What are the MCM and ICM?

The Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM) and its sister contest, the Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling (ICM) are international competitions sponsored by COMAP that ask teams of three undergraduates to spend a weekend modeling an applied mathematics problem. These competitions provide great opportunities for students to focus on problem solving skills in a real-world environment. Problems come from research areas of applied mathematics related to many fields – business, environmental sciences, and sports are a few examples. Student teams are given 96 hours to analyze a single open ended problem, develop a model of the problem, solve the model, and write a report. Carroll’s faculty meet with student teams weekly in the months before the competition to help them prepare for the unique nature of this international contest.

Why do the MCM/ICM?

COMAP's Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM) successfully encourages teamwork, creativity and written exposition. However, one (logistically necessary) element that many students remark is lacking from this competition is adequate feedback -- both from the micro perspective "What do the judges really think of my team's paper?" to the macro "How did other teams answer this question?" This contest was designed in response to the aforementioned student concerns and has been developed to meet the following objectives:

  • Encourage independent thinking.
  • Promote collaboration.
  • Develop mathematical communication abilities.
  • Prepare student teams to participate in the MCM.
  • Create a unique mathematical community.

Carroll Math Teams Excel in 2015 International Competition

The Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications (COMAP) recently announced the results of the 17th annual Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM) & Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling (ICM), held in February 2015. All nine of the Carroll teams competing in the competition placed, at a minimum, in the top third of all participants.

The MCM/ICM is a unique international contest for undergraduate students. It challenges teams of students to clarify, analyze, and propose solutions to open-ended real-world problems. Students participate as team members rather than as individuals, creating an environment for sharing knowledge and skills. Student teams are given 96 hours to analyze a single open-ended problem, develop a model of the problem, solve the model, and write a report.

This year, 27 Carroll students volunteered to compete in nine teams of three students. In the contest, each team selected one of four open-ended real-world problems. This year’s problems involved (A) developing strategies for eradicating the Ebola virus, (B) creating methods for finding a plane that went down in the ocean, (C) managing human capital in organizations, and (D) developing a 20-year sustainable development plan for an underdeveloped nation. This year, 9,767 teams from colleges and universities across the globe competed in the MCM/ICM.

Five of Carroll’s nine teams were ranked as “Meritorious Winners,” placing them in the top 11% of all teams. The four remaining teams were ranked as “Honorable Mention,” placing them in the next 33% of teams. The majority of all teams participating – 57% – are ranked as “Successful Participants,” thus, all of the Carroll teams outperformed the majority of the teams worldwide.

  • Problem A, Meritorious Winner: Ibrahima Niang, Subin Sapkota, Nick Lumetta
  • Problem A, Meritorious Winner: Mark Romano, Kelby Depner, Joseph Zepeda
  • Problem B, Meritorious Winner: Jesica Bauer, Sarah Fitzpatrick, Austin Powell
  • Problem B, Meritorious Winner: Ryan Armstrong, Ben Jensen, Jake Johnson
  • Problem B, Honorable Mention: Mark Griffith, Elizabeth Carlson, Elizabeth Schweizer
  • Problem B, Honorable Mention: Alex Chopyak, Derek Smith, Nicole Seehafer
  • Problem C, Honorable Mention: Brian Luehr, Dawson Osborn, Dmitri Shulga
  • Problem D, Meritorious Winner: Scott Gulliford, Kaitlin Johnson, Dempsey Rogers
  • Problem D, Honorable Mention: Chris Michael, Al Olszewski, Tyler Zimmer

Carroll teams have placed in the top 1% in the MCM/ICM in 2003, 2006 and 2010. Learn more about the competition.