Math 3794 Problem Seminar 2020 Fall

Welcome to the problem seminar and let’s have fun with mathematics!  Our intention is to have a great time while expanding our mathematical horizons in a challenging way.  In class, solutions are presented or problems are discussed with the aim of working toward solutions.  The problems will resemble the style of problems on the Math Olympiad or Putnam exam, with very basic prerequisites — MATH 1122, 1132, 121, 1152, 2142 — but sometimes involve difficult tricks.  We will try to rotate topics to cover as many problem-solving tricks as possible.

Even if you are not registered for this class, you are welcome to attend the lectures.

This course should be good preparation for the Calculus competition in Spring 2021, or the Putnam competition in Fall 2020.  Most, if not all, of you should plan to take these competitions. It is in no way required, but is a good way to enhance your problem-solving experience.

Course Organizers

Vasileios Chousionis MONT 325
Maksym Derevyagin MONT 310
Aurel Mihai Fulger MONT 323
Sean Li MONT 334
Ovidiu Munteanu MONT 434

Problem Workshops

Surath Fernando

Grading scheme

There will be homeworks assigned after the meetings, but we will not collect your solutions. For the first time this semester, there will be two problem workshops run by Surath Fernando, who is a graduate student in our department. Your grade will be decided by a final exam consisting of problems of similar difficulty to the homework problems, so it will be quite harder than a usual final math exam at UConn.

Course Schedule

There will be 5 remote lectures and 2 problem workshops this semester. Here is the detailed schedule. Most lectures will be performed online on Tuesdays 4-5:30 PM. You will receive the links by email ahead of time.

 Dates Instructor Topic
 September 08 Ovidiu Munteanu Inequalities

Notes and Homework

 September 22  Maksym Derevyagin Quadratic Polynomials

Practice Problems

 October 06 Vasileios Chousionis Mean Value Theorems

Practice Problems

 October 20 Surath Fernando Problem Workshop from the first three lectures
 Novermber 03 Sean Li Combinatorics and Probability
 November 17 Mihai Fulger TBD
 December 01 Surath Fernando Problem Workshop from the last two lectures

Useful Resources

  • Kiran Kedlaya keeps a list of past Putnam problems here (after 1985)

Past Putnam Competition Results

2019 Putnam Competition

  • Team rank: 131
  • Top scores at UConn: 1.  Thomas Strelecki ; 2. Nicholas Juricic;  3.  Sean O’ Hagan, Keegan T. Yao,Evan Faulkner.

2018 Putnam Competition

  • Team rank: 93
  • Top scores at UConn: 1. Ahmad-Fikri Anuar; 2. Thomas Strelecki ; 3.  Evan Faulkner, Mason Dicicco, Keegan T. Yao.

2017 Putnam Competition

  • Team rank: 103
  • Top scores at UConn: 1. John M. Cizeski; 2. Oliver F. Kisielius, Ahmad-Fikri Anuar; 3. Keegan T. Yao, Jake A. Murphy.

2016 Putnam Competition

  • Team rank: 49
  • Top scores at UConn: 1. Timothy Smits; 2. Patrick Adams, Surath Fernando, Vyas Krishnamurty; 3. Lindsay Cadwallader, Ellizabeth Lauri.

2015 Putnam Competition

  • Team rank: 60
  • Top scores at UConn: 1. Patrick Adams (top 500 nationwide); 2. Lindsay Cadwallader; 3. Timothy Smits.

2014 Putnam Competition

  • Team rank: 85
  • Top scores at UConn: 1. Daniel O’Connell (top 500 nationwide);   2. Patrick Adams;   3. Lindsay Cadwallader, Nicole Chubet, Neil Dokurno, Elizabeth Lauri.

Past Problem seminar pages