2013 HSNCT discussion

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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by High Dependency Unit »

setht wrote:
geolawyerman wrote:What was the final tossup?
Prompt! (By which I mean, are you asking about final tossup #1 or final tossup #2?)

-Seth
I am asking about what I'm assuming is final tossup #2, or the one with the Zimbabwe answer line.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

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HSNCT round 26 wrote:In this country, Mines Minister Obert Mpofu has clashed with Finance Minister Tendai Biti over revenue from the Marange diamond fields. Biti's party, which in 2013 launched its "Agenda for Real Transformation," is the Movement for Democratic Change, which in 2005 split into factions led by Arthur (*) Mutambara and Morgan Tsvangirai. For 10 points--name this African nation whose president is ZANU-PF party leader Robert Mugabe.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by Adventure Temple Trail »

Other things that seemed really hard: the Diels-Alder bonus in the semifinal and the "elimination" tossup were both too hard for high school. The ratio of people who learn to associate orgo words from packets to people who learn some organic chemistry precepts in AP Chem or post-AP chem classes is quite high, and the precepts learned by the latter group are still pretty rudimentary a lot of the time. Many theoretical math questions were also quite hard (I'm very sure that many teams don't know what eigenvalues or topology even are), but in this case I understand that the level of math ability on the best teams has gotten really astronomical due to overlap with contest math and the like; it's harder each year to balance "normal advanced math students" who cap out at curricular calculus with the really adventurous set who go beyond it. I'd be interested to see conversion stats for any/all math questions when they become available.

Speaking of math: I'm of the opinion that it's time for the math computation bonuses to depart from the HSNCT. Quite frankly, they're a penalizing distraction for most high-level teams. At this point in quizbowl's evolution, math comp has been eroding across the country - most good teams don't see computation all year at the competitive invitational tournaments in their local circuits, so those questions tend to screw over teams that are better or more well-situated in terms of quizbowl opportunities. Those who do see comp math before HSNCT (such as participants in MSHSAA) were still often failing to do tasks such as "multiply a 2 by 2 matrix" in five seconds (yes, I get that you could be faster and multiply entries to find the lower-left entry of a matrix multiplied by itself - general point still stands that it's very hard to calibrate these bonuses properly and fairly). We got rid of computation tossups several years ago to great effect; it's time to finish the job. (I think there is still a place for science or theoretical math questions whose answers can be derived using quantitative reasoning in 5 seconds even if a team doesn't have an answer down cold - e.g. the Foucault's pendulum bonus this year or the chem tossup on "1".)
Last edited by Adventure Temple Trail on Tue May 28, 2013 9:29 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by Cheynem »

A lot of times the gist of comp math bonuses is just to see if you know certain concepts. Maybe this is what Matt is alluding to, but perhaps asking for parts like "you would do six factorial" instead of actually asking you to do it might be an idea.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by The Dance of Sorrow »

This might've just been me, but I thought the Fleur de Lis tossup in packet 19 was incredibly transparent and am interested to see conversion data for it when it comes out.

I really appreciated what I perceived to be a greater amount of Jazz at this tournament than what I normally hear.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by vinteuil »

Cheynem wrote:A lot of times the gist of comp math bonuses is just to see if you know certain concepts. Maybe this is what Matt is alluding to, but perhaps asking for parts like "you would do six factorial" instead of actually asking you to do it might be an idea.
I love this idea, as long as it doesn't degenerate into "recite this obscure formula."
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by fryede »

bt_green_warbler wrote:
quizbowllee wrote:I did think, though, that the questions got progressively more difficult, even during the prelims. I'd be interested in seeing the eventual data to see if this was a trend with everyone, or just the perception of my teams.
This was not our intent; we would like all 27 rounds to be as close to consistently difficult as possible.
My scorekeeper (who has never and will never play quiz bowl) asked after Round 10 "It might be me, but you are having a lot more trouble pronouncing things. Are the questions getting harder or something?"

I also felt like Sunday morning got reset to 0 and then started getting gradually more difficult as the morning wore on.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by Eddie »

It could just be both players and moderators getting tired as the day goes on, then (hopefully) getting a refreshing night of sleep before Sunday.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by vinteuil »

I remember thinking that the a few tossups on Day II had pretty difficult answerlines for HS—Veronese and Type II error come to mind—but then I also remembered that there was a Monteverdi tossup (probably also on the way upper edge of HS difficulty) in Round I.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by Important Bird Area »

Golden-bellied Starfrontlet wrote:This might've just been me, but I thought the Fleur de Lis tossup in packet 19 was incredibly transparent and am interested to see conversion data for it when it comes out.
HSNCT round 19 wrote:A variant of this emblem was found on the original florin coins minted in the 14th century; that variant is part of the Florentine coat of arms and incorporates two stamens. Most national (*) Scouting organizations' emblems are based on it, and Henry V's coat of arms quartered fields of it with fields of lions to reflect his mainland claims. For 10 points--name this stylized lily taken to symbolize the monarchy of France.

answer: _fleur-de-lis_ (or _fleurs-de-lis_; accept _Bourbon lily_; prompt on "lily")
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by Charles Martel »

It's probably just because florin and Florentine both start with fl-, which helps fleur-de-lis come to mind easily.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by Beevor Feevor »

Could I see the tossups on beauty, houses, and revolutions please?
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by Urech hydantoin synthesis »

Could I see the tossup on indifference curves in the finals? Even though it had a 100% power and conversion rate, it seems like one of those outlier difficulty tossups.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by MorganV »

Christ, I Know wrote:Could I see the tossup on indifference curves in the finals? Even though it had a 100% power and conversion rate, it seems like one of those outlier difficulty tossups.
stuff that is not yet officially clear please wait until NAQT posts the all-clear for this year's IS sets
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant »

geolawyerman wrote:I am also interested in the Settlers of Catan tossup. How do you write a tossup on something like that?
I particularly liked the Catan tossup because I played a round of it that previous evening. And, no disrespect to Max Schindler, that was a pretty funny neg.

But it can be difficult to write trash because it's hard to tell what topics and clues are hard and which are easy.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

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HSNCT round 26 wrote:In extended treatments of these constructs, they surround satiation points. Income expansion paths consist of the tangency points of budget lines with these constructs, which are L-shaped for perfect complements. The marginal rate of substitution equals the slope of one of these (*) curves at a given point. For 10 points--name these economic curves displaying sets of goods that provide a consumer a given level of utility.
HSNCT round 14 wrote:A woman named Rena Walden passes as white in a novel by Charles Chesnutt about one of these that is "behind the cedars." This noun appears in the title of a novel in which Lawrence Selden falls in love with Lily Bart, and also appears in the title of a novel about the (*) Pyncheon family, who are cursed by Matthew Maule. For 10 points--name this type of place that is "of mirth" and "of the Seven Gables" in two American novels.

answer: a _house_ (accept The _House Behind the Cedars_, The _House of Mirth_, or The _House of the Seven Gables_; accept Charles W(addell) _Chesnutt_ before "Charles")
HSNCT round 7 wrote:One of these episodes is named for the month of the discovery of the J/psi particle. Thomas Kuhn considered paradigm shifts caused by these episodes in science, such as the heliocentric model being called the (*) Copernican one of these events. James Watt's steam engine helped bring on the "Industrial" example of--for 10 points--what type of event, exemplified by a French one that saw the Reign of Terror?

answer: _revolution_ (accept _November Revolution_ or (The Structure of) _Scientific Revolution_s or _Copernican Revolution_ or _Industrial Revolution_ or _French Revolution_)
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

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Einhard wrote:Could I see the tossups on beauty, houses, and revolutions please?
I couldn't find a tossup on "beauty" while searching the set; let me know what round this was or what clues it used and I'll find it that way.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

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Mnemosyne wrote:Can I ask for questions to be posted here? I'm interested in the matrices bonus in the last few rounds ...
I figured out what question this was.
HSNCT round 25 wrote:Pencil and paper ready. Let ~A~ be the 2-by-2 matrix whose top row is (5, 0) and whose bottom row is (1, 10). For 10 points--what value is in the lower left corner of . . .

A. The transpose of ~A~?

answer: _0_ (do not accept "none" or similar answers) [When a 2-by-2 matrix is transposed, the lower left corner assumes the value found in the top right corner of the original.]

B. ~A~ minus the 2-by-2 identity matrix?

answer: _1_ [The identity matrix ~I~ has a top row of (1, 0) and a bottom row of (0, 1); thus, for the lower left corner, ~A~ - ~I~ = 1 - 0 = 1.]

C. ~A~ squared?

answer: _15_
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by Mewto55555 »

I don't know if there's a way to make it clearer for similar future questions, but it was hard to realize when spoken aloud that the lower-left corner bit applied to all three parts.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

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Mewto55555 wrote:I don't know if there's a way to make it clearer for similar future questions, but it was hard to realize when spoken aloud that the lower-left corner bit applied to all three parts.
Would "what value is in the lower left corner of each of these?" or "…each of these matrices?" be better?
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

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jonah wrote:
Mewto55555 wrote:I don't know if there's a way to make it clearer for similar future questions, but it was hard to realize when spoken aloud that the lower-left corner bit applied to all three parts.
Would "what value is in the lower left corner of each of these?" or "…each of these matrices?" be better?
I think that, or switch "give the lower-left" and "FTPE", or maybe both would all be significantly clearer. Anything to make a natural pause between the "what value is in the lower left corner" and the first bonus part.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by jonah »

Mewto55555 wrote:
jonah wrote:
Mewto55555 wrote:I don't know if there's a way to make it clearer for similar future questions, but it was hard to realize when spoken aloud that the lower-left corner bit applied to all three parts.
Would "what value is in the lower left corner of each of these?" or "…each of these matrices?" be better?
I think that, or switch "give the lower-left" and "FTPE", or maybe both would all be significantly clearer. Anything to make a natural pause between the "what value is in the lower left corner" and the first bonus part.
Sure. When I read a bonus intro like that, I try to make it clearer by saying "…in the lower left corner of [pause for a full second] the transpose of A?", but I'm not sure that actually works. Sometimes in that situation I also say "part A" or "part 1" (etc.) before reading each part, but "part 1" is always bad in a computation question, and in this case we also had a variable called A.

I don't know if the computation editor reads HSQB, but I'll ask him to take a look at these couple of posts.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by touchpack »

jonah wrote:
Mewto55555 wrote:
jonah wrote:
Mewto55555 wrote:I don't know if there's a way to make it clearer for similar future questions, but it was hard to realize when spoken aloud that the lower-left corner bit applied to all three parts.
Would "what value is in the lower left corner of each of these?" or "…each of these matrices?" be better?
I think that, or switch "give the lower-left" and "FTPE", or maybe both would all be significantly clearer. Anything to make a natural pause between the "what value is in the lower left corner" and the first bonus part.
Sure. When I read a bonus intro like that, I try to make it clearer by saying "…in the lower left corner of [pause for a full second] the transpose of A?", but I'm not sure that actually works. Sometimes in that situation I also say "part A" or "part 1" (etc.) before reading each part, but "part 1" is always bad in a computation question, and in this case we also had a variable called A.

I don't know if the computation editor reads HSQB, but I'll ask him to take a look at these couple of posts.
When I read bonuses like this (computational or not--I'm talking about any sort of science bonus that requires a bit of thinking and has some key bit of information that if missed makes it impossible to come up with the answer), I try to emphasize the important parts by reading them slightly slower and louder. So I might read it like:

"what value is in the lower left corner of.... [pause] the transpose of A?

Of course, when you're reading on the clock it can be difficult to identify which words to emphasize--so I would suggest that the writer/editor italicize the important bits for the reader.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by The Ununtiable Twine »

RyuAqua wrote:I'm very sure that many teams don't know what eigenvalues or topology even are
It's hard to know what these things are from even a bright high school student's standpoint if you don't have linear algebra and topology courses available to you (which few schools do), so I agree with this and believe that these topics are best left in the college game, even if there are tons of questions on these topics available somewhere in the archives.
RyuAqua wrote:Speaking of math: I'm of the opinion that it's time for the math computation bonuses to depart from the HSNCT.

Agreed. Also, matrix multiplication takes time and is a confusing (albeit natural!) operation. If you are not going to give 10 seconds to solve the third part, then don't ask it. It's fine to ask if you give the appropriate amount of time to complete the multiplication. Determinant computation is not so bad with easy matrices and can be given 5 seconds if you do choose to keep these types of bonuses in the set. Suddenly asking a high school student to perform matrix multiplication in five seconds without prior notice is a form of cruel and unusual punishment.

Off topic, I heard that there were some protests regarding the question on Green. It is important to know that Green's theorem is a corollary of the generalized Stokes's theorem but Green's theorem does not imply the generalized Stokes's theorem. The previous clues (Green's identities, yay vector calculus identities!) were uniquely attributed to Green, as well. It may be helpful for those reading to post the Green tossup.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

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HSNCT round 20 wrote:This mathematician's first identity is proved by applying the divergence theorem to one scalar field times the gradient of another. His namesake matrix and functions are used to solve non-homogeneous differential equations, and he also names a relation between a surface (*) integral and a line integral around a closed curve. For 10 points--identify this man who names a special case of Stokes' Theorem.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by Adventure Temple Trail »

Mewto55555 wrote:I don't know if there's a way to make it clearer for similar future questions, but it was hard to realize when spoken aloud that the lower-left corner bit applied to all three parts.
This stems from a general problem in one of the bonus styles allowed or encouraged by the NAQT style guide. I don't have any egregious examples from this tournament available offhand - I remember reading several - but NAQT allows for many bonuses where the lead-up to the first part of the bonus is an incomplete sentence and each part of the bonus completes that same sentence. E.g.:
Fake bonus by me wrote: For 10 points each--Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau...

A. ...Hailed from what Francophone province?

answer: _Quebec_

B. ...Defused a crisis known for which calendar month?

answer: _October_

C. ...uttered what three-word quote on television, presaging his invocation of the War Measures Act three days later?

answer: "Well, _just watch me_"
These partial-sentence bonus parts can be really confusing, since it's easy to forget or mishear or not catch the first part of the bonus that makes the other three make sense. I'd suggest as a general rule that NAQT amend its style guide such that bonuses of this form are strongly discouraged, bringing them in line with the rest of the circuit.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

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bt_green_warbler wrote:
HSNCT round 20 wrote:This mathematician's first identity is proved by applying the divergence theorem to one scalar field times the gradient of another. His namesake matrix and functions are used to solve non-homogeneous differential equations, and he also names a relation between a surface (*) integral and a line integral around a closed curve. For 10 points--identify this man who names a special case of Stokes' Theorem.
The relation between the surface integral and line integral clue is not uniquely identifiable to Green in this case, as both Green and Stokes are relations between surface integrals and line integrals. Stokes's theorem relates the surface integral of the curl of a vector field to a line integral, sure, but that's still a surface integral. That teams would try to protest this is understandable given that I don't know many high school students that know that Green's functions can be used to solve Helmholtz equation or that would know any of the previous clues from classroom experience. That clue looks like it could have been written a little better. A simple "He's not Stokes, but" may have worked here even though that's your giveaway (with good reason). I don't know if there is any way to write a reasonable middle clue for Green that avoids this confusion if you want to write a tossup on him.

I think this topic may have been better suited for D1 SCT due to the fact that for the majority of high school math students that have taken multivariable calculus, the only buzzable clues are really the clue that was discussed and the end clue.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by btressler »

Mewto55555 wrote:I don't know if there's a way to make it clearer for similar future questions, but it was hard to realize when spoken aloud that the lower-left corner bit applied to all three parts.
I want to add my vote to this. I wrote about half the computation bonuses, including this one. The question's lead-in was changed during editing. I believe in the original version, I even pointed out which digit in the original matrix was the lower left value because I wanted to give the players extra clarity. The question was shortened for brevity, as it always is, which I think in this case is to the detriment of the players.

I never write the aforementioned kind of lead-in anymore, because I realized it was confusing to players. When part B comes up, they don't realize what to do with the incomplete sentence.

Instead of "For 10 points--what value is in the lower left corner of . . .", I'd personally rather see "For 10 points--what value is in the lower left corner of these matrices:". I would even say "all of these matrices" if I could to really hammer home the idea of what the question is asking in all three parts, but in most NAQT questions "all of these" gets shortened to "these."

I also wanted to comment on this
RyuAqua wrote:At this point in quizbowl's evolution, math comp has been eroding across the country
Having run a control room in years when surveys were submitted, I am dubious of this statement. Certainly this is a true statement among many who subscribe to the "good quizbowl" philosophy espoused on this board. But trust me, on those surveys there were plenty of people asking for more computation in HSNCT, not less.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by jonpin »

There was a bit too much repetition of ideas on the math comp, now that I recall it. One early round had a question about Amy and Brenda (or some such) being among 10 students splitting between two teams. One part was what's the probability they're on the same team (4/9) and another was how many ways can they line up with Amy in front of Brenda. There was a later round with a bonus on running a quiz bowl tournament, which included a part on "what's the probability these two teams are in the same division?" and another later round with a bonus asking about six people lining up and how many ways can you do that with Claudia being in front of Diane.

There also was no consistency in assigning parts 10 seconds. There were some long calculations that didn't get it, and I think (if the system in place continues) it should basically be standardized so that one part in each of those bonuses is a 10-second prompt.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by Rufous-capped Thornbill »

Bad Boy Bill wrote:
Mewto55555 wrote: I also wanted to comment on this
RyuAqua wrote:At this point in quizbowl's evolution, math comp has been eroding across the country
Having run a control room in years when surveys were submitted, I am dubious of this statement. Certainly this is a true statement among many who subscribe to the "good quizbowl" philosophy espoused on this board. But trust me, on those surveys there were plenty of people asking for more computation in HSNCT, not less.
Yes, and how many of those surveys also called more "much more" sports and "much less" literature questions?
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by Mnemosyne »

The Ununtiable Twine wrote:
RyuAqua wrote:Speaking of math: I'm of the opinion that it's time for the math computation bonuses to depart from the HSNCT.

Agreed. Also, matrix multiplication takes time and is a confusing (albeit natural!) operation. If you are not going to give 10 seconds to solve the third part, then don't ask it. It's fine to ask if you give the appropriate amount of time to complete the multiplication. Determinant computation is not so bad with easy matrices and can be given 5 seconds if you do choose to keep these types of bonuses in the set. Suddenly asking a high school student to perform matrix multiplication in five seconds without prior notice is a form of cruel and unusual punishment.
You're definitely overestimating the difficulty of that bonus. I'm assuming you're just biased because you seem adamantly opposed to computational math. A 2x2 determinant is ad - bc, so two products and their difference, while finding one entry of a 2x2 product would be two products and their sum. So those two problems have the exact same number of steps. The question here requires an extra second or so to determine that you can skip the two entries before it, but overall this can easily be done in 5 seconds by someone decent at math computation.

Then again I just spent 6 months in two linear algebra classes so I might be in need of a reality check here.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by Cody »

Nick, you have no idea what you're talking about. High schoolers don't normally encounter matrix multiplication extensively and it is--as Jake notes--a rather unintuitive operation until you get used to it. Figuring out what you need to multiply and sum takes a good chunk of time all by itself (at least a good five seconds for most). Your equivalency to the determinant is inherently flawed for this reason as they do not require the same number of steps.

The fact that you've taken two linear algebra classes in college should make you reflect a bit more on your post.
Last edited by Cody on Thu May 30, 2013 11:39 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by Stained Diviner »

The computation we are talking about is 1*5+10*1=15.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by Golran »

Matrix multiplication is covered on the SAT Subject test Math level II, so I don't think it's too outlandish for us to expect some of the brightest (remember, this was in a finals packet of a national championship) students in the country to know how to multiply matrices and be able to do it quickly. I'd be willing to bet the numbers in A were chosen so that this multiplication really just boiled down to a simple addition, and just tested if these players knew how matrix multiplication worked.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by Mnemosyne »

Matrix multiplication is covered in both algebra II and pre-calculus, isn't it? Just because it isn't used regularly outside of the chapters you learn it in doesn't make it impossible. For a national championship tournament with plenty of kids who are far more advanced than I ever was/am in both quiz bowl math experience and real math experience, I don't agree that this is too hard for a hard part of a bonus. Isn't the point of that part to differentiate the very good teams from the great teams?
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by Matt Weiner »

I'm pretty sure mathematics PhD student Jake Sundberg and international math competitor Max Schindler know how matrices work and don't hate math and are making legitimate criticisms of how that particular bonus was implemented? But maybe they're deep-cover anti-math double agents or something, who knows.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by Cody »

It is outlandish to expect people to do matrix multiplication--even just one element's worth--in 5 seconds; anyone who thinks otherwise is just wrong. The actual numbers chosen are largely irrelevant as figuring out the operation is what actually takes time here. Jake is unequivocally correct here and comp math bonuses stiffing people on time is a common problem in all NAQT tournaments that have them (yet another reason they should be banished).

Edit: Nick, no one in this thread said high schoolers don't encounter matrix multiplication or that it was inherently inappropriate to ask about in comp math.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by Habitat_Against_Humanity »

For what it's worth, the high schools I've been in recently are beginning to avoid matrix multiplication like the plague (and plenty of other matrix lessons). If they teach it at all, it may be a brief overview of how to do it by hand and the rest is relegated to a calculator. I blame the common core standards, but that's a different discussion. People are absolutely right that one should expect more mathematical ability from higher level teams and players, but I think only really applies to top-level competition in the case of computation (and I think we should just remove computation from HSNCT all together). What I see happening (and have seen happen personally) is that a school with a not so well established program lucks out and gets a fairly rounded-out varsity team. Maybe they have a few decent specialists and one or two really good generalists. Maybe it's also a small program, so not much emphasis is put on getting better and the coach can't really expect any influx of players from year to year, let alone good players. So this team does pretty well on History, Lit, Science and whatever. They're decent enough at computation, but their real strengths are elsewhere. They do well enough in regional and conference competitions and get an inflated sense of self-worth because they have no knowledge of the LASAs and Ladues of the world. So they go to HSNCT and get walloped by the difficulty of the comp. math among other things. Perhaps they're all in honors Algebra II or above, but are possibly not even familiar with terms like "Transpose" or "Cross Product" or "Stokes' Theorem" or whatever. I know I never learned Transpose in high school, despite taking all my high school math at Michigan State, and while I encountered the last two in High School, it was only in the honor level college classes I took later on. I guess I'm saying that a team can be pretty good most any other subject and not feel completely overwhelmed by the difficulty if they don't know an answer. However, I've seen plenty of cases in HS tournaments I staff where a team that puts up 200-300 PPG and sits silently and awkwardly and computational math that they have no inkling of how to answer. One can look up a painting or a battle one's never heard of, but learning to compute more advanced level stuff takes a lot more initiative and dedication (at least I think so).
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by Mewto55555 »

I'll just chime in to say that I can't multiply matrices quickly because I always have to do that thing with my fingers to remember what goes where. This is probably super inefficient, but, aside from that bonus, it's always served me fine.

I think the question is, for mathcomp, do we want to encourage people who know what they're doing, or people who can do arithmetic operations quickly? There were a lot of bonus parts that I wouldn't have had a snowball's chance in hell of getting had it not been for the fact I have enough holdover from my MATHCOUNTS days to do arithmetic incredibly quickly (I'll just note that between our A and B teams, Ladue had 3 national MATHCOUNTS competitors & USA(J)MO qualifiers, none of whom could get that one part that involved multiplying six numbers in under 5 seconds, despite all three knowing what numbers to multiply), despite instantly identifying what had to be done. Having that little time is just stupid.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by Oh No You Didn't »

As somebody who learned to multiply much faster by memorizing much larger times tables than your average high schooler would have, multiplication problems are stupid and comp math shouldn't be a thing.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by Cheynem »

Math comp parts seem to rely for me on a number of things not really related to knowledge--speed to perform a calculation and also the ability to hear and properly parse what the question is asking for (not always super clear, as a moderator I know I've probably butchered a few of these parts). As I said, I think it might better to think more conceptually and ask for things like "what operation would you perform here?" or "what would you do to the two numbers given here"?
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by The Ununtiable Twine »

I'll expand my criticism of having five seconds to perform that multiplication a little further just to be a little more in-depth. Let's say you have written down your matrix A and you know you have to find the bottom left term in each of the matrices that are going to be asked about. The first two answers you give are very easy, as is the third (the matrix multiplication part in question), however:

Let's remind ourselves that we have five seconds here. You've written down the matrix A and are suddenly asked to square it. I have never personally been able to square a matrix (unless it's the identity or some super friendly diagonal matrix!). I have five seconds. Well, I have to write A down again since I am performing A^2. If you write quickly this will take about 1.5 seconds. It probably takes about .5 seconds before you actually realize that you have to write the matrix down. So you have 3 seconds to perform the matrix multiplication which is an unintuitive operation to begin with. You basically have 2 seconds before the moderator asks you for an answer. By that time if you're in the middle of the operation you may get a little nervous or freeze. Sure it doesn't take that long to multiply the entries together, but it takes a second or two to set the problem up. Imagine if I gave you a matrix, didn't tell you that I was going to have you square it, and then gave you three seconds to find a certain entry in the square. Also imagine if you didn't have a writing utensil to do it with! (I'm assuming that both teams had those since this was asked in the championship, but still) If you don't write A down again to do the multiplications, it's going to confuse the :capybara: out of you and you will probably get the question wrong anyway. If computational bonuses stand then please please please give 10 seconds to do anything dealing with matrix multiplication. Matrix multiplication is SO easy to mess up it's not even funny.
Mewto55555 wrote:I'll just chime in to say that I can't multiply matrices quickly because I always have to do that thing with my fingers to remember what goes where.
I still do this. Hilarious rapid hand motions while being forced to multiply two 4x4 matrices by hand with time running out on an exam are hilarious oh my god i just screwed that up let me shake my head no and perform the operation again oops i missed a sign
Last edited by The Ununtiable Twine on Thu May 30, 2013 1:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by Emil Nolde »

Could I see that Jazz piano tossup?
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant »

Here's one that I was wondering about:
2013 HSNCT packet 23 wrote:If these data structures are continuous in memory, they are said to have "unit stride," and C++ provides a separate new operator to handle them. Portions of them are specified by "slicing," and every Java Collection must implement a method to present its contents as one. An (*) index in square brackets indicates a single element of--for 10 points--what kind of random-access, one-dimensional matrix?

answer: _array_s (accept _vector_ until "new"; accept java.lang.reflect._Array_ until "C++"; prompt on "list" or "matrix"; do not accept "associative array")
Maybe I'm just a dumb Matlab fan, but I thought arrays could be two or more dimensions.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by jonah »

Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant wrote:
2013 HSNCT packet 23 wrote:If these data structures are continuous in memory, they are said to have "unit stride," and C++ provides a separate new operator to handle them. Portions of them are specified by "slicing," and every Java Collection must implement a method to present its contents as one. An (*) index in square brackets indicates a single element of--for 10 points--what kind of random-access, one-dimensional matrix?

answer: _array_s (accept _vector_ until "new"; accept java.lang.reflect._Array_ until "C++"; prompt on "list" or "matrix"; do not accept "associative array")
Maybe I'm just a dumb Matlab fan, but I thought arrays could be two or more dimensions.
Depends on the language. In many languages that do have "multidimensional arrays", they're really just arrays of arrays.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by Important Bird Area »

thyringe_supine wrote:Could I see that Jazz piano tossup?
HSNCT round 12 wrote:Jazz players of this instrument wrote the songs "Carolina Shout" and "Waltz for Debby". James P. Johnson pioneered the "Harlem stride" style of playing this instrument, exemplified by "Fats" Waller. The song "Take Five" opens with this instrument played by Dave (*) Brubeck. Another player of this instrument wrote "Straight, No Chaser" and "'Round Midnight". For 10 points--name this instrument played by Thelonious Monk.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by karav0 »

Packet 7 had a bonus part whose second answerline was "Bunsen" that mentioned that Cesium was discovered by Kirchoff and this man (Bunsen). In the afternoon, I can't remember what packet exactly, but I believe the Cesium TU started off mentioning Bunsen and Kirchoff again.

Could I also see the TU on Gustav Klimt?
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by Great Bustard »

jonpin wrote: There also was no consistency in assigning parts 10 seconds. There were some long calculations that didn't get it, and I think (if the system in place continues) it should basically be standardized so that one part in each of those bonuses is a 10-second prompt.
Yeah, I second this. I know practically nothing about math but it seems that as long as HSNCT wants to keep math around, the focus should be more on having the knowledge rather than speed math. 10 seconds still is really short, but in the games I modded, I think there would have been a lot more converted answers with 5 seconds more of computation time. Consistency would also be good for both players and moderators alike. Also, it seems like there was a lot of probability and rather little in the way of statistics, especially considering that many QBers do Stat AP.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by quizbowllee »

My biggest issue on this is that the 10-second bonus parts eat up A LOT of time on the clock, which could potentially swing a game.
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Re: 2013 HSNCT discussion

Post by theMoMA »

Cheynem wrote:Math comp parts seem to rely for me on a number of things not really related to knowledge--speed to perform a calculation and also the ability to hear and properly parse what the question is asking for (not always super clear, as a moderator I know I've probably butchered a few of these parts). As I said, I think it might better to think more conceptually and ask for things like "what operation would you perform here?" or "what would you do to the two numbers given here"?
Mike and I talked about this, and I'm in agreement. It seems like the most important (and quizbowl-like) part of answering a computational question is figuring out what you need to do, not plugging in the numbers. I'd like to see some of these computation questions fall in step with the rest of quizbowl and ask for this kind of functional knowledge instead of requiring the extra step of doing really fast calculations.
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