judges in a row holding welcome sign

What to Know about Judging

Be Creative

Judges recognize and reward good math modeling work and creative thinking.

Insights and Solutions

 Judges look for insights gained and solutions offered with clear explanations of work and reflection on strengths and weaknesses of models. 

Impress the Judges

Get Feedback

Judges are encouraged to provide comments on the solutions they score so teams can get some feedback on their work.


Judges are applied mathematicians, mainly PhDs.

Normalized Assessment

All judge scores are normalized by a calibration process to ensure consistency. Also, solutions undergo blind judging; judges see only team numbers.

Three judges sitting at a table with a SIAM tablecloth.

The Judging Process

Papers undergo a rigorous judging process that lasts about 4 weeks.

Triage: Every paper is read by 2 to 5 judges. Those papers that are deemed “successful in triage” move on to the next round.
Contention: A smaller panel of experienced judges extensively reads and discusses the remaining papers. Top papers are designated for finalist, semi-finalist and honorable mention awards.
Validation: Finalists are invited to NYC to present their solutions to a judge panel.

Technical Computing Awards are determined by a separate and similar process.

Thinking About Becoming A Judge?

  • Strong background in modeling
  • Master’s degree or higher in a STEM field
  • We also welcome individuals who can assess technical computing/code that will accompany some submissions

Ready To Judge?

Suggest A Problem 

Criteria for good Challenge problems

  • Accessibility for 11th and 12th grade or sixth form level students (age 16-19)
  • Suitability for “solution” in 14 hours
  • Possibility for significant math modeling
  • Topic of current interest
  • Availability of sufficient Internet data
  • All teams can make some progress