Students at Davidson College are using linear equations to predict NCAA Tournament winners.
DAVIDSON, N.C. - In a world where supercomputer Watson can beat brilliant human opponents on Jeopardy...could students at Davidson College use equations to pick the winners of the NCAA Basketball Tournament?
Students in professor Tim Chartier's math modeling class are attempting to answer that question, using complex equations and the results are impressive.
Last year, Martin's bracket ranked in the top 99.9% of over 5 million submitted to the online competition.
"I incorporate home & away so you get more credit for winning when you're away. Margin of victory but only in a bucket style. There area close wins, medium wins and there are blowouts and you get more credit for blowouts," says Martin.
Those weights are put into linear equations like the ones learned in high school algebra. Instead of solving x+y = 2 & x-2y =10, computers are used to solved hundreds of equations.
Senior Kelly Davis has admitted to her classmates she doesn't follow college basketball, but says she is confident in her math.
"When I ask questions about it they realize I don't know very much. They're like 'there's no way way your bracket is going to do very well' until I whip out my results and then they stop talking (laughs)."
Professor Chartier says he doesn't grade his students based on bracket success.
"However Ben & Jerry's has a prize of free cone coupons (for a year) which seems to get more response than a grade. (laughs)."