Team Racks Up Impressive Numbers in Math Contest

UT Dallas Racks Up Impressive Numbers in Annual Putnam Math Competition

March 21, 2008

UT Dallas has learned that its team ranked 27th out of 516 institutions that took part in the annual William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition held Dec. 1.

Tito Andreescu
Titu Andreescu

The university entered 13 competitors out of the 3,753 who took part, one of which was ranked in the top 500 competitors as individuals.

The Putnam Competition is a mathematical contest for undergraduates in the United States and Canada. Each year on the first Saturday in December, more than 2,000 students spend six hours (in two sittings) trying to solve 12 problems.

Winning teams earn cash awards to their schools of up to $25,000; winning individuals earn grants up to $2,500, along with a significant amount of prestige.

This year the top five teams were Harvard University, Princeton University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and Duke University.

Dr. Titu Andreescu, associate professor of mathematics education, is the UT Dallas coach for the Putnam competition. He is also the chairman of the competition's Question's Committee.

The competition began in 1938 and is designed to stimulate a healthful rivalry in mathematical studies in the colleges and universities of the United States and Canada.

Each problem is graded on a basis of 0 to 10 points. All the necessary work to justify an answer and all the necessary steps of a proof must be shown clearly to obtain full credit.

The exam is designed to test originality as well as technical competence.

The competition is open only to regularly enrolled undergraduates, in colleges and universities of the United States and Canada, who have not yet received a college degree.

The examination will be held on the first Saturday of December.


More information: Dr. Paul Stanford, 2007 Putnam Mathematical Competition Coordinator, UT Dallas, paul.stanford@utdallas.edu
Media contact:
Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu

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The Putnam Competition

The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, established in 1938, is one of the oldest contests of its kind. Here's a sample question from the 2007 test:

Let k be a positive integer. Suppose that the integers 1, 2, 3, . . . , 3k + 1 are written down in random order. What is the probability that at no time during this process, the sum of the integers that have been written up to that time is a positive integer divisible by 3? Your answer should be in closed form, but may include factorials.

For the answer and more information about the contest, check out the Putnam site.

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