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New Actuaries Say Mathematica Is "a Wonderful Way to Learn"

December 14, 2000--Wolfram Research and ACTEX Publications, Inc. have collaborated to produce a new edition of their interactive, computer-based reference on actuarial models and the modeling process for use by members and test takers of the Society of Actuaries (SOA) and the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS). Actuaries are professionals trained in math, statistics, calculus, economics, and probability who apply their skills to the assessment of risk in financial fields such as investments, insurance, and employee benefits. To become an associate member of either society, one must successfully complete a series of comprehensive examinations for which the societies publish a list of required, as well as recommended, reading and preparation materials.

ACTEX is a publisher of many of the professional and exam-preparation materials used by the society's members and test takers. The new CD-ROM, titled An Introduction to Actuarial Models and Modeling: An Interactive Approach, is used primarily by actuarial students preparing for the Course 3 and 4 Examinations, which are coadministered by the SOA and the CAS. It is a uniquely potent product that combines the expertise and name recognition that ACTEX has built up over more than 25 years in actuarial exam study and preparation with the unrivaled computational power and leading-edge technology of Mathematica.

Professor Bruce Jones, a Fellow of the SOA who occupies the Richter Chair of Actuarial Science at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, conceived of and wrote the study guide. Says Jones, "The actuarial education system relies heavily on self-study. However, many of the important ideas in modeling are difficult to appreciate without hands-on exposure to them. This interactive product allows one to achieve this in a self-study setting." The guide gives the SOA, the CAS, and their members access to an integrated technical computing system in a straightforward way so that they may be exposed to the utility and flexibility of Mathematica as a professional tool.

The interactive study guide, based on a full Mathematica kernel, was initially released last year. The revised version uses a fully customized kernel and user interface, and the accompanying examples and documentation have been updated as well. Denise Rosengrant from Mad River Books says, "Overall, users have found this to be a very good study aid." Some students have found the CD-ROM to be a great supplement to the texts for Exam 3 because "it makes clear much of the material through visuals and interactive use."

The interactive CD-ROM is currently available only through Mad River Books. A complete listing of ACTEX publications is also available.