Students Assess Stimulus Package For Math Challenge

EDISON—Led by math teacher Benjamin Patiak, four students from The Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison took part in a 14-hour mathematical modeling competition on Saturday, March 7. 

Christopher Georgevich of Elizabeth, Saheela Ibraheem of Piscataway, Manish Kewalramani of Edison and Sahil Zubair of Scotch Plains competed against students from Connecticut, Delaware, D.C., Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Rhode Island, and local New Jersey schools including East Brunswick High School, Perth Amboy High School, Piscataway High School, Westfield High School, Summit High School and more.

Patiak explained that “the Wardlaw-Hartridge team was charged with the 2009 M3 problem: ‘$787 Billion: Will the Stimulus Act Stimulate the U.S. Economy?’ The W-H team determined which among the elements of the $787 billion package are most likely to produce improvements in employment. They also need to know how quickly these elements would produce results and if there is a need for a second stimulus package.”

The group decided to choose the six elements with highest proportion of the $787 budget: taxation cuts, healthcare, education and training, unemployment compensation, transportation and energy. They started projecting by using Regression Analysis of the unemployment rate. They predicted the number of jobs that can be created based on the average salary and the budget allocated for each element. From this number, they performed a series of regressions to come out with an equation to predict the GDP. It turned out that the package will yield a $364 billion gain in the annual adjusted GDP by 2012 when 91% of the $787 billion will be spent, according to Mr. Patiak.

Because of the thorough and rigorous judging process the team’s papers will go through, the judging round will be completed by April 3 and prize-winning teams will be notified by April 10. The top 6 teams will be required to present their papers in New York City on May 5 to determine the final ranking of those teams.

Georgevich said, “The challenge was an opportunity for me to apply what I learned this year to a problem that our country was presently facing. Instead of reading the predictions of experts, our group had the opportunity to make assumptions, derive an answer and demonstrate a model that was relevant.”

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