Background and Logistics Questions

What is Modeling the Future Challenge?

The Modeling The Future Challenge (MTF) is a new academic challenge hosted by The Actuarial Foundation (TAF) with design and operations support from The Institute of Competition Sciences. The premise is simple. Each year a technology topic area is selected and students are challenged to develop and present their own mathematical models describing how they envision the new technology or industry will change the future.

Who can participate in the challenge?

High school students who are taking junior or senior level mathematics classes such as statistics, probability, pre-calc, calculus or other similar high-level math classes are eligible. For exact eligibility requirements please see: https://www.mtfchallenge.org/challenge-details/eligibility/

Is this an individual or team challenge?

Submissions can be the work of one to five students.

What does it take to enter?

The competition consists of three phases. First, teams must successfully pass an introductory Scenario Response phase. Successful teams passing the scenario responses will then identify and characterize one way that they think the technology theme could change the future for the Research & Report phase.  Teams must submit a written report describing their mathematical models and the changes they expect to see. The report must be backed up by mathematical analysis and projections. Finally, teams selected as finalists will be brought to the MTF Symposium to present their research to a panel of actuarial judges for the final $55,000 scholarship award purse! For specific details on the  competition process see: https://www.mtfchallenge.org/the-competition/

How do I sign up?

First register for the MTF Email Newsletter to receive updates on the challenge. Then, once the registration period has opened, follow the directions here to officially register your team for the competition.

How much does it cost?

It is absolutely FREE.

What can I win?

$55,000 in college scholarships from The Actuarial Foundation are available. In addition, students selected as finalists will be invited to participate in the Modeling the Future Symposium where they will have one-of-a-kind experiences to meet and learn from actuarial professionals about the career opportunities and benefits of being an actuary. Airfare and lodging will be provided to all students and one coach for each finalist team. Teachers can also earn funding for their classroom through The Actuarial Foundation's math grants and at least $5,000 in educator awards!

Do students need a teacher to submit?

Every submission needs an official adult "coach" to help guide students through the process and access Modeling the Future Mentors and other resources. Your coach can be any adult 18+ years old. It could be your parent, after-school club leader, teacher or any other adult adviser.

When does the challenge start?

Initial information about the challenge topic is up online now, but additional resources will be made available to registered educators and students throughout the year. See this page to view specific deadlines and milestones: https://www.mtfchallenge.org/challenge-details/timeline/

How many submissions do you expect?

It is always difficult to judge the final number of submissions. The best reference we have is of past experience, and in the inaugural year of the competition (2017-2018), 52 teams participated in the competition. We encourage all high school juniors and seniors to test their hand at modeling the future for a shot at the scholarship awards.

Is this a national competition?

Yes, students from across the United States are eligible for the MTF Challenge.

Why should I enter this competition?

By participating in the MTF Challenge you will gain an experience that opens new perspectives, technologies and opportunities. You will be learning about one of the most innovative technologies of our time, have a chance to learn valuable skills that could lead to great new college and career opportunities for you. You will also learn about what it would be like if you were an actuary and why being an actuary can be a great career option for all kinds of students. Even becoming recognized as a semi-finalist or finalist can go a long way towards providing future college and career opportunities. Pursuing mathematical college majors and careers can give students and edge in terms of job availability, satisfaction, and salaries! The Modeling the Future Challenge scholarships can help with tuition costs. And on top of all of that, you will have the shot at $55,000 in college scholarships!

Who hosts this competition?

The Actuarial Foundation, whose mission is to enhance math education and financial literacy through the talents and resources of actuaries, has created this competition for junior and senior high school students across the United States. The challenge is managed by the Institute of Competition Sciences, a global leader in challenge-based-learning.

What is an Actuary?

Actuaries use math, analytical skills, business knowledge and human behavior to manage some of the complex risks facing businesses and our society. For more information on the actuarial profession, please visit www.beanactuary.org


Challenge Topic & Content Questions

What kind of mathematical models do students typically generate and what kind of models are atypical? Are computational models such as machine learning and simulations encouraged, typical, or outright not included?

There are times when linear or multi-linear regression should be used. Indeed, actuaries use these as well as logistic or Poisson regression, which are particular types of generalized linear models. Almost all 2017-18 MTF Challenge teams used linear regression models; however, they are not the only acceptable models. Certainly, machine learning models and simulations (e.g. monte carlo or markov chain simulations) could also be appropriate and acceptable. There are applications for actuaries using these models - for instance, simulations are frequently developed from stochastic models to evaluate hurricane risk.


Have another question you would like to ask about the challenge topic or content? Email us at: challenge@mtfchallenge.org