo: Alonso Farías.

At the end of the event, the principal of the Liceo Bicentenario Santa Teresa de los Andes de Colina, María Angélica Vallejos, emphasized that “part of our vision is that the school has to provide students with the necessary tools to develop in a globalized world. And one of the tools is to participate in this type of events where young people come out of their conformity and we subject them to other types of challenges, where they see that everything that is done and given to them is useful for their future life, to contribute to the world and to be able to develop as a whole person and achieve the objective they have, which is to have a professional career and to be able to choose what they want, not what they can, which is different”.

Meanwhile, María Ignacia González, a student from the Pedro de Valdivia school in Las Condes, said that “it was very different from anything I expected. It was very tiring, on the fourth day there is evidence of how I was, but it was very enriching, I had a great time. Mathematics is in everything, it contributes a lot. Humanists always say «What good is this to me?» Yes, it is useful and it can be expressed in other ways, I was impressed”.

New image 2024

The director of IMMC Chile, Flavio Guíñez, took advantage of the ceremony to present the main milestones of the competition, highlighting that “this year we had a historical maximum of the times we have participated, 415 students. That corresponds to 105 teams in total, coming from 38 establishments in 37 communes of the country, distributed in ten regions”.

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

Globally, “there were 55 teams from 31 countries and as you can see, in general they are countries from North America, many European countries and mainly from Southeast Asia. Latin American participation is quite low, in fact Mexico and Argentina presented only one team each. So we, within this Latin American context, are the only country that has a very complete selection process”, he added.

The authority also announced a new corporate image – from competition to International Mathematical Modeling Challenge -, an update of the platform to register teams and the launch of the 2024 process, which will be open for registration until October 11. “Changing the concept of competition for challenge, it seems a subtlety because we usually use it as synonyms, but there is a fundamental difference. Competition is competing with another, challenge is competing with oneself. In competition the focus is on winning, while in challenge the focus is on surpassing oneself”, he said.

Guíñez explained that now on the web “tutors will be able to see all the teams they have registered. It is a process of availability so that the teams themselves can download the problems and upload the report directly, and not send them by mail as we currently do”.

Relive the stream here:

By Alonso Farías Ponce, CMM journalist.

Posted on Sep 12, 2023 in News