Jerry Pantelidis has a thing about computer programming. "It's like doing a crossword puzzle," he says, "but a lot more fun." Not to mention more profitable. Using the computer at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Pantelidis, 22, a senior majoring in economics, has devised a system for forecasting the commodities market with remarkable accuracy. He says the system, now being considered by the investment firm of Bache Halsey Stuart Shields Inc., is yielding him a whopping 400 percent return per annum.

The foreign-born son of a former officer in the Greek Army, Pantelidis worked out his moneymaking formula by analyzing numerous variables drawn from '70s market information. As a demonstration of his system's effectiveness, he obtained the use of $30,000 in family money last August and more than doubled it in four months. Still, Wall Street snubbed him. So Pantelidis formed a consulting firm, Ivy Commodity Research and Management Inc., which he operates from his fraternity room. On June 1 he plans to begin handling the personal accounts of five investors who are putting up $100,000 each. Pantelidis estimates each account will be worth $500,000 in one year. Daily market data are fed into Jerry's computer automatically at the end of each day's buying and selling, and he places his orders through a Chicago broker the following morning. "In the next three to five years," he says confidently, "I expect to make between $3 million and $10 million."