Registration and Instructions
(All rules and
instructions apply to both ICM and MCM contests.)
To participate in a contest, each team may consist of a maximum of three students and must be sponsored by
a faculty advisor from its institution.
Team Members: A team may consist of up to three students from the same school and is open to all undergraduate and high school students.
Any faculty, staff member, or student at your institution can fulfill the role of Advisor. The advisor will act as the main point of contact for the team, and does not have to be from the mathematics department. We do however encourage faculty members to serve as team advisors.
Please print a copy of these contest instructions for
reference before, during, and after the contest. Click here for the
printer friendly version.
MCM-ICM: Procedures and Tips for a Great Experience
The purpose of this article is to assist and guide students and advisors participating in The Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM) and The Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling (ICM). In the article, COMAP, provides information about the administration of the contests, as well as tips to ensure your contest experience is smooth, satisfying, and enjoyable.
I. BEFORE THE CONTEST BEGINS:
B. Choose your team members
II. AFTER THE CONTEST BEGINS:
A. View the contest problems via
the contest web site
B. Choose a problem
C. Teams prepare solutions
D. Print Summary Sheet and Control
III. BEFORE THE CONTEST ENDS:
A. Send electronic copy of
Solution Paper by email
IV. WHEN THE CONTEST ENDS:
A. Prepare Control Sheet
B. Mail signed Control Sheet
V. AFTER THE CONTEST IS OVER:
A. Confirm that your team’s
solution was received
B. Check contest results
D. What are the differences between the designations?
2019 Contest changes/updates can be found in red below:
- MCM/ICM is an all electronic submission!
- You are not required to mail a print copy of your Solution Paper.
- You are not required to mail a print copy of your signed Control Sheet.
- We have added 3 hours to the contest start time to allow for teams to download, read, discuss, and choose a problem. Teams can view the contest problems via the contest web site when the contest begins at 5PM EST on Thursday January 24, 2019.
2019 Contest dates and times:
- Registation Deadline: Before 3PM EST on Thursday, January 24, 2019.
- Contest Starts: 5PM EST on Thursday, January 24, 2019.
- Contest Ends: 8PM EST on Monday, January 28, 2019.
- Email Submission Deadline: 9PM EST on Monday, January 28, 2019.
- Control Sheet Submission Deadline: 5PM EST on Friday, February 8, 2019.
- Contest Results: The results will be posted on April 29, 2019.
is the final arbiter of all rules and policies, and may disqualify or
refuse to register any team that, in its sole discretion, does not follow
these contest regulations and procedures.
- Decisions of the judges, the contest directors, and the editor of The UMAP Journal are final.
- If a team is caught violating
the rules, the faculty advisor will not be permitted to advise another team for
one year, and the advisor’s institution will be put on probation for one
- If a team from the same
institution is caught violating the rules a second time, then that school will
not be allowed to compete for a period of at least one year.
- All times given in these
instructions are in terms of Eastern Standard Time (EST). (COMAP is located in
the U.S. Eastern Time zone.)
By submitting an entry, team members agree that:
- Their submission and all rights to its publication become the property of COMAP, Inc.
- COMAP may use, edit, excerpt, and publish this submission for promotional use or any other purpose, including placing it online, distributing it electronically, or publishing it in The UMAP Journal or otherwise, without compensation of any kind.
- COMAP reserves the right to use in materials relating to this contest, the names of the team members, their advisor(s), and their affiliations, without further notification, permission, or compensation.
- and team members assert that
- All images, figures, photographs, tables, and drawings in their submission were either created by the team or else, if reproduced from another source, the submission cites a specific reference for each at its location in the submission.
- All direct quotations in the submission are enclosed in quotation marks or otherwise identified as such, with a specific reference cited for each at its location in the submission.
I. BEFORE THE CONTEST BEGINS:
All teams must be registered
EST on Thursday, January 24, 2019. We recommend that all teams
complete the registration process well in advance, since the registration
system will not accept any new team registrations after the deadline. COMAP will
not accept late registrations for MCM/ICM 2019 under any circumstances. NO EXCEPTIONS WILL BE MADE.
your team online via the contest web
site: Go to https://www.comap.com/undergraduate/contests/mcm.
you are registering your first team for this year’s contest, click on Register
for Contest on the left-hand side of the screen.
Enter all the required information, including your email address and contact
IMPORTANT: Be sure to use a valid
and current email address so that we can use it to contact you at any point
before, during, and after the contest, if necessary.
b. If you have already registered a
team for this year’s contest and want to register a second team, click on
Advisor Login, then log in with the same email address and password that
you used when you registered your first team. Once you’re logged in,
click on Register Another Team near the upper right corner of the page,
then follow the instructions there. There is no restriction on the number of teams an advisor can register.
2. Registration Fee
A $100 registration fee per team
We accept payment with Mastercard
or Visa only via our secure web site. We cannot accept other forms of payment.
Our secure site will process your credit card payment, so your credit card number
is protected. Our system will not store your credit card number after it
processes your payment.
we receive approval from your financial institution (this takes only a few
seconds), the system will issue a control number for your team. Your team is
not officially registered until you have received a team control number.
Print the page that displays your team control number: It is your only confirmation that your
team has been registered. This page also lists the email address and
password that you entered when registering; you will need this information to
complete the contest procedures.
You will NOT receive an
email confirmation of your registration.
If you need to change any of the information (name,
address, contact information, etc.) that you specified when you registered, you
can do so at any point before or during the contest by logging in to the
contest web site with the same email address and password that you used when
registering (click on the Advisor Login link on the left side of the screen).
Once logged in, click on the Edit Advisor or Institution Data link near
the upper right corner of the page.
the contest web site regularly for any updated instructions or announcements
about the contest. Except in extreme circumstances, COMAP will not send any
confirmation, reminders, or announcements by email. All communication regarding
the contest will be via the contest web site.
will return to the contest web site during the contest to enter and confirm
information about your team, and to print/download out your team’s Control Sheet
and Summary Sheets, which you will use when preparing your team’s
solution. Details on these steps follow in the instructions below.
B. Choose your team members:
must choose your team members before the
contest begins at 5PM EST on Thursday January 24, 2019. Once the contest begins you may not add or change any team
members (you may, however, remove a team member, if he or she decides not to
team may consist of a maximum of three students. (Teams may consist of 1, 2, or 3 students).
student may participate on only one team.
members must be enrolled in school at the time of the contest, but they need
not be full-time students.
5. Team members must be enrolled at the same school as
the advisor and other team members.
6. Team members must be enrolled at the same school. (No exceptions will be made).
7. Team members must be undergraduate students postgraduate students are not allowed.
II. AFTER THE CONTEST BEGINS:
A. View the contest problems
via the contest web site:
Teams can view the contest problems via the contest web site when the
contest begins at 5PM EST on Thursday January 24, 2019:
contest problems will become available precisely at 5PM
EST on Thursday January 24, 2019; team members can view them by
No password will be needed to view the problems; simply go to the contest web
site at or after 5PM EST on Thursday, January 24, 2019 and you will see a link to view the problems.
The contest problems will become available precisely at 4:50PM EST on Thursday January 24, 2019 on the following mirror sites:
If you cannot access any of the sites, there may be a problem
with your local Internet connection. Contact your local Internet service
provider to resolve the issue.
B. Choose a problem:
Each team may choose any one of the six problem choices and should submit a solution to only one problem.
• MCM problems are Problem A, Problem B or Problem C.
• ICM problems are Problem D, Problem E or Problem F.
Teams prepare solutions:
may use any inanimate source of data or materials: computers, software,
references, web sites, books, etc. ALL SOURCES USED MUST BE CREDITED. Failure
to credit a source will result in a team being disqualified from the
members may not seek help from or discuss the problem with their advisor or
anyone else, except other members of the same team. Input in any form from
anyone other than student team members is strictly forbidden. This includes
email, telephone contact, and personal conversation, communication via web chat
or other question-answer systems, or any other form of communication.
solutions are acceptable. There is no passing or failing cut-off score, and
numerical scores will not be assigned. The MCM/ICM contest judges are primarily
interested in the team’s approach and methods.
4. Summary Sheet: The summary is an
essential part of your MCM/ICM paper. The judges place considerable weight on
the summary, and winning papers are often distinguished from other papers based
on the quality of the summary.
To write a good summary, imagine
that a reader will choose whether to read the body of the paper based on your
summary: Your concise presentation in the summary should inspire a reader to
learn about the details of your work. Thus, a summary should clearly describe
your approach to the problem and, most prominently, your most important
conclusions. Summaries that are
mere restatements of the contest problem, or are a cut-and-paste boilerplate
from the Introduction are generally considered to be weak.
Besides the summary sheet as described each paper should contain the following sections:
and clarification of the problem: State in your own words what you are going to do.
assumptions and rationale/justification: Emphasize the assumptions that bear on the problem. Clearly
list all variables used in your model.
your model design and justification for type model used or developed.
model testing and sensitivity analysis, including error analysis, etc.
the strengths and weaknesses
of your model or approach.
The judges will evaluate the quality of your writing in
the Solution Paper:
Conciseness and organization are extremely
Key statements should present major ideas and
Present a clarification or restatement of the
problem, as appropriate.
Present a clear exposition of all variables,
assumptions, and hypotheses.
Present an analysis of the problem, including
the motivation or justification for the model that is used.
Include a design of the model.
Discuss how the model could be tested, including
error analysis and stability (conditioning, sensitivity, etc.).
Discuss any apparent strengths or weaknesses in
your model or approach.
must be typed in English, with a readable font of at least 12 point type.
solution must consist entirely of written text, and possibly figures, charts,
or other written material only. No non-paper support materials such
as computer files or software will be accepted.
Solution Paper must display the team control number and the page number at the
top of every page; for example, use the following page header on each page:
Team # 321 Page 6 of 13
names of the students, advisor, or institution should NOT appear on any page of
the electronic solution. The solution should not contain any identifying information other
than the team control number.
to adhere to any preparation rule is grounds for team disqualification.
Advisor Login: Choose a Problem and Print Control Sheet:
After the contest begins at 5PM EST on Thursday January 24, 2019, and
while the teams are preparing their solutions, the advisor should:
to the contest web site (go to https://www.comap.com/undergraduate/contests/mcm.
Click on Advisor Login,
then enter your email address and password).
2. If you have not done so already enter
the team member names and confirm that each name is spelled correctly. This
determines how the names will appear on the contest certificates. COMAP will
not make any changes or reprint certificates for any reason.
the problem that your team has chosen to solve.
one copy of the Control Sheet.
5. Download or copy
the team Summary Sheet. (This should be used as the first page of your electronic email submission.)
BEFORE THE CONTEST ENDS:
Send electronic copy of Solution Paper by email:
team is required to submit an electronic copy of its solution paper by email to
Any team member or the advisor may submit this email.
a. Your email MUST be received at COMAP by the email submission deadline of 9PM
EST on January 28, 2019.
b. Failure by a team to submit a solution
via email by 9PM EST on January 28, 2019 constitutes a violation of the contest rules and will result in that
c. No further modifications,
enhancements, additions, or improvements may be made to the team’s
solution paper after 8PM EST on January 28, 2019.
Any changes to the solution will constitute a violation of the contest
rules and may result in disqualification.
the subject line of your email write: your team’s control
number. For example:
your team’s control number as the name of your file attachments.
will accept only a Adobe PDF of your solution.
DO NOT include your Control Sheet, programs or software with your email as they will not be used in
the judging process. Limit one solution per email. The names of the students, advisor, or institution should NOT appear on any page of the electronic solution. Your team's summary should be included as the first page of your file. *Note: The attachment must be less than 17MB.
Do not use a cloud service such as Google Docs your email must contain a Adobe PDF attachment.
the rules for submitting the signed Control Sheet via email below.
WHEN THE CONTEST ENDS:
Prepare Control Sheet:
When the contest ends at 8PM EST on January 28, 2019:
team member must sign the Control Sheet to pledge that he or she abided by the contest rules and
*Note you are not required to mail a print copy of your Solution Paper or Control Sheet.
Email The Signed Control Sheet:
1. Send the signed Control Sheet by email to COMAP:
After the signed control sheet is prepared, email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org. In the subject line of your email write: your team's control number. For example: 1900000. COMAP will accept only an Adobe PDF or a Photo Image of your control sheet. Limit one set of forms per email. Teams may take pictures of the signed forms with a phone or digital camera and then email the images to email@example.com. *Note: The attachment must be less than 17MB.
(Note you are not required to mail a print copy of your Control Sheet.) !!
Do not use a cloud service such as Google Docs your email must contain a Adobe PDF or Photo Images.
The Control Sheet must be received by COMAP no later than 5:00 PM EST on Friday, February 8, 2019. COMAP is not responsible for contest forms received after that date.
V. AFTER THE CONTEST IS OVER:
Confirm that your team’s solution was received:
may login to the contest web site using the Advisor Login link to verify
that your team’s Electronic Solution was received at COMAP.
Check contest results:
Judging will be completed in March and the results will be posted on April 29, 2019.
The Solution Papers will be
recognized as Disqualified, Unsuccessful, Successful Participant, Honorable
Mention, Meritorious, Finalist, or Outstanding Winner. Click here to view the differences between the designations.
will post the contest results on the web site as soon as they are available, so
visit the contest web site regularly to check for updates. It will take several
weeks for the judges to evaluate the solutions and for COMAP to process the
results. Please do NOT call or email COMAP regarding contest results.
NEW COMAP is expanding the Two Sigma Scholarship Award to an international award, the NEW International COMAP Scholarship Award will be awarded to the four(4) top MCM/ICM teams from any of the participating countries; $9000 being split among the team members and $1000 to the school represented. Awards will be announced on or before April 30th each year.
the results are issued, each successfully participating team advisor and student will receive a
certificate of participation. You
may login to the contest web site using the Advisor Login link to view and print your team's certificates. All international
teams will receive ONLY an electronic (PDF) certificate. US teams should allow several
weeks after the results are posted to the contest web site to receive your
print certificate. Click here to download MCM/ICM certificates.
- MCM Awards (Problem A, B and C)
- The Ben Fusaro Award will be accorded to an especially creative paper and will be chosen from the contest finalists.
- The Frank R. Giordano Award began in 2012. It honors Brig. Gen. (ret) Frank Giordano who directed the MCM for 20 years. This award goes to a paper that demonstrates true excellence in the execution of the modeling process.
- ICM Awards (Problem D, E and F)
- The Leonhard Euler Award is presented to a team selected by the head judge of the ICM's Problem D. The criteria are: 1) a paper in the Meritorious/Finalist/Outstanding rating; 2) contains especially creative and innovative modeling; and 3) shows good understanding of interdisciplinary science. The award honors the name of a 18th-century Swiss applied mathematician, who was known for the breadth of his research applications, volume of written work, excellent teaching, and interdisciplinarity.
- The Rachel Carson Award honors an American conservationist whose book "Silent Spring" initiated the global environmental movement and whose work spanned many disciplines concerned with the local and global environments. This award is presented to a team selected by the Head Judge of ICM Problem E for excellence in using scientific theory and data in its modeling.
- Vilfredo Pareto was an Italian scholar, modeler and problem solver, who at various times was an engineer, sociologist, economist, political scientist, mathematician, and philosopher. He lived and worked in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The ICM Pareto Award for outstanding modeling in the Policy Modeling problem (ICM Problem F) honors the work and legacy of this famous social science problem solver. In particular for this award, the head judge seeks to highlight a paper that best models the more dynamic and challenging contextual human elements that make simplification or refinement of policy models so difficult.
The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) is the largest society in the world for professionals in the field of operations research (OR), management science (MS), and analytics. INFORMS has long recognized the importance of involving undergraduate students and faculty in an unscripted process of mathematical modeling whose problems contain many of the modern elements seen by its membership. The MCM/ICM exemplifies these characteristics. Consequently, INFORMS has been an active supporter of the MCM/ICM since its inception.
INFORMS carefully selects and designates a single Outstanding team from each of the six problems - A, B, C, D, E, F - as an INFORMS Outstanding winning team whose modeling and analyses best exemplify the style and content reflected in its membership's professional practice. Each student receives a letter of congratulations from the current INFORMS President and a complimentary one-year INFORMS student membership. Each associated faculty advisor receives a letter of congratulations and appreciation from the current INFORMS President, along with complimentary one-year access to the full suite of award-winning INFORMS journals.
The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) will designate one Outstanding team from MCM Problems A and B as a SIAM winner. Each student member of the winning team will receive a cash award of $500 and three one-year student memberships in SIAM. A certificate for the home institutions will be given to the faculty advisers of the winning teams.
The Mathematical Association of America (MAA) will designate two Outstanding teams from the MCM as a MAA winners. Each student member of the winning team will receive a certificate. MAA will partial reimburse teams travel expenses to Math Fest so that they may present their paper.
The American Statistical Association (ASA) will designate one Outstanding team from MCM Problem C as a ASA winner.
The American Mathematical Society (AMS) will designate one Outstanding team from MCM Problems A, B and C as a AMS winners. Each student member of the winning team will receive a certificate.
What are the differences between the designations?
Disqualified - The team's report was found to be in violation of the contest rules.
Disqualified – Plagiarism: The paper had undocumented sources -- verbatim text or information lifted from the Internet, and/or was very similar to other papers submitted as determined by judges and/or our pairwise comparison software. Our pairwise comparison software identifies papers and/or parts of papers as similar to, or exactly the same as, other papers submitted.
Disqualified – Web: The Internet is continually monitored during the contest weekend. Teams posted or shared all, or any part, of their solution during the contest weekend. Or teams obtained all, or any part, of anyone else’s solution. Violations of these rules will result in disqualification.
Unsuccessful Participant - The team's report did not adequately respond to the requirements of the contest problem.
Unsuccessful Participant – Web: The Internet is continually monitored during the contest weekend and a team member (or members) visited websites or social media where contest problems were being openly discussed.
Unsuccessful Participant – Technical: The solution was not submitted correctly. Some examples include damaged or corrupted file, file sent in the wrong format, or not submitting your solution as outlined in the instructions.
Unsuccessful Participant – Incomplete: The solution was found to be significantly incomplete in addressing the contest problem requirements.
Successful Participant - The report responded to the requirements of the contest problem and communicated those results to the judges.
Honorable Mention - The team's report contained elements that were judged to contain good progress in modeling and problem solving.
Meritorious - The team's report was judged to be excellent in many aspects of modeling and problem solving. The report showed elements of modeling, problem solving, and communication that are exemplary for the scope of the contest.
Finalist - The designation Finalist recognizes those reports that reached the final round of judging. Reports reaching the final round of judging constitute at most two percent of all reports.
Outstanding Winner - The team's report was judged to be at the highest level relative to the contest submissions in terms of modeling, solving the contest problem, and communicating the solution. These reports are generally published and used as examples of outstanding student work.