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Topic: Teens Evaluate Likelihood of Success for Stimulus Act
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Jessica Stephenson

Posts: 40
Registered: 1/23/08
Teens Evaluate Likelihood of Success for Stimulus Act
Posted: Mar 10, 2009 11:02 AM
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Moody's Mega Math Challenge/SIAM

Jessica Stephenson

March 10, 2009


Teens Evaluate Likelihood of Success for Stimulus Act
Math Models Used to Predict Impact on Economy and Employment

This past Saturday and Sunday, March 7 and 8, nearly 2000 high school
juniors and seniors participated in Moody's Mega Math Challenge,
spending as many as 14 hours using mathematical techniques to evaluate
whether or not the stimulus package that President Obama signed into law
in February will in fact stimulate the U.S. economy. Doing well could
mean winning part of $80,000 in scholarship prizes, funded by The
Moody's Foundation.

The 2009 M3 Challenge problem, "$787 Billion: Will the Stimulus Act
Stimulate the U.S. Economy?
<> " called for student teams
to mathematically assess the elements of the package that are most
likely to produce the greatest improvements in employment. Teams
quantified their findings using mathematical modeling techniques,
developed and defended their models, and justified their conclusions.
They were required to gauge how quickly elements of the stimulus package
are expected to generate results, to ascertain how they will know if the
package is "working," and to indicate a confidence level in their
predictions. Additionally, they were asked to discuss whether a second
stimulus package would be needed, and if so, how large it should be and
how it should be structured. Finally, they were challenged to propose
other, better ways to stimulate the economy and increase U.S.

Close to 400 teams participated in the competition, an increase of about
60% over last year's pool of submissions. Schools in New England and
Mid-Atlantic states, from Maine to Washington, D.C., participated in
this entirely Internet-based contest. Teams of three to five students
were able to download the problem at 7:00 a.m. on their selected
Challenge day and had a deadline of 9:00 p.m. to upload their solution
papers. The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM)
organizes the competition from its headquarters in Philadelphia,

"The enthusiasm and energy that hundreds of high school teachers and
students have for this contest is immensely gratifying," says Michelle
Montgomery, Project Director for the M3 Challenge and Marketing Director
at SIAM. "The excitement about applying mathematics to real world
problems and the realization that you can use mathematics to do really
useful things is exactly in line with the mission of SIAM."

Challenge headquarters received approximately 400 viable solution
papers, which will undergo an extensive judging process during the next
eight weeks. 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
submissions are eliminated; the second phase further calibrates the
papers that are in contention for prizes, with the judges arriving at
and tentatively ranking the top 26 papers. Generally, 10 or more
professional applied Ph.D.-level mathematicians have read papers that
reach this phase. The third and final phase of judging involves
presentations by the top six teams at the Moody's Corporation
headquarters in Manhattan. These presentations will take place Tuesday,
May 5, immediately followed by the awards ceremony.

To see the 2009 Challenge problem visit

To see if your local high school participated in the M3 Challenge go to

For more information on the Challenge, visit
About the Challenge
Moody's Mega Math 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
<> .

Awards and Recognition: 2009 ASAE Associations Advance America (AAA)
Award of Excellence
<> ; 2008 Excellence
Award, <> Committee
Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP)
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
<> .
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 <> .
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 <> .

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