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Home » Uncategorized » Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program (MOP), June 7-July 1, 2015

Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program (MOP), June 7-July 1, 2015

This year the 2015 Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program directed by the Mathematical Association of America will be held at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh between June 7-July 1. The camp is run by Po-Shen Loh (CMU) who serves as the US team leader for the IMO with the help of last year’s deputy leader Razvan Gelca (Texas Tech University) and many other Ph.D. students from UC Berkeley, CMU, Stanford University, MIT, Harvard, University of Virginia or University of Pittsburgh. The full list with the staff is here. Moreover, Noam Elkies (Harvard University) will be this year guest lecturer. Also, the Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program has been covered by Evelyn Lamb from the Simons Foundation in this article. I will be involved as an academic instructor and will teach 8 lectures as follows:

Lecture 1. Algebraic integers and applications to elementary problems.
Class time: 10.15-11.45 AM, Tuesday, June 9
Location: Wean Hall, Carnegie Mellon University (Room 8201)

Lecture 2. Algebraic integers and applications to elementary problems.
Class time: 10.15-11.45 AM, Thursday, June 11
Location: Wean Hall, Carnegie Mellon University (Room 7201)

Lecture 3. Fourier series and applications to elementary problems.
Class time: 1.15-2.45 PM, Monday, June 15
Location: Wean Hall, Carnegie Mellon University (Room 8201)

Lecture 4. Mathematical Analysis techniques in solving elementary problems.
Class time: 10.15-11.45 AM, Friday, June 19
Location: Wean Hall, Carnegie Mellon University (Room 7201)

Lecture 5. Maxima and minima in Euclidian geometry and beyond. Geometric and trigonometric inequalities.
Class time: 10.15-11.45 AM, Tuesday, June 23
Location: Wean Hall, Carnegie Mellon University (Room 8201)

Lecture 6. Maxima and minima in Euclidian geometry and beyond. Geometric and trigonometric inequalities.
Class time: 1.15-2.45 PM, Wednesday, June 24
Location: Wean Hall, Carnegie Mellon University (Room 5421)

Lecture 7. Maxima and minima in Euclidian geometry and beyond. Geometric and trigonometric inequalities.
Class time: 1.15-2.45 PM, Friday, June 26
Location: Wean Hall, Carnegie Mellon University (Room 8820)

Lecture 8. Maxima and minima in Euclidian geometry and beyond. Geometric and trigonometric inequalities.
Class time: 10.15-11.45 AM, Tuesday, June 30
Location: Wean Hall, Carnegie Mellon University (Room 7201)

The full program can be found here. Also, you can see the number of lectures each instructor delivered here. Below, you can see the some photos from MOP.

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Some details about the camp:

Purpose
One purpose of MOSP is to select and train the US team for the International Mathematical Olympiad. This is done at the start of MOSP via a team selection test (TST). The results of the USAMO and the TST are weighted equally when selecting the US IMO team.

The other important purpose of MOSP is to train younger students in Olympiad-level problem solving and broaden their mathematical horizons.

Information and Structure of the Program
MOP is divided into four groups that roughly correspond with the first four kinds of invitations. Black MOP consists of that year’s USAMO winners and contains the IMO team members and alternates. The approximately eighteen next highest American scorers among students from 11th grade and under form the “blue” group. In 2004, the program was expanded to include approximately thirty of the highest-scoring American freshmen and sophomores each year, the red group; this was later split into two, forming the green group, which consists of approximately fifteen of the highest-scoring freshmen and sophomores who have qualified through the USAMO, and the red group, which consists of those who have qualified through the USAJMO.

Each Weekday consists of three instructional sessions: 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM, 10:15 PM – 11:45 PM, and 1:15 PM – 2:45 PM. Classes usually consist of a lecture followed by a problem set. Solutions are often presented by students with the supervision of an instructor.

Timed and graded olympiad style tests are an integral part of MOP. Every few days, a 4-hour, 4-question test is administered in place of the afternoon lecture, and is graded with comments within 2-3 days.

Team tests also occur weekly. Students are divided into teams of five, in 2008 consisting of one or two blue MOPpers each, and work on a set of thirty problems for approximately half a week. On the day of the contest, the teams present solutions to problems which have not yet been presented, in arbitrary order. The fun starts when all of the easy problems have been taken, and teams resort to certain creative methods in order to solve a problem.

The combination of these makes MOP an extraordinarily intense experience. One participant at 2007 MOP calculated that by the end of the second week members of Blue MOP had already spent more time in a classroom than most calculus classes do in a year, and by the end of the third week participants had spent 170 hours over 19 days either in class or taking practice test for an average of roughly 9 hours a day of math- and that’s before time spent doing problem sets and working on the team contest outside of class is included.

History and Culture
MOSP was created in 1974 as a training camp for the first United States IMO team.

At the time that MOP was established the official name was simply “Mathematical Olympiad Program”, which was the source of the original abbreviation “MOP”. At some point, however, the official name was changed to “Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program” and the official abbreviation became “MOSP”. Despite this change, participants and alumni almost universally continue to refer to the program as “MOP”. Although some administrators continue to use “MOSP” in official documents, students use “MOP” in every setting. One former participant testifies, “Any lost souls using the other appellation are looked upon with pity and regret.”

Previous locations for MOP have included IMSA, University of Lincoln-Nebraska, Rutgers University, West Point (US Military Academy), and the US Naval Academy.

MOP is not only a training camp but also a competition in and of itself. In addition to the regularly administered practice olympiads and the weekly team contest, returning students write and administer the ELMO (an amorphous acronym) and the USEMO (the USEless Math Olympiad).

Popular pastimes at MOP include chess, card games, Mafia (which was banned after a police incident in 2007), Starcraft (which was explicitly banned in 2009) and Ultimate Frisbee.

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