M3 Challenge 2011: the numbers behind the numbers

M3 Challenge 2011: the numbers behind the numbers

February 28, 2011

717 teams + 3,252 students in 18 states

3,252 high-school students from Maine through Florida will spend this week speculating on the nature of the real-world problem they will try to solve this weekend. The possibility of winning thousands of dollars in prize money will be just one of many motivators as they hone their math, critical thinking, and team-building skills in preparation for Moody's Mega Math (M3) Challenge 2011.

717 teams from over 500 high schools have registered for this year's M3 Challenge, which takes place March 5-6, 2011.

Designed to pique high-schoolers' interest in real-world mathematics, the Internet-based Challenge gives participants 14 hours to solve a genuine problem--be it social, political, financial, or otherwise relevant to their lives--using applications of mathematics. The problem is completely unknown to teams until they log in on their chosen day during Challenge weekend. Teams may download the problem at 7:00 a.m. and have until 9:00 p.m. that night to research the topic, gather data, develop assumptions and analyses, establish mathematical models, and present their findings, using help from any free, publicly available, and inanimate sources of information.

Once all of the teams upload their solutions, the work begins for more than 80 PhD-level mathematicians, whose job it is to read and pare down the hundreds of submissions to just the very best that qualify for prizes. Judging occurs in three stages. An initial triage phase eliminates at least two-thirds of the total number of submissions, followed by a second stage that calibrates the remaining papers to identify the most outstanding. About 40 teams will be distinguished with prizes. The final rank order of the top six teams is determined at the third stage, which involves in-person presentations at Moody's Corporation headquarters in Manhattan on Thursday, April 28. Winners receive scholarship prizes totaling $100,000 at an awards ceremony immediately following their presentations.

From its inaugural year in 2006 when it included just New York City and surrounding areas, the M3 Challenge has grown to encompass the entire East Coast. In 2012, eleven more states are expected to be eligible to compete, bringing the total number of participating states to 29. More than 2,300 teams comprising over 10,000 students have competed for almost half a million dollars in scholarship prizes in the past six years.

Check out if your school is a part of the M3 Challenge this year!

Go to the link below to view a list of participating teams by state and county:


About the Sponsor

The Moody's Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to supporting a variety of nonprofit education, health and human services, civic, and arts and culture programs. Established by Moody's Corporation in 2001, the Foundation's primary area of giving is secondary and higher education with a focus on mathematics, economics, and finance. Further information is available at philanthropy.moodys.com.

Moody's is an essential component of the global capital markets, providing credit ratings, research, tools and analysis that contribute to transparent and integrated financial markets. Moody's Corporation is the parent company of Moody's Investors Service and Moody's Analytics, which encompasses the growing array of Moody's non-ratings businesses. The Corporation, which reported revenue of $1.8 billion in 2009, employs approximately 4,100 people worldwide and maintains a presence in 26 countries. Further information is available at www.moodys.com.

About the Organizer

The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), headquartered in Philadelphia, serves and advances the disciplines of applied mathematics and computational science by publishing a variety of books and prestigious peer-reviewed research journals, by conducting conferences, and by hosting activity groups in various areas of mathematics. It is an international society of over 13,000 applied and computational mathematicians and computer scientists, as well as other scientists and engineers. Members are researchers, educators, students, and practitioners from 90 countries working in industry, government, laboratories, and academia. The Society, which also includes nearly 500 academic and corporate institutional members, SIAM provides many opportunities for students including regional sections and student chapters. Further information is available at www.siam.org.

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Challenge flyers and documents