Thousands of high school students to participate in MathWorks Math Modeling Challenge

Thousands of high school students to participate in MathWorks Math Modeling Challenge


February 26, 2020

More than 4,200 high school students throughout the United States have registered for this year’s MathWorks Math Modeling (M3) Challenge and will spend up to 14 consecutive hours this weekend trying to devise the best solution to a real-life, open-ended problem. Using mathematical modeling, as well as other skills and experiences, participants will work in teams of 3-5 to understand and define the problem, gather data and information, document their assumptions, and devise a mathematical model to provide insight about the issues presented in the problem. Teams must submit their solution via computer upload before their time runs out.

Six finalist teams and up to three technical computing awardees will be identified through a rigorous judging process and will be invited, with all expenses paid, to present their findings to a panel of professional mathematicians in New York City on April 27, 2020. Winning teams will be awarded a share of $100,000 in scholarships provided by Natick, Massachusetts-based MathWorks, a leading global software developer and the competition’s sponsor.

Now in its fifteenth year, M3 Challenge has had a profound impact on many of its participants, including Chris Musco, an M3 Challenge alum who will reprise his role as one of the 150+ Ph.D.-level judges for M3 Challenge 2020 in addition to taking on duties as a member of the M3 problem development committee. “Being involved in this program again as a judge, and using my experience and perspective to help shape the problem the students will work on is really exciting,” says Musco, Assistant Professor in the Tandon School of Engineering at New York University who was a member of a 2008 finalist team. “M3 Challenge changed the trajectory of my college major and career, and it’s great to play a part in doing that for the high school students who are participating now.”

Preparation is key in this high-stakes competition and many students and teachers who have been successful in past M3 Challenges recommend making good use of the freely-available resources to prepare in advance. To give every team the opportunity for success in the modeling process, the competition offers plenty of free online resources.

M3 Challenge is a unique, Internet-based competition in which the problem topic remains unknown until participants download it during Challenge weekend (February 28–March 2 this year). Originally offered only in the New York City metropolitan area in 2006, the competition is now open to students nationwide, in all U.S. territories, and Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools. This year 953 teams from 48 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and two DoDEA schools have registered.

M3 Challenge is a program of Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) designed to motivate students to study and pursue careers in science, math, and computing. Learn more about M3 Challenge.

To find out which schools in your area registered for M3 Challenge this year, view the full list of registered teams.


About Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is an international society of more than 14,000 individual, academic and corporate members from 85 countries. SIAM helps build cooperation between mathematics and the worlds of science and technology to solve real-world problems through publications, conferences, and communities like chapters, sections and activity groups. Learn more at

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