Hello everyone,

We hope you enjoyed the tournament this weekend! The public results of the tournament can be downloaded at the archive page, and logged-in coaches can view results for their team at https://hmmt.org/reg/scores.

It is with great sadness that I need to report that several of the results announced at this awards ceremony were incorrect, and we have come to witness one of the most substantial scoring errors that I can ever remember in the history of HMMT. Here is a summary of the changes from the award ceremony:

  • There was an error in the answer key to Guts #27. Unfortunately, due to the nature of Guts round, we don't have a way to determine which teams submitted the correct answer at the tournament, so the best we can do is discard the problem from scoring. With this change, Thomas Jefferson A moves to first place in the Guts round, with AlphaStar Academy in second place.
  • Because of an incorrectly graded answer in the Combinatorics test, the top individuals on the combinatorics exam have changed significantly. The corrected list is posted on our website now.
  • I failed to include the algebra test into the calculation of the top individuals, due to a configuration error. This changes the overall individual results significantly. The corrected list is posted on our website now.
  • Due to these changes, in the overall sweepstakes, Washington Gold should have been the 8th overall team, and Florida A should have been the 9th overall team.

There were no changes to announced rankings for the Team Round, or the rankings of the Algebra and Geometry tests. The errors above have all been corrected on the website now, both in the link above and in the public part of the website. However, if you viewed results earlier today, those results have likely been affected, and you should check the links given above again for any changes.

I (Evan Chen) take full personal responsibility for all errors here, since the grading software was managed by me.

In order to prevent these mistakes from happening again in the future, and to apologize for the mistakes, we will be taking the following concrete steps:

  1. We will mail out corrected prizes to Thomas Jefferson A for the Guts Round, and Washington Gold for the sweepstakes. We will also mail out corrected prizes to all the affected individuals in the combinatorics exam, and the overall individuals. The tournament directors and prize czars will be in touch with coaches tomorrow, so we can collect addresses and mail out corrected prizes, at our expense and with our apologies. If you are expecting a replacement award and aren't contacted, please don't hesitate to reach out to us directly at request@hmmt.org.
  2. We realize that due to the delay in the updates to the scores, many individuals may have been incorrectly notified that they qualified for the HMMT Invitational Competition. Therefore, we will take the top 90 individuals for this HMIC, rather than just the top 50 students.
  3. In future tournaments, we will no longer use the post-weight algorithm with alpha and beta values, but will use a simpler method of aggregating individual test scores. The current algorithm is difficult for coaches and students to understand, overly sensitive to small changes, and nearly impossible to verify correctness or even to sanity-check for obvious mistakes like this year's. There has been talk every year of changing the algorithm, but it has never been done. I will personally design a simpler scoring method which is less sensitive, more comprehensible, and easier to sanity-check.
  4. This year, there were some delays with checking problems and answers on our end, which ultimately led to the mistake on Guts #27 not being noticed until it was too late. In the future, we will make sure problem development follows a predetermined schedule, rather than leaving quality checks until the last minute.
  5. The individual rounds this year started late, leaving the staff with less time to run grading and check the results spreadsheet before the awards ceremony. This was due to delays in the team round with finding rooms and administration. Therefore, for future February tournaments, we will allocate 75 minutes for the team round on the schedule, instead of just 60 minutes which is obviously not sufficient. We may also increase the gap in the schedule between the end of the team round and the start of the individual tests.
  6. The software glitch that affected the combinatorics test has been fixed.
  7. To be fully transparent about this year's errors, we will keep a copy of this message permanently in the public HMMT archives, alongside this year's results, so that those affected can fully understand why their results have changed from the awards ceremony.

Once again, I apologize deeply for the errors in grading this weekend. I realize that many of you (coaches, parents, and contestants) have missed school, or taken paid time off, or flown across the country, and so on to come attend our February tournament. On behalf of all the HMMT staff, I apologize for the debacle, and hope that the tournament experience was enjoyable nonetheless.

Please let me know if you have any questions, and I look forward to seeing many of you again in the future.

Evan Chen
HMMT Historian