Wolfram Computation Meets Knowledge

Wolfram Archive

Actuaries to Study with Mathematica

Published December 20, 1999

December 20, 1999–Wolfram Research has recently completed an agreement with ACTEX Publications, Inc. to develop an 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). The SOA is an educational, research, and professional membership organization for actuaries in the United States and Canada who primarily practice in pension, employee benefits, investments, and life and health insurance. The CAS is a professional organization with the purpose of advancing the body of knowledge of actuarial science applied to property, casualty, and similar risk exposures. 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. This new reference, an interactive CD-ROM complete with examples and study guide, will be used primarily by actuarial students preparing for the Course 3 and 4 Examinations, which are coadministered by the SOA and the CAS. Practicing actuaries interested in the advantages and limitations of various models will also find the software useful.

The study guide was written by Professor Bruce Jones, a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries (FSA), who occupies the Richter Chair of Actuarial Science at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. “After seeing work my colleagues had done in communicating ideas using Mathematica and having used Mathematica myself for actuarial modeling, it became clear to me that the actuarial profession could make effective use of Mathematica as an educational tool,” said Jones, who originated the idea. “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 links the computational power of a custom Mathematica kernel to prepared examples and study materials through a specialized user interface.

According to Paul Wellin, Director of Corporate and Academic Affairs for Wolfram Research, “This type of collaboration benefits all of the parties involved. It is viewed as an important step forward for Wolfram Research, providing entry into a new market that is just beginning to think about using more sophisticated tools.” It also gives the SOA, the CAS, and their members access to an integrated technical computing system in a straightforward way via a customized interface, so that they may be exposed to the utility and flexibility of Mathematica as a professional tool. And finally, ACTEX gets a uniquely potent product that takes the expertise and name recognition they have built up over more than 25 years in actuarial exam study and preparation and combines it with the unrivaled computational power and leading-edge technology of Mathematica.

Visit http://www.actexmadriver.com/ for a complete listing of ACTEX publications.