Math in the Media

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Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Mathematicians Find Problems With New System for Scoring Figure Skating,"by Richard Monastersky. The Chronicle ofHigher Education, 31 January 2003, page A16.

As a result of the pairs figure skating scoring scandal, the InternationalSkating Union adopted a new method of scoring. With the new method, not everyjudge's scores are counted. Instead, scores are selected at random (bycomputer). The Union hopes that the uncertainty about whether a judge's scorewill be chosen will remove the incentive for bribery. Mathematicians Elyn K.Rykken, Maureen T. Carroll, and Jody M. Sorensen think the new system is worsethan the one it replaced. They say that the new system is "unfair andcapricious" and that with the new system, scoring will be more susceptible tocollusion by a block of judges. The three presented their research at therecent Joint Mathematics Meeting in Baltimore and have published an article onthe new scoring system in the February 2003 issue of Math Horizons.

--- Mike Breen