Moving forward to second question — Shuangcheng

Just to follow up a little to my conclusions at the end of my solution to the first Moody question, the prediction for plastic wastes landfilled in 100 years. In my opinion, there will certainly be technology breakthroughs in the next 100 years to solve the waste problem. For instance, the SpaceX corporation, founded by Elon Musk, is working on recyclable rockets. SpaceX has the great idea of sending our trash and wastes onto another planet with the rocket itself flying back afterwards. So far they have successfully made some progress and I believe that the idea of sustainability and aerospace will be linked more tightly in the future. Another technology breakthrough we can expect is from the material science area, where amazing things are happening. I am surprised to see that materials that can change themselves along the time have already been applied to so-called 4-D printer. I am sensing that new materials can replace the role of plastics in our life. In addition, the biomedical research in the world might have a huge influence on our model for future population prediction. In one word, it is indeed really hard to predict all these factors now.

Then I started to do some preparation works for the second question from the Moody’s Math Challenge:

Making the right choice on a local scale. Plastics aren’t the only problem. So many of the materials we dispose of can be recycled. Develop a mathematical model that a city can use to determine which recycling methods it should adopt. You may consider, but are not limited to

  • providing locations where one can drop off pre-sorted recyclables 
  • providing single-stream curbside recycling 
  • providing single-stream curbside recycling in addition to having residents pay for each container of garbage collected 

Your model should be developed independent of current recycling practices in the city and should include some information about the city of interest and some information about the recycling method. Demonstrate how your model works by applying it to each of the following cities: Fargo, North Dakota; Price, Utah;Wichita, Kansas. 

Personally, I think that this is the key question in this competition. Before I jump right into creating a model, I will have my own outline about how to create this model. For example, in order to transform a real-life situation like this into a mathematical model, a lot of assumptions have to be made. But these assumptions should all be reasonable.

Besides, I also need to consider what factors I would like to include. Up until this point I am thinking the traffic system in the city and the density of population might be two primary concerning factors. In addition, the income level and the government budget should also be considered. I am planning to think more deeply next week.

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