Top six teams in Moody’s Mega Math Challenge to present their winning solutions on April 5

Top six teams in Moody’s Mega Math Challenge to present their winning solutions on April 5

March 30, 2006

They registered for the contest. They downloaded the problem. They worked all day on either March 4 or 5. They uploaded their solution papers addressing the Moody's Mega Math Challenge problem "Solving the Social Security Stalemate." Then they waited for the results. On April 5, in the final showdown of the inaugural math competition, six of the 129 participating teams of 3-5 students will present their winning solutions to a panel of professional applied mathematicians, who will decide the final ranking of the papers. Members of all six teams are guaranteed to win team prizes ranging from $1,000 to $20,000 in scholarships. Final judging will take place at the Moody's Corporation headquarters in New York City, followed by an awards ceremony at which the final prizes will be announced.

The six teams in contention for the top prizes are from the following schools: Great Neck North High School, Great Neck, NY; Herricks High School, New Hyde Park, NY; High Technology High School, Lincroft, NJ; Immaculata High School, Somerville, NJ; Manalapan High School, Manalapan, NJ; and Staples High School, Westport, CT. Only high school juniors and seniors in the New York metropolitan area were eligible to participate in the competition.

"As a judge of the top 45 papers, I was very impressed with the originality and level of sophistication of the solutions," said James Crowley, Director of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). "Our hope is that this contest will have a positive impact on mathematically talented kids in the New York metropolitan area, perhaps even encouraging them to study or pursue careers in applied math," he added. Crowley, along with all the panel judges, is a member of SIAM, the organizer of the competition.

Feedback from both students and teacher coaches indicates that while some teams were disappointed with the problem due to its perceived lack of pure math, the majority of teams enjoyed the problem, commenting that it was "thought-provoking" and "something everyone can relate to." Several teams felt that the intermingling of economic, social, and political issues made for a great learning experience. "The teams that ‘got it' really rose to the task," commented Michelle Montgomery, M3 Challenge Project Manager. "They understood that although there were many parameters to consider, that was what the M3 organizers meant when they emphasized that the problem would be open-ended, realistic, and challenging" she added.

View the 2006 Challenge problem at /pdf/M3challenge_problem_06.pdf

Funded by the Moody's Foundation and organized by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), the competition spotlights applied mathematics as a powerful problem-solving tool, as a viable and exciting profession, and as a vital contributor to advances in an increasingly technical society. Both Moody's and SIAM have identified the pipeline of students choosing to study applied mathematics as an important investment of their resources. The Moody's Foundation is a charitable foundation established by Moody's Corporation. Moody's Corporation (NYSE: MCO) is the parent company of Moody's Investor Service, a leading provider of credit ratings, research, and analysis covering debt instruments and securities in the global capital markets, and Moody's KMV, the leading provider of market-based quantitative services for banks and investors in credit-sensitive assets serving the world's largest financial institutions. The corporation employs approximately 2,500 people worldwide and maintains offices in 19 countries. Further information is available at www.moodys.com.

SIAM, headquartered in Philadelphia, PA, is an international community of over 10,000 individual members, including applied and computational mathematicians, computer scientists, and other scientists and engineers. The Society advances these fields through a series of premier journals and a wide selection of conferences. With over 500 academic and corporate institutional members, SIAM serves 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. SIAM supports regional sections and student chapters that provide many opportunities for students. One of the primary goals of SIAM is to increase the pipeline of students into applied math studies and careers. More information about SIAM is available at www.siam.org.

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