Einstein Science Reporting for Kids
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3-Apr-2007

Contact: Michelle Montgomery
m3challenge@siam.org
215-382-9800 x 368
Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics

Top 6 Teams in Moody's Mega Math Challenge 2007 will present their winning solutions April 18 in NYC

March 30, 2007 Look out Wall Street! In the final showdown of the Moody's Mega Math Challenge 2007 competition, six teams of high school students will present their winning solutions to this year's problem, "Beat the Street!" to a panel of professional applied mathematicians on April 18 at Moody's Corporation headquarters in New York City. The judges will decide the final ranking of papers, which will determine the prize amount for each team. Prizes, which range from $2,500 to $20,000 in scholarships, are provided by The Moody's Foundation. The presentations will be followed by an awards ceremony at which the final prizes will be announced. Members of all six teams are guaranteed to win team prizes.

The six teams in contention for the top prizes represent the following schools:

  • Walt Whitman High School, Huntington Station, NY

  • High Technology High School, Lincroft, NJ

  • Great Neck North High School, Great Neck, NY

  • Manalapan High School, Manalapan, NJ (two teams)

  • St. Peter's Preparatory School, Jersey City, NJ

In addition, five teams were awarded Honorable Mention team prizes in the amount of $1,000 each. These teams represent the following schools:

  • Sayville High School, West Sayville, NJ

  • NYC Lab School, New York, NY

  • St. Peter's Preparatory School, Jersey City, NJ

  • Governor Livingston High School, Berkeley Heights, NJ

  • Horace Greeley High School, Chappaqua, NY

Only high school juniors and seniors in the New York City metropolitan area were eligible to participate in the competition in 2007.

"As a judge of the top 52 papers, I was very impressed with the originality and level of sophistication of the solutions," said James Crowley, Executive 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 City 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 professional applied mathematician and a member of SIAM, the organizer of the competition.

Stephanie Pepper, an M3 Challenge team coach and a teacher from Manalapan High School, is ecstatic that her school has the distinction of having two teams in the top six that will present on April 18. Says Pepper, "We prepared a lot, and continue to prepare now for the presentations. We have experience from last year (her teams took the "Exemplary" $5000 prize plus a $1000 "Honorable Mention" prize in 2006). We had 27 kids who were eager and enthusiastic to be on a team this year. Due to the limit of two teams of up to five students each per school, we limited team selection first to seniors (12 kids) then drew names from a hat to get down to the maximum of 10 students making up both teams. There was disappointment." Pepper credits the Science and Engineering Learning Center at Manalapan, which students must test into, with providing "the advanced, condensed, and accelerated coursework and project experience that motivates the students to salivate over a contest such as Mood y's Mega Math Challenge."

"The teams that participate are made up of smart, hard working kids," commented Michelle Montgomery, M3 Challenge Project Director. "They understand that there is preliminary research to be done, many parameters to consider, assumptions to be made, models to be built, testing to be done, and summaries and conclusions to be drawn. They had to work as a team and complete their paper within 14 hours. These students know that although there may not be one ultimate answer, but there can be a great answer that is firmly supported by well-reasoned and consistent approaches. This is what the M3 organizers mean when they emphasize that the problem will always be open-ended, realistic, and challenging," she added.

Funded by the Moody's Foundation and organized by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), the Internet-based 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. The competition features a rigorous, intense judging process by professional applied and Ph.D.-holding applied mathematicians and modelers. It includes multiple readings of each paper and convergence by a panel of judges to a tentative ranking of winners prior to their presentations and validation of authenticity, which will determine the final rank of winning papers.

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View the 2007 Challenge problem at http://m3challenge.siam.org/m3challenge_problem_07.pdf.

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 Investors Service, a leading provider of credit ratings, research and analysis covering debt instruments and securities in the global capital markets, Moody's KMV, a leading provider of credit risk processing and credit risk management products for banks and investors in credit-sensitive assets serving the world's largest financial institutions, and Moody's Economy.com, a provider of economic research and data services. The corporation, which reported revenue of $1.7 billion in 2005, employs approximately 2,900 people worldwide and maintains offices in 22 countries. Further information is available at http://philanthropy.moodys.com.

SIAM, headquartered in Philadelphia, PA, is an international community of over 11,000 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.