29 October 2019

Shabby, random calculations and poor math

MATH in the media

Several mathematicians are commenting on errors and shortcomings in the Radio and Television Board's tendering process concerning a new DAB radio channel. The headline above comes from professor Susanne Ditlevsen’s statement in Ekstra Bladet. Her colleague Rolf Poulsen has expressed something similar to the newspaper Berlingske.

Susanne Ditlevsen
Susanne Ditlevsen

- There are a number of problems, Susanne Ditlevsen said to Ekstra Bladet on 28/10 2019:

Firstly, Ditlevsen is surprised by the way the board has found points for finances, where Radio 24syv only got a single point, while LOUD and DK4 got seven and eight points respectively. 24seven applied for the maximum DKK 280 million in funding, and the others applied for up to 20 million fewer.

Susanne Ditlevsen points out that it is important to find out if the board chose to set a zero point of DKK 250 million in the complicated calculations before they could see what the different radios were applying for. For the zero points is absolutely crucial in relation to the points the individual radios get in points.

Rolf Poulsen
Rolf Poulsen

Professor of mathematical finance Rolf Poulsen agrees:

- Those who bid do not have a chance to know how big a difference there will be in scoring. This also means that, by changing the slope [in the mathematical formula], the Radio and TV Board can actually manipulate the scoring to favour a particular bid, Rolf Poulsen said to Berlingske 29/10 2019.

In addition to the budget issue, the way in which the average number of points is calculated is also criticized:

- It has been decidedly wrong, explains Susanne Ditlevsen to Ekstra Bladet. Among other things, the board has chosen to round off the numbers before calculating the final number of points. It has made the point difference greater than it should be.

The journalists are still asking questions to the department's experts, so the media coverage hardly ends here ...