LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. - A north suburban high school is sending its brightest to a worldwide academic competition.
It is a math test with results that can help a lot of people.
The students applied advance mathematics to a simple, yet common problem: weak Wi-Fi.
It’s this year’s Mathworks Math Modeling Challenge, an international competition for high schoolers.
A bad internet connection can limit access and diminish education. Calculus can solve that.
Spandan Goel, a junior at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, said, "Once you look at the problem to form solutions, based on the data you have, the toolkit you have, you can come up with elegant ideas that can be foundational for a lot of solutions."
Two of Stevenson’s teams beat out 2,400 students from the United States and the United Kingdom.
If it weren’t for COVID, they would travel to New York for the finals. Instead, they will virtually present their 20-page paper from Lincolnshire.
Many high schoolers have had enough of screen time, but this competition provided the togetherness sorely needed during the pandemic.
"I feel like with this challenge, there are so many teams, and so many approaches, that is the most inspiring thing about this competition," Praneet Rathi, a Stevenson high school senior, said.
Joy Qu, a Stevenson junior, explained the secret to their success.
"When we present, we always give a line of reasoning. It's really important, if you can support your model, then it creates validity of your model," Qu said.
Rathi said that while they hope to win, the experience , "There are always things to learn even if we perform well, that will serve as motivation to never stop learning."
The top finishers in the Mathworks Math Modeling Challenge win college scholarships.