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Olympiad Success for College Students

May 04, 2015 at 11:59 AM

Congratulations to mathematical whizz, Year 10 student, Andrew Chen who placed 1st in his age group at the Auckland Mathematical Olympiad held at Auckland University this weekend.

Schools in the Auckland region can select up to five students to enter this demanding examination hosted by the Department of Mathematics at the University of Auckland. The Olympiad aims to promote enthusiasm and curiosity in mathematics and to give young people an opportunity to exhibit their problem solving skills through a wide variety of challenges put to them by mathematicians.

Earlier in the term, Year 12 student, Kevin Shen was also awarded silver after being one of 100 students throughout Australia and New Zealand to take part in the Australian Mathematical Olympiad.

Kevin was also successful at the inaugural New Zealand Linguistics Olympiad; an event which uses language data to solve logic problems. After his success at regional level, Kevin has been selected to progress to the national event in July. Good luck!

Sample Maths Olympiad question:
On an infinite chess board, a whole number value is assigned to every square of the chessboard, such that the value of each square is the average of the value's 4 squares adjacent to it. Prove that every square has the same value. 

Answer: Consider a square with a minimal value of S, which is the average of the values of the 4 adjacent squares. The 4 squares adjacent to it must also have the value S. If there is a square with value less than S, it contradicts the minimality of S. If any adjacent square had value larger than S, then it is larger than the average, so there must be another square with value less than S, again contradicting the minimality of S. We can apply the same reasoning to the 4 adjacent squares with S. Thus the value of the every square is equal to S. 

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