Ma 17:  How to Solve It (Fall 2016-17)

ANNOUNCEMENTS


COURSE DESCRIPTION

The William Lowell Putnam Mathematics Competition is the most prestigious annual contest for college students.  While the problems employ topics from a standard undergraduate curriculum, the ability to solve them requires a great deal of ingenuity, which can be developed through systematic and specific training.  This class aims to assist the interested students in their preparation for the Putnam exam, and also, more generally, to treat some topics in undergraduate mathematics through the use of competition problems.


PREREQUISITES

There are none.


SCHEDULE

Tuesday, 19:00 - 20:55, 159 Sloan.


INSTRUCTORS

Elena Mantovan
PROFESSOR OF MATHEMATICS
262 Sloan
626-395-4342

Serin Hong
GRADUATE STUDENT
382 Sloan
626-395-4366


OFFICE HOURS

Mondays 2-3pm (or by appointment), 382 Sloan


POLICIES

Grading will be based on attendance and homework.

You are expected to attend class and submit homework every week.  As some of the homework problems are quite difficult, it is expected that you will not be able to solve them all in a reasonable time.  It is perfectly acceptable to submit solutions to only some problems in a set; or to submit partial solutions explaining what progress you have made and where you are stuck; or anything else that shows that you gave some thought to the problems.

While collaboration is encouraged, your goal in this class is to learn the largely individual skill of problem-solving.  You should spend a significant amount of time tackling a problem on your own before you ask a friend.  Even if you arrive at your solution through collaboration, your write-up should be entirely your own.


TEXTBOOKS

The following books will be used as reference:

The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition 1985-2000: Problems, Solutions and Commentary, by Kedlaya, Poonen and Vakil.

The William Lowell Putnam mathematical competition, Problems and solutions: 1965-1984, edited by Alexanderson, Klosinski and Larson.

The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition. Problems and Solutions: 1938-1964, by Gleason, Greenwood and Kelly.

Putnam and Beyond by Gelca and Andreescu.

 


LECTURE NOTES

Date Description
09/27/2016 Game Theory
10/04/2016 Sequences and Series
10/11/2016 Number Theory
10/18/2016 Counting and Probabilities
10/25/2016 Polynomials
11/01/2016 Real Functions
11/08/2016 Integrals
11/15/2016 Matrices and Determinants
11/22/2016 Geometry
11/29/2016 Graph Theory

HOMEWORK

Due Date Homework Solutions
10/04/16 Problem Set 1  
10/11/16 Problem Set 2  
10/18/16 Problem Set 3  
10/25/16 Problem Set 4  
11/01/16 Problem Set 5  
11/08/16 Problem Set 6  
11/15/16 Problem Set 7  
11/22/16 Problem Set 8  
11/29/16 Problem Set 9  

EXAMS

Putnam 2016 Solutions


READING