Tuesday, 19 Mar 2019

Interest in maths challenge keeps growing

The International Mathematical Modeling Challenge (IM2C) has again broken participation records, with the number of teams registered to participate growing significantly. The Australian round is under way for 2019, and teams can register until 1 April and have until 5 April to submit responses

The International Mathematical Modeling Challenge (IM2C) has again broken participation records as the Australian round gets under way for 2019.

The number of teams registered to participate in the IM2C each year has grown significantly, as has the number of teams that actually submitted a report for consideration by Australia’s judging panel.

Team registrations have grown each year, from 24 teams in 2016, to 82 in 2017, 163 in 2018 and 234 by mid March 2019.

For the three completed years so far, ACER received submissions from 15 teams (in 2016), 45 teams (in 2017) and 75 teams (in 2018). The number for 2019 will be known after the final date for team submissions, 5 April.

An important objective of IM2C is to promote the kinds of mathematical thinking and work that is needed when problems from the world of work, personal or community life, or issues that are important to society at large are considered. The challenge requires the application of mathematical knowledge to understand the problem or issue, and to come up with analysis and solutions to particular questions.

So far, the IM2C has looked at these problems:

2015: how mathematics might help a film production company schedule the various activities involved in making a film.

2016: how to manage risks associated with providing a substantial incentive payment to encourage top athletes to participate in an international athletics meet.

2017: Where to hold an international meeting to minimise the impact of travel, and to maximise the ability of participants to take part.

2018: How to decide what would be the best hospital for a patient needing non-emergency medical treatment.

At least one more record was broken for the 2019 IM2C, which is the number of teams entered from a single school. Carine Senior High School in Perth, Western Australia has entered 50 teams. The school has been pursuing a conscious strategy over recent years to engage students in more investigations including mathematical modelling. Dwayne Millen, the head of mathematics at Carine, tells us that time has been allocated this year to the IM2C as part of the regular maths program. We hope to see positive results when some of those teams submit their report on this year’s problem.

Of course they will have to be good to outperform last year’s international winner, which was a team from Radford College in the Australian Capital Territory. The Radford team topped the international judging, after being selected as one of Australia’s two top entries in the 2018 IM2C.

Australia’s national judging will take place between 5 April and 6 May. Best of luck to all the 2019 teams.

Visit the website for more information about IM2C. Teams can register until 1 April and have until 5 April to submit their responses.