Math modelling tackles global issues

10 Jul, 2019
international mathematical modelling challenge 2019’
international mathematical modelling challenge 2019

A year 13 team of four students has clinched a spot at the International Mathematical Modelling Challenge awards presentation in Hong Kong as one of the top five teams in the world.

Using mathematical modelling they determined Earth’s current carrying capacity for human life, and proposed solutions to extend it in the future. Using current measures they found the current carrying capacity to be 8.02 billion – not significantly more than the current global population of 7.5 billion.

Auckland University of Technology senior mathematics lecturer Kerri Spooner says the team’s solution was praised by the judges for its clarity and simplicity. “The Manurewa High School team did a fantastic job of using mathematical modelling techniques in a clear, well-thought out manner to address the challenge. Our judges felt they’d learned something reading through their report and we’re thrilled they will attend the award ceremony in Hong Kong as one of the top five teams in the world.”

The International Mathematical Modelling Challenge is for high school students all over the world, and for New Zealand entries, is administered by Kerri Spooner at AUT. This is the fourth year New Zealand teams have competed, and the first time a New Zealand team has been awarded in the top five. The team from Manurewa High school; Aimee Lew, Aaron Lew, Ella Guiao and John Chen, will travel to Hong Kong for the conference and presentation from the 23 July.

The challenge takes place during the first quarter of every year, and Ms Spooner says she looks forward to even more schools taking part. “This is the perfect example of mathematical modelling being used to solve some of the huge, real-life issues that face the human race.”

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