Dr. Ben Fusaro, FSU math professor, directs judging in Moody’s Mega Math Challenge

Dr. Ben Fusaro, FSU math professor, directs judging in Moody’s Mega Math Challenge

May 3, 2007

Dr. Ben Fusaro, adjunct professor of mathematics in the Department of Mathematics at Florida State University and a longtime advocate for educational issues, recently directed the judging for Moody's Mega Math (M3) Challenge 2007, an Internet-based applied mathematics competition that requires 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.

This year's problem, authored by Fusaro and titled "Beat the Street!" 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.

Members of the top six teams were required to present their winning solutions to a panel of professional applied mathematicians, including Fusaro, at the Moody's Corporation headquarters during validation judging. 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 last month with a group of 10 math professionals doing "triage" judging at FSU. More than 150 solution papers underwent multiple readings, with judges eliminating about two thirds of the papers from further judging. The "round two" judging involved additional readings of each paper and convergence to a tentative ranking of winners. The presentations and validation process then determined the final rank of winning papers. Until the presentation round, judging was blind.

Dr. Fusaro, who is well-known for founding the Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM) for collegians, was instrumental in developing the groundwork for the M3 Challenge. Fusaro, in conjunction with the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) and co-consultant Dr. Leon Seitelman, has formulated processes for the contest, with particular emphasis on problem development and judging.

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.

 

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