Judging - Overview

M3 Judges decide which teams receive a share of up to $100,000 in scholarship prizes. After the close of Challenge weekend, applied mathematicians serving as triage judges read and score each solution paper according to the competition guidelines to identify the best submissions. A sample scoring guide document is provided to give you further direction about what judges want to see. Each paper is read by a minimum of two, and as many as five triage judges. During the second round of judging, a smaller group of contention judges extensively reads and discusses the papers remaining after triage to select those worthy of semi-finalist and honorable mention awards, and tentatively ranks the six M3 Finalist teams. During these first two rounds, all solution papers are judged blind, meaning that judges only see the team ID #. Solution papers with identifying marks other than the team ID #, such as school name or student names, are disqualified from finalist prize designations. A separate team of triage and contention judges are tasked only with assessing submissions from teams that opted to include an appendix with code to determine the technical computing awardees.

Judging the Challenge

Though this video references the previous sponsor (through 2017), the information contained still applies! Give it a view to get a feel for the Challenge judging perspectives.

The third and final phase of judging involves presentations by the six M3 Finalist teams and by teams selected for the M3 Technical Computing Scholarship Awards. A panel of Ph.D.-level professional mathematicians confirms the champ, runner up, and third place winner of these finalist teams, with three teams maintaining “M3 Finalist” distinction. In addition, the M3 Technical Computing Scholarship Awards are announced. Team scholarship prizes of $1,000 to $20,000 are presented at the awards ceremony that follows. The location of this event is New York, NY. 

Presentations by entire teams are a requirement for winning an M3 Finalist or M3 Technical Computing prize. Teams that are unable to present their papers, or are unable to have all members present for the final event, are not eligible for these prizes. Exceptions may be made for medically-documented reasons, but are at the discretion of the organizers. An awards ceremony will immediately follow the presentations. Typically the final presentations and awards ceremony are held on the last Monday in April (check Important Dates page).

Teams receive funds to pay for travel and related expenses incurred to get to and from the final event. For more information, see the M3 Challenge Team Travel and Expense Reimbursements Guidelines.

As part of the Challenge's educational process, individualized comments, if available, are emailed to coaches regardless of their team's ranking. While commentary is not required, judges are strongly encouraged to provide feedback for each paper during the judging process. 

In addition, a "judge perspective" document is prepared each year by one of the participating judges following the second round of judging. Its purpose is to help teams get overall insight and better understand what made some papers more successful than others with regard to that year's problem and the approaches that teams took in tackling it.

Interested in becoming a judge?
Judge application form