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CMIMC 2024 Guide: Rules, Sample Questions & Solutions

Dive into the Carnegie Mellon Informatics and Mathematics Competition (CMIMC), where students explore the exciting worlds of math and computer science. Imagine students facing intriguing problems – this is the essence of CMIMC. In this article, we’ll unravel the mysteries behind CMIMC, covering everything from algebra challenges to computer science conundrums. No prerequisites are needed; it’s a space for curious minds. Discover how this competition, open to middle and high school students, fosters collaboration and hones problem-solving skills. From theoretical computer science rounds to individual and team challenges, CMIMC is a gateway to learning, growing, and embracing the future.

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CMIMC: Where young minds conquer math and computer science challenges with passion and skill.

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Understanding the CMIMC Contest: Navigating Math and Computer Science Challenges

Unlocking the intricacies of the Carnegie Mellon Informatics and Mathematics Competition (CMIMC) is like embarking on a stimulating journey where mathematical conundrums meet computational puzzles. This section aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of what the CMIMC contest entails and how it ignites the passion for math and computer science among middle and high school students.

1. Open to All

CMIMC is an inclusive competition designed for students eager to explore the realms of mathematics and computer science. Whether you’re a budding mathematician or just starting to dip your toes into the world of coding, CMIMC welcomes all participants. There are no prerequisites, making it an accessible platform for students to test and expand their skills.

2. Team-based Exploration

Teams of up to 6 contestants form the backbone of CMIMC, fostering collaboration and teamwork. This unique approach allows students to pool their diverse skills, combining mathematical prowess with computational thinking. The team dynamic adds an extra layer of excitement as participants tackle individual and team rounds together.

3. Diverse Syllabus

The CMIMC syllabus is thoughtfully crafted, covering a spectrum of mathematical and computational concepts. From fundamental arithmetic and logic to algebra, geometry, number theory, counting, and probability, participants encounter a rich tapestry of challenges. This diversity ensures a well-rounded exploration, challenging students to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world scenarios.

4. TCS Round: Unleashing Theoretical Computer Science

In the Theoretical Computer Science (TCS) Round, participants face algorithmic challenges where the definition of “best” varies for each problem. This proof-based round requires teams to develop algorithms and prove their correctness and efficiency. The collaborative aspect shines through as teams work together to navigate the intricacies of problem-solving, all within a 90-minute timeframe.

5. Individual Round Challenges

CMIMC offers three individual rounds, each focusing on specific subjects – Algebra and Number Theory, Geometry, and Combinatorics and Computer Science. Participants tackle short-answer problems, putting their skills to the test in a 60-minute timeframe. The flexibility to choose between divisions adds a personalized touch to the competition.

6. Team Round: Collaborative Problem-Solving

The Team Round comprises 15 short-answer problems, spanning various subjects. Teams collaborate in Zoom breakout rooms, solving problems collectively within 60 minutes. This segment not only assesses individual capabilities but also emphasizes the importance of teamwork in tackling multifaceted challenges.

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Competition Rules: Navigating Guidelines for CMIMC Success

Understanding the rules of the Carnegie Mellon Informatics and Mathematics Competition (CMIMC) is essential for a successful and enriching experience. This section delves into the straightforward guidelines that shape the competition, ensuring a fair and stimulating environment for all participants.

1. Eligibility for Exploration

CMIMC is designed for middle and high school students, offering a platform for both novice and experienced participants. There are no prerequisites, making the competition accessible to anyone with an interest in mathematics and computer science.

2. Team Dynamics

Teams play a central role in CMIMC, with each team comprising up to 6 contestants. This collaborative structure encourages students to work together, combining their unique strengths to tackle the diverse challenges presented in the competition.

3. Individual and Team Rounds

Participants engage in both individual and team rounds, showcasing their skills in different settings. The individual rounds focus on specific subjects such as Algebra and Number Theory, Geometry, and Combinatorics and Computer Science. The team round, on the other hand, emphasizes collaborative problem-solving.

4. Theoretical Computer Science (TCS) Round

In the TCS Round, participants face algorithmic challenges, where the definition of “best” varies for each problem. This proof-based segment requires teams to develop algorithms and provide evidence of their correctness and efficiency. The 90-minute timeframe adds an element of urgency to the problem-solving process.

5. Scoring and Evaluation

Scoring in CMIMC is based on the correctness and efficiency of solutions. The more accurate and efficient the solution, the higher the score. Evaluation extends beyond finding solutions – participants are also rewarded for proving the correctness of their algorithms and achieving predefined bounds.

6. Online Adaptations

In recent years, CMIMC has adapted to the digital age, incorporating online formats to reach a broader audience. While the in-person camaraderie is missed, the virtual setting enables wider participation, breaking down geographical barriers and providing a comfortable space for students to engage with the challenges.

7. A Fair and Inclusive Environment

CMIMC prioritizes fairness and inclusivity, ensuring that all participants have an equal opportunity to excel. The competition embraces diversity and welcomes participants from various backgrounds, fostering an environment where every student’s unique perspective is valued.

Sample Questions: Navigating the Challenges of CMIMC

Explore a taste of the intellectual adventure that awaits in the Carnegie Mellon Informatics and Mathematics Competition (CMIMC) through these sample questions. This section provides a glimpse into the types of challenges participants might encounter, showcasing the diversity and complexity that defines CMIMC problems.

1. Algebra and Number Theory

  • Problem: Solve for x in the equation 3x + 7 = 22.
  • Insight: This question tests your algebraic skills. Start by isolating x on one side of the equation, using basic operations to find the correct value.

2. Geometry

  • Problem: Calculate the area of a triangle with a base of 8 units and a height of 5 units.
  • Insight: Apply the formula for the area of a triangle, which is (base * height) / 2. Plug in the values to find the solution.

3. Combinatorics and Computer Science

  • Problem: In a coding scenario, optimize an algorithm to find the shortest path between two points in a maze.
  • Insight: This question delves into computational thinking. Design an algorithm that efficiently navigates through the maze, considering the shortest path and proving its effectiveness.

4. Theoretical Computer Science (TCS) Challenge

  • Problem: Develop an algorithm to sort a list of numbers in ascending order.
  • Insight: TCS questions focus on algorithmic thinking. Consider various sorting algorithms and choose one that efficiently organizes the list, providing a step-by-step explanation of your approach.

5. Team Collaboration Challenge

  • Problem: Work with your team to solve a set of problems within a time limit.
  • Insight: Team rounds require effective collaboration. Allocate tasks among team members, leverage each other’s strengths, and communicate efficiently in a virtual or in-person setting.


Q1: What is CMIMC and who can participate?

A1: CMIMC, open to middle and high school students, is an annual competition fostering inclusivity and welcoming participants of all skill levels.

Q2: What subjects does CMIMC cover?

A2: CMIMC explores Arithmetic, Logic, Algebra, Geometry, Number Theory, and Counting and Probability to provide a well-rounded engagement with mathematical and computational concepts.

Q3: How does the competition unfold on the day?

A3: CMIMC features individual and team rounds, coupled with collaborative activities, guest lectures, and workshops, creating a dynamic and intellectually stimulating competition day.


This article explored the inclusive and transformative world of CMIMC—Carnegie Mellon’s annual math and computer science competition for middle and high school students. With a diverse syllabus and online accessibility, CMIMC goes beyond competition, fostering problem-solving skills and collaboration. It’s not just about solving problems; it’s about unlocking potential and shaping the future for aspiring math and computer science enthusiasts.