466 teams + 2086 students = M3 Challenge 2009

March 3, 2009

Teens to vie for scholarships this weekend in Moody's Mega Math Challenge

Instead of sleeping in this weekend like most American teenagers, 2086 high school juniors and seniors will get up before 7:00 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday--to do math. Why? How does winning a share of $80,000 in scholarship prizes sound?

Four hundred sixty-six teams, each consisting of three to five students, will gather in kitchens, libraries, cafés, and classrooms--actually anywhere they choose--to solve an applied math-modeling problem based on a real-world issue. The topic is entirely unknown until they download the problem at 7:00 a.m. on March 7 or 8, whichever day they selected at registration. Using any free, publicly available, and 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 they will upload to the Challenge website. The goal of this entirely Internet-based Challenge is to increase interest in and encourage high school students to pursue math-related studies and careers.

The M3 Challenge began in 2006 in metropolitan New York City and the surrounding areas and now encompasses the entire Northeast, i.e. all New England and Mid-Atlantic states, from Maine to Washington, D.C. Upwards of 1,000 teams comprised of over 4700 students have been involved in Moody's Mega Math Challenge since its inception and have competed for close to $300,000 in scholarship prizes.

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 that are in contention for prizes, with the judges arriving at and ranking the top 26 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 Tuesday, May 5, 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 2009 Registered Schools list found on http://m3challenge.siam.org/media/.

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 $80,000 in 2009. 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 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. Complete details, sample problems, and archives of previous winners and Challenge events are available at http://m3challenge.siam.org.

The Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) awarded Moody's Corporation a 2008 Excellence Award for Moody's Mega Math Challenge, citing the company's "sophisticated giving program that encourages students to develop a passion for mathematics, economics, and finance."

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's Corporation 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 12,000 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 nearly 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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