New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge

Feeding Hungry Villages

Team: 48

School: Desert Academy

Area of Science: Sociology


Problem Definition:

A lot of food is wasted worldwide. It is thought that we presently grow enough food to feed approximately 10 billion people. Yet, hunger is still a problem. Hunger is not caused by scarcity of food, but rather by poverty and inequality. Most of the starving people on earth live in places that do not have arable land, or sustainable shipping routes. This problem is caused mainly by inefficiency. If we had an efficient way to transport food to struggling third-world villages, we could mitigate their food security problems.

Problem Solution:

One way to help limit hunger is to efficiently ship food to struggling isolated villages that do not have enough food. Non-perishable items, like canned foods, are the best type of food to ship, because of their longevity. Yet, it is hard to live of canned foods that will not always give you all the nutrients that people needs to survive. Therefore, a solution could be building a network of distribution centers close to a number of struggling villages. These centers would help efficiently service villages by roads. There are many variables that may determine the efficiency of this method. Examples of such variables are the amount of money used on fixing road conditions, the type of trucks used, their load capacity, and the durability of the food shipped. These aspects can be modeled by a computer code, and educated guesses can be derived from the results.

Progress to Date:

We have researched disaster-relief packages, and non-perishable foods. With that information, we have made some decisions regarding foods types and other variables. We have decided it would be most efficient to ship canned beans, corn flour, oil, salt, and brown rice. Other variables include numbers like price of food, and the time it takes for the packs to spoil, and road conditions. These variables will be changeable later on. Presently, we have written a backbone code for our project. This, so far, has a distribution center, a village, and randomly generated terrain. We hope that the code, with more development, will lead to more advance simulations of this problem. These advancements will include variables that are more easily changed than they presently are, more villages, and more roads. This will help us find the most efficient way of sending food, and developing more food security.

Expected Results:

We expect to have a project that will tell us what type of distribution system will be most efficient in different areas with different amount of villages, and different village sizes. The most efficient system will be the one that costs the least but can still keep the villages population fed.

Some sources:

Team Members:

  Ben Voter
  Jonas Kaare-Rasmussen
  Alexander Kellam

Sponsoring Teacher: Jocelyne Comstock

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