Competitions

If you are interested in competing in any of the following competitions, contact Dr. Murphy Waggoner.


Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM) and Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling (ICM)
First or second weekend of February

The international MCM and ICM are administered by the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications (COMAP).  During the four-day contests, teams of three undergraduate students research an open-ended, real-world problem and submit a report describing their solution to the problem.  The MCM/ICM website has more details about the modeling contests, including past problems and rankings of the participating teams.

Simpson fields around twenty teams for the MCM and ICM each year, more teams than any other college or university in the United States.  The final rankings for teams are Outstanding (top 2-3%), Meritorious (next 10-15%), Honorable Mention (next 30-35%), and Successful Participant.  Our teams regularly earn rankings in all of these categories and our students’ level of success in the contests seems to increase every year.

The MCM and ICM are a great opportunity for students to solve a problem a from real-world setting, practice working in a team with a deadline and write persuasively about mathematics.  All of these skills serve students well in the work place after they graduate.


William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition
First Saturday in December

The “Putnam Exam” is administered by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA).  Students participating in this six-hour competition work individually on twelve difficult problems; there are two sessions of six problems with a break for lunch in between.  The scores for a group of three students can be combined for a team score.  More information about the contest can be found on the Putnam Exam website.


Iowa Collegiate Mathematics Competition (ICMC)
Some Saturday during the spring semester

This competition is sponsored by the Iowa Section of the MAA.  Teams of three students work for three hours to complete ten questions that are similar to those on the Putnam Exam.  More information about this contest can be found on the ICMC website, including problems and solutions from previous contests.


Iowa Mathematical Modeling Contest (IMMC)
Some weekend during the fall semester

This regional modeling competition is held at the University of Iowa.  Teams of three students investigate an open-ended, real-world problem and prepare a short presentation explaining their results.  The contest is similar to the MCM and ICM contests, but with a shorter timeline.