MCS-200: Problem solving (Fall 2002)
Each week, from 6:30-8:30 on Monday evenings, we go over old contest
problems. About an hour and a half is spent trying to solve some
problems, and the last half-hour is spent discussing them. The goals
of the course are to (a) have fun, (b) learn how to approach problems
when you don't know which mathematical tools are needed, and (c) to
prepare for college mathematics contests.
You are welcome to come any week whether or not you are signed up.
Grading: For those taking the course for a grade, there are
three requirements for a grade of A:
- Attend regularly. You can miss up to two meetings.
- Participate in at least one competition.
- Get addicted to at least one hard problem during the semester
(i.e., spend the good part of a week working on it), and be prepared
to present your thoughts on the solution of the problem to the group.
This year's Intercollegiate mathematics competitions.
All of the following events are on Saturdays.
- Saturday, November 9 is the regional ACM programming contest.
Contact Max Hailperin if you are interested in participating.
- Saturday, November 16, 8:45-noon: A regional 3-person team
mathematics team contest (the PennePutnam). It will be
held from 8:45am to noon on the third floor of Olin and we'll head for
- Saturday, December 7, 321 Olin Hall, 9am-noon and 2pm-5pm: The nationally
known individual effort Putnam competition. Initial
registration due October 17.
- Saturday, February 22, St Olaf: A regional team
Konhauser Problemfest competition
that is a lot of fun. Completed in the morning, graded over lunch,
and awards made in the early afternoon.
This year's problems:
- Week 1 in Postscript or PDF
- Week 2 in Postscript or PDF
- Week 3 in Postscript or PDF
- Week 4 in Postscript or PDF
- Week 5 in Postscript or PDF
- Week 6 in Postscript or PDF
- Week 7 in Postscript or PDF
- Week 8 in Postscript or PDF
(PennePutnam practice problems)
- Week 9 in Postscript or PDF
and notes on induction in postscript or pdf
- Week 10 in Postscript or PDF
- Practice Putnam in Postscript or PDF
- Easier practice Putnam in Postscript or PDF
Sources of problems:
- ARML: This are problems from American High School Mathematics
- BICYCLE: Which Way Did the Bicycle Go? by Konhauser,
Velleman and Wagon.
- LARSON: Problem Solving Through Problems by Loren Larson.
- PUTNAM: Problems from William Lowell Putnam competitions.
- HALMOS: Problems for Mathematians, Young and Old by Paul Halmos.