287 teams + 1276 students = M3 Challenge 2008

March 5, 2008

Students go head to head this weekend in Moody's Mega Math Challenge

Instead of sleeping in this weekend, 1276 high school juniors and seniors will be getting up before 7:00 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday---to do math. Why? How does winning a share of $65,000 in Moody's Mega Math Challenge sound?

Two hundred eighty-seven teams, each consisting of three to five students, will gather in kitchens, libraries, and classrooms actually anywhere they choose to solve an applied math-modeling problem based on a real-world issue. They will not know the topic until they download the problem at 7:00 a.m. on March 8 or 9, whichever day they chose at registration. Using any inanimate sources of information to help them, teams will have until 9:00 p.m. that same night to research the problem, formulate assumptions, develop and test a model, analyze their findings, and summarize their response in a solution paper, which will be uploaded to the Challenge website. The goal of the entirely Internet-based Challenge is to encourage high school students to pursue math-related studies and careers.

In 2008, the Challenge expanded beyond the confines of the New York City metropolitan area to include more than 60 counties from lower New Hampshire through Wilmington, DE. In the 2006 Challenge, 142 teams with 572 students submitted viable solution papers; in 2007, 156 teams with 696 students competed.

Judging for the Challenge is blind, with teams known only to the judges by their unique team ID number. The judging occurs in three stages: first is a triage phase where two-thirds or more of the solution paper submissions are eliminated; the second phase further calibrates the papers, with the judges arriving at and ranking the top 11 papers. Generally, papers that reach this phase have been read by 10 or more professional applied Ph.D.-level mathematicians. The third and final phase of judging involves presentations by the top six teams at the Moody's Corporation headquarters in Manhattan. Those presentations will take place April 30, immediately followed by an awards ceremony.

Find out if your local high school is fielding a team in this weekend's competition by checking the list of registered teams by state and county at http://m3challenge.siam.org/pdf/registered_schools_08.pdf.

To see a list of eligible counties and participating teams or for more information about Moody's Mega Math Challenge, visit http://m3challenge.siam.org.

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About the Challenge
The M3 Challenge 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. Scholarship prizes total $65,000. The Challenge is entirely Internet-based and there are no entrance or participation fees. Each high school may enter up to two teams of three to five students each. Students choose which day they wish to work on Challenge weekend, March 8 or 9, and have 14 hours to solve an open-ended, realistic, applied math-modeling problem focused on real-world issues. Teams can work from any location they choose and can use any free and publicly available resources, but they may not discuss any aspect of the problem with, or seek help from, their coach or anyone other than their teammates. You can find complete details, sample problems, and archives of previous winners and Challenge events at http://m3challenge.siam.org.

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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