Two teams from the University of Macau (UM) recently won a first prize and a second prize, respectively, in the Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling (ICM) 2021 in the United States. The event was held concurrently with the Mathematical Contest in Modeling. 7 per cent of teams have won a first prize and 18 per cent of teams have won a second prize. UM is the only higher education institution in Macao to have won a first prize in this competition. The event attracted over 26,000 teams from around the world. Since its debut in the contests in 2015, the university has won more than ten awards.
This year’s contests attracted a total of 26,112 teams from more than 20 countries and regions, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, and Australia. The contest consisted of six questions, covering topics such as operational research and network science, environmental science, and related policy. The UM team picked questions related to environmental science and proposed a way to optimise the world’s food system by constructing a mathematical model to reduce the inequitable distribution of food worldwide, with the aim of reducing the proportion of people suffering from hunger worldwide. The first prize-winning team consisted of Huang Siqi and Ye Junwen from the Faculty of Business Administration (FBA) and Yang Guangpu from the Faculty of Social Sciences. The second prize-winning team is formed by Pan Shijie and Chen Yuhua from the Faculty of Science and Technology (FST) and Lin Yuxin from the FBA. The students’ instructor is Liu Zhi, an associate professor in the Department of Mathematics of the FST.
The Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM) and the Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling (ICM) are held concurrently. Since 1985, 38 MCMs and 23 ICMs have been held and they are the first modelling competitions in the world. The two events are sponsored by the American Federation of Mathematics and its Applications, and supported by organisations such as the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, the National Security Agency in the United States, and the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.
The Department of Mathematics of the FST attaches importance to the development of students’ ability in interdisciplinary mathematical modelling and data analysis. In addition to offering a mathematical modelling course and encouraging students from different disciplines to participate in contests, the department also established a mathematical modelling advisory committee comprised of professors and provided support to students in the establishment of the Mathematics and Interdisciplinary Modeling Association under the UM Students’ Union. Teams from UM have won awards in various modelling competitions over the years, reflecting the success of the department’s modelling training for students from different disciplines. In addition, the department continues to extend its teaching efforts to secondary schools in Macao, and has conducted training in mathematical modelling for a number of schools. It will continue to nurture the next generation of mathematical modelling talent in the future.