At the end of the year there is no shortage of lists of top sportsmen and sportswomen, movies, books, shows … You probably have looked with attention at the rankings of the universities to which you apply. This year the tennis association celebrated 40 years from the introduction the ATP rankings. And the examples can go on and on. Here is the BBC giving advice on the World Cup seedings.

Have you thought what are the methods, principles and assumptions that make all these possible? Exploring any one or two examples of these could make an interesting exploration and give you an additional understanding in how rankings and ratings are done. You might wish to watch a  lecture by Prof. R. Vittal Rao

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who mentions in his introduction that the problem of rating was in the origin of Facebook.

It is not hard to see that the mathematical methods of rating and ranking play an important role in the financial markets as well.

Wishing you a very successful 2014!

Especially to those of you who will be examined (“rated”?) in your IB exams in May or November!

And if you want to reflect on the numbers of the old year take a look at the BBC collection of The Numbers of 2013.