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 Team Ranks Among Top Three Percent in Worldwide Competition

HELENA – A team of Carroll College students recently ranked among the top in the world in the annual Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM)/Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling (ICM) sponsored by the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications (COMPAP). Three Carroll College teams competed in the February competition with one team placing in the top three percent of all participants worldwide.

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 100 hours to analyze a single open-ended problem, develop a model of the problem, solve the model, and write a report.

This year, a total of 26,112 teams from nearly 20 countries and regions across the globe participated in the competition. Carroll College had nine students volunteer to compete in three teams of three students.

Carroll’s top-performing team was ranked as “Finalist,” placing them in the top 3% of all teams. Only eight U.S. teams earned ranks of "Finalist" or better. One Carroll team was ranked as “Honorable Mention,” placing them in top 24% of teams, and one team was ranked as “Successful Participant.”

  • MCM Problem C, Finalist:  Sabrina Crooks, Shirley Davidson, Madeline Norton
  • ICM Problem A, Honorable Mention:  Keaton Blair, Connor James, Milos Vukadinovic
  • ICM Problem A, Successful Participant:  Ethan Mancini, Iain Scott, Makenzie Jahn

Read more about the 2021 MCM/ICM teams

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