skip to main content
A sad dog is lying down in front of a rusty corrugated iron fence looking to the right with dappled sunlight on his back.
Image ©Shutterstock/Stockphoto mania

Using maths modelling to stop pet abandonment

Media release 5 minute read

Two Australian school teams will represent Australia in this year’s International Mathematical Modeling Challenge (IM2C), thanks to their approach to finding a solution for the post-pandemic trend of abandoning pets. 

The Australian judging panel awarded Northern Beaches Secondary College Manly Campus and Brisbane Boys’ College the Outstanding Achievement award, and both teams will advance to the international judging round for 2024. The international results will be announced in late June. 

Coordinated by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) in Australia, the IM2C asks students to use their research and mathematical and creative abilities to develop a mathematical model to address a real-world problem. 

This year’s challenge was about pet ownership and the problem of abandonment. Teams were asked to define the concept of a ‘pet’, and build mathematical models to determine which households would be prepared to own a pet and forecast future pet ownership. 

Dr Kristy Osborne, ACER Senior Research Fellow and IM2C Australia Director, praised the Australian teams.

“It's impressive to see how the students tackled a contemporary social issue, with pets being abandoned in record numbers in many countries, and also to see how the IM2C empowers young people to work as problem-solvers,” she said.  

Teams had to summarise the 3 components of the challenge, write a letter to a fictitious animal welfare society, and develop and communicate their mathematical model within 20 pages. Teams were also asked to report on any questions asked of artificial intelligence (AI) and AI-generated responses. This was the first year teams were permitted to use AI. 

In another first for IM2C 2024, the winning teams from each state and territory can visit local university mathematical modelling research groups and spend ‘a day in the life’ of a tertiary modelling researcher, learning about how modelling is used to solve real-world problems.  

The judges identified 13 finalists from the 73 teams who participated from 21 schools. Special mention was awarded to Whitsunday Anglican School as the top entrant of the years 7 to 9 teams.   

Outstanding achievement 

  • NSW State Award. NBSC Manly Campus, NSW: Mason Lowe, Oscar Pritchard, Andrius Alcazar & Mitchell Rose, with advisor Noroja Rouzbehi 
  • QLD State Award. Brisbane Boys’ College, QLD: Hemish Dubey, Joshua Liew, Llewellyn Hosking and Junpeng Huang, with advisor Heather Meinecke 

Meritorious achievement 

  • St Joseph’s College, QLD: Max Beckmann, Jonathan Jesuthasan, Alexander Richards & Ben Zhang, with advisor Noel Covill 

Honourable mention 

  • James Ruse Agricultural High, NSW: Aerina Lee, Katie Lu, Jason Jung & Jay-Yun Yi, with advisor Kin Ng 
  • James Ruse Agricultural High, NSW: Chesandu Hewapathiranage, Ian Shen, Inesh Upadyay & Aurelien Xu with advisor Kin Ng 

National finalists 

  • WA State Award. Perth Modern School, WA: Ishika Balram, Beatrice Chong, Anoushka Gupta & James Ji, with advisor Isaac Kigodi 
  • Vic State Award. John Monash Science School, Vic.: Joel Tan, Paul Shen, Jonathan Chen & Jill Xu, with advisor Shane McLean 
  • James Ruse Agricultural High, NSW: Marshall Zhang, Victor Yuan, Alex Lu & Jerome Shin, with advisor Kin Ng 
  • Presbyterian Ladies College, Sydney, NSW: Anastasia Prokhorov, Zara Howard-Jones, Zhiyuan Julia Fang & Ella Figliuzzi, with advisor Gavin Sinclair 
  • The King’s School, NSW: Johnson Tang, Tom Hanley, Asha Keshavarz & Max Burykin, with advisor Kathryn Fisher 
  • James Ruse Agricultural High, NSW: Ian Park, Dominic Sun, Andrew Yang & Kris Alangatmadam, with advisor Kin Ng 
  • Smith's Hill High School, NSW: Catherine Yang, Fangfang Guo, Yuanyuan Guo & Adam Elgendy, with advisor Dean Jones 

Special mention 

  • Top entrant Junior Secondary. Whitsunday Anglican School, QLD: Yenuli Senanayaka, Sethmi Piyathilaka, Ayesha Syed & Alayna Lewis, with advisor Michelle Binney 

Subscribe to the Discover newsletter

Privacy policy