Dr. Leon Seitelman moderates judging in Moody’s Mega Math Challenge

Dr. Leon Seitelman moderates judging in Moody’s Mega Math Challenge

April 25, 2007

Dr. Leon Seitelman, a resident of Glastonbury, Connecticut, and a longtime advocate for educational issues, recently moderated the judging for Moody's Mega Math (M3) Challenge 2007, an Internet-based applied mathematics competition that required teams of high school students in the New York metropolitan area to solve an open-ended, realistic, challenging modeling problem focused on real-world issues, in one day. On April 18, 2007, the contest awarded a total of $65,000 in college scholarships to 52 high school junior and seniors.

Dr. Seitelman, who acted as head judge and moderator for the competition, was instrumental in developing the groundwork for the M3 Challenge. In conjunction with the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) and co-consultant Dr. Ben Fusaro, Seitelman formulated processes for the contest, with particular emphasis on problem development and judging.

This year's Beat the Street! problem required participants to build and test a model for selecting investments. The teams were asked to maximize net profit from the stock market and in effect beat Wall Street using applied mathematics and modeling techniques.

Judging for the Challenge featured a rigorous, intense, three-step process by professional and Ph.D.-holding applied mathematicians and modelers. The judging sequence began in March with a group of 10 math professionals doing "triage" judging. More than 150 solution papers underwent multiple readings, after which about one-third of the papers advanced to a second round of judging. The "round two" judging, in which Seitelman acted as Head Judge, involved more intensive additional readings of each paper, and resulted in convergence to a tentative ranking of winners. Finally, members of the top six teams were required to present their winning solutions to a panel of professional applied mathematicians, at the Moody's Corporation headquarters during validation judging. The presentations and validation process, in which Seitelman acted as moderator, then determined the final rank of winning papers. Until the presentation round, judging was blind.

Based in New York City, The Moody's Foundation sponsors all of the scholarship prizes (totaling $65,000) as well as the promotion and administration of the contest and the judging process. Further information is available at www.philanthropy.moodys.com.

The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, organizes and administers Moody's Mega Math Challenge. SIAM is an international community of more than 11,000 individual members. Further information is available at www.siam.org.

Throughout his 30-year career at United Technologies Corporation, Seitelman worked on a broad spectrum of mathematical problems associated with computer-aided design, analysis and manufacturing, economic modeling and engineering analysis, and optimization. Seitelman also worked for 20 years with the Wesleyan University-based Project to Improve Mastery of Mathematics and Science (PIMMS), a pioneering K-12 education effort; taught at the University of Connecticut, Trinity College, and Rensselaer at Hartford; developed the SIAM Visiting Lecturer Program; and was instrumental in the founding of the Mathematical Contest in Modeling for collegians, conceived and developed by Dr. Fusaro.


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