Contest Illustrates Importance of Statistics, Probability Courses
Morteza Marzjarani, Saginaw Valley State University
Each year, American Computing Machinery (ACM) and IBM sponsor a worldwide computer programming contest, which begins with regional contests. The east central North America region held its contest on October 31, 2009.
Participating were 115 teams drawn from 60 colleges and universities throughout western Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, eastern Ontario, and Indiana (excluding the greater Chicago metropolitan area). The contestants solved eight problems in five hours. Each team consisted of three students under 25 years old.
This year, one of the problems was called “The Price Is Right Cover Up,” in which students had to find the probability of winning using optimal strategy. Click here to read the contest problem.
This problem was the deciding factor for the top-ranked contestants, making clear the need to emphasize probability and statistics courses to nonmajors. These courses are required by most disciplines, and in most colleges and universities, probability and statistics courses are part of the general education program. Therefore, statisticians have the opportunity to make sure nonmajors are aware of the importance of statistics and probability courses.
More information about the contest and a list of final standings for all teams can be found here.