Mathematical Contest in Modeling 2003-04

Cornell teams' results in MCM 2004 (04/01/2004)

Four teams were formed to represent Cornell at MCM 2004 based on the list of winners in CMCM 2003. One of the teams submitted a solution recognized as Meritorious and two others received an Honorable Mention. (The "Advisor" information below is only formal since all the teams were preparing for the contest together and included members from various departments; the team numbers also refer to the official COMAP registration.) We congratulate all the participants and hope to see them again in CMCM 2004!

Results of CMCM 2003 (11/21/2003)

This contest was co-sponsored by the Department of Mathematics and by the School of Operations Research and Industrial Engineering. Additional prize funds were contributed by the Cornell Store.

A total of 11 teams have registered to participate;
8 of them have turned in their solutions;
(6 of them have greatly improved museum security and
2 have investigated the net effect of negative election campaigns).

The solutions were carefully evaluated by 4 judges:

The judges have designated the following winners: In addition, an honorable mention and a special "debutant" prize ($45 in Cornell store gift certificates) goes to the only team comprised entirely of the first-year students:

The prizes will be available for pick up at Math Dept. office (310 Malott Hall) on Tuesday, 11/25/03. (A team-member can pick up prizes for the entire team; please have a picture ID with you.)

Finally, we note that the other teams (not listed above) have also submitted good solutions, using a variety of promising mathematical approaches. What distinguished the winning papers was the completeness of their models (justified assumptions, a manageable number of parameters, an algorithmic implementation) and clarity of exposition.

We certainly enjoyed preparing and conducting this contest;
we hope that you had fun participating in it!

Hope to see you in the CMCM 2004!

The organizers / Alex Vladimirsky, Rodrigo Perez, Irina Mitrea/.

Short instructions for the CMCM participants:

Good luck!


Nov 6, 2003: Information/training session; 5-7pm, 253 Malott Hall.
Nov 12, 2003: Information/training session; 5-7pm, 253 Malott Hall.
Nov 14, 2003: Cornell MCM starts at 6pm. Two problems to choose from are listed above.
Nov 17, 2003: Cornell MCM ends at 9:30am. Solutions are due in 310 Malott by 10am.
Nov 21, 2003: The conclusion of CMCM - winners announced, prizes awarded, general festivities.
Feb 5-9, 2004: The winners of CMCM 2003 represent Cornell at the international MCM 2004.

Cornell MCM Pages for the previous years : 2002.

Short summary: MCM is an international competition, in which a team of three undergraduates chooses one of two open-ended ("real-world") problems, builds a mathematical model, obtains a solution based on it, and writes a detailed paper (proving the feasibility of the team's model and solution) - all this in the space of less than 4 days!
You can: brainstorm with your two teammates, use any reference materials either printed or on the web, write your own software or utilize publicly available to validate your model.
You cannot: consult with anyone besides your teammates, submit your solutions after the deadline, or remain bored in the process.

Get a glimpse of what Applied Mathematicians might do outside of Academia!
The problems are taken from all fields of science, engineering, and industry.
Recent problems included:


Interested, puzzled, or simply curious?

Send your questions to Alex Vladimirsky (, Rodrigo Perez (, Irina Mitrea (, and/or come to one of the preparation sessions.

Relevant Links:

Organized by:
Consortium for Mathematics and its Applications (COMAP).
Sponsored by:
Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS),
Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM),
Mathematical Association of America (MAA).

Some other MCM pages :
University of Colorado at Boulder,
University of Puget Sound,
University of Washington,
Eastern Oregon University,
Grinnell College.