M3 Challenge Expands as Enthusiasm Grows

December 13, 2007

Moody's Mega Math Challenge is an Internet-based math competition for high school students that 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 Challenge, now in its third year, has received enthusiastic feedback from students and educators in the New York City metropolitan area, and will expand in 2008 to include metropolitan Boston and Philadelphia and the surrounding areas, almost tripling the amount of eligible students. Funded by The Moody's Foundation and organized by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), the M3 Challenge will award $65,000 in scholarships in 2008.

"We are very excited about the expansion and our ability to expose even more students to math modeling as an important problem-solving tool," said Michelle Montgomery, Project Director. "We are anticipating that about 300 teams will participate this year, about 1500 students, and we would be thrilled if we get more than that." Montgomery added that the contest encourages creativity and critical thinking, characteristics that are "key criteria for the 21st century work force."

The increasing national concern over the trend toward fewer young people studying and pursuing careers related to math and science was a major motivation to organize the M3 Challenge. "Our goal, and the goal of the competition, is to motivate high school students to think about solving real-world problems using applied mathematics," said Frances G. Laserson, President, The Moody's Foundation. "We want to increase students' interest in pursuing math-related studies and careers in college and beyond."

The 2008 Challenge weekend will be held March 8 and 9. On their selected Challenge day, teams of three to five students will download the Challenge problem from the M3 Challenge website, and then work independently for 14 hours to solve an open-ended, realistic, applied math-modeling problem focused on real-world issues. "Moody's Mega Math Challenge creates an exciting and dynamic opportunity for students to apply mathematics to an open-ended problem while negotiating the intricacies of a competitive team environment," said Randy Asher, Principal, Brooklyn Technical High School. "The Challenge also allows industry professionals to help shape the experiences of talented students and to potentially influence the path of those who will shape the field of mathematics in the years to come."

The 2006 Challenge problem compelled teams to intermingle economic, social, and political issues while using applied math techniques to "Solve the Social Security Stalemate." The 2007 problem required teams to maximize net profit from the stock market and, in effect, "Beat the Street" using applied mathematics and modeling techniques. The 2008 Challenge teams will have no knowledge of the problem until they download it from the M3 Challenge website on Challenge weekend.

More information on Moody's Mega Math Challenge 2008 can be found at http://m3challenge.siam.org.

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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 http://philanthropy.moodys.com.

Moody's Corporation (NYSE: MCO), an essential component of the global capital markets, provides credit ratings, research, tools and analysis that contribute to stable, transparent and integrated financial markets. Moody'sCorporation is the parent company of Moody's Investors Service and Moody's Analytics, encompassing Moody's non-ratings businesses. With revenues of $2.3 billion in 2007, Moody's employs approximately 3,600 people worldwide and maintains a presence in 27 countries. Further information is available at www.moodys.com.

About the Organizer
The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), headquartered in Philadelphia, PA, is an international society of over 11,000 individual members. These include applied and computational mathematicians and computer scientists, as well as other scientists and engineers. Members are researchers, educators, students, and practitioners from 85 countries in industry, government, laboratories, and academia. The Society, which also includes more than 500 academic and corporate institutional members, 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. SIAM provides many opportunities for students including regional sections and student chapters. Further information is available at www.siam.org.


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