High School Students Use Math to Solve Country’s Key Issues

High School Students Use Math to Solve Country’s Key Issues

Six high school teams to present solutions to get government’s proposed high-speed rail program back on track at unique Moody’s Mega Math (M3) Challenge

April 16, 2012

New York, NY – Members of Congress debating the country's proposed new high-speed rail program may want to take advice from an unlikely source: High school students. 

Nearly 5,000 eleventh and twelfth-graders from the Eastern United States have been sharpening their pencils to come up with a winning mathematical formula to salvage the Department of Transportation's planned High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) program – a hot topic in Congress due to the success of North America's only high speed rail line, Amtrak's Acela Express. From recommending the best regions for establishing high speed rail lines as part of a nationwide network to predicting ridership numbers, cost of implementation and effects of such a program on foreign-energy dependence, teams of three to five students put the problem-solving skills they learned in the classroom to the test.

It's all part of a one-of-a-kind contest, called Moody's Mega Math (M3) Challenge, organized by the Philadelphia, PA-based Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) and sponsored by The Moody's Foundation, headquartered in New York, NY. Designed to spotlight the relevancy and power of mathematics in solving real-world issues – as well as motivate students to consider further education and careers in math – the challenge gave participants 14 hours to study the issue in question, collect data, and devise models before uploading their solutions online in the form of a research paper. 

Now, the nearly 1,000 teams that participated in the contest have been narrowed down to the top six. Each team will vie for the top spot in the contest as well as a share of $115,000 in scholarship prizes that is up for grabs. 

The finalists will present their solutions to a panel of professional applied mathematicians at the following event: 

WHAT: 7th Annual Moody's Mega Math (M3) Challenge Team Presentations, Awards Ceremony and News Conference 

WHEN: Thursday, April 26, 2012 

TIME: Team Presentations begin at 1:30 p.m. News Conference and Awards Ceremony begin at 4:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served. 

WHO: High Technology High School, Lincroft, New Jersey 
Hunterdon Central Regional High School, Flemington, New Jersey 
Nashoba Regional High School, Bolton, Massachusetts 
NC School of Science and Mathematics, Durham, North Carolina 
Pine View School, Osprey, Florida 
Staples High School, Westport, Connecticut

WHERE: The Moody's Corporation, Manhattan Headquarters 7 World Trade Center at 250 Greenwich Street (next door to 9/11 Memorial)

Members of the media are invited to attend the event any time as of 1:30 p.m. Excellent visual and interview opportunities will be available. For more information about the Moody's Mega Math (M3) Challenge, visit m3challenge.siam.org. To access this year's challenge problem, visit /pdf/m3challenge_problem_12.pdf. 

Media information, to set up interviews, or to register for the event: Karthika Muthukumaraswamy Ph: 267-350-6383
Fax: 215-387-5494/ 215-386-7999 
E-mail: karthika@siam.org

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