A Math Model for Visual Threat Response
BLUF: This post describes a personal victory, as well as some math to understand an interesting phenomenon.
In April of 2018, I participated in a math modeling competition where my three-person team had a week to tackle one of three problems and then go to Columbia University to compete in-person. Ultimately, we walked away with first place, which felt pretty good considering we were freshmen and some of our competition consisted of senior math majors. Our paper (only part of the competition) is here.
After this competition while on our way to dinner, I checked to see if the 2018 Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling results were released yet, and I discovered that my team for that placed in the top 11 of 3150+ teams! So not to toot my own horn too much, but I was the only person on the two winningest math teams at West Point (as a freshman!), so I felt great for like the next day. /endBrag
Beyond being a celebration, I included this post because I think it’s interesting how even the simplest creatures, like house flies, have the computational power to adequately assess visual threats, and I think the math in the paper adequately describes how simple creatures actually assess visual threats.