Problems from or inspired by mathematics competitions. Questions regarding mathematics competitions.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (2)

26
votes
6answers
31k views

Expected Number of Coin Tosses to Get Five Consecutive Heads

A fair coin is tossed repeatedly until 5 consecutive heads occurs. What is the expected number of coin tosses?
9
votes
4answers
5k views

Undergraduate/High-School-Olympiad Level Introductory Number Theory Books For Self-Learning

I don't know whether the books metioned in Best ever book on Number Theory are beyond undergraduate/high-school-olympiad level. Please recommend your favourite.
7
votes
2answers
335 views

Compositeness of $n^4+4^n$ [duplicate]

My coach said that for all positive integers $n$, $n^4+4^n$ is never a prime number. So we memorized this for future use in math competition. But I don't understand why is it?
14
votes
4answers
999 views

“If $1/a + 1/b = 1 /c$ where $a, b, c$ are positive integers with no common factor, $(a + b)$ is the square of an integer”

If $1/a + 1/b = 1 /c$ where $a, b, c$ are positive integers with no common factor, $(a + b)$ is the square of an integer. I found this question in RMO 1992 paper ! Can anyone help me to prove ...
8
votes
5answers
880 views

How many rationals of the form $\large \frac{2^n+1}{n^2}$ are integers?

This was Problem 3 (first day) of the 1990 IMO. A full solution can be found here. How many rationals of the form $\large \frac{2^n+1}{n^2},$ $(n \in \mathbb{N} )$ are integers? The possible ...
73
votes
6answers
14k views

Studying for the Putnam Exam

This is a question about studying for the Putnam examination (and, secondarily, other high-difficulty proof-based math competitions like the IMO). It is not about the history of the competition, the ...
30
votes
4answers
2k views

Integral Contest

Before you answer this OP, please read all the terms and conditions below. Thank you... Today I hold an unofficial little contest on brilliant.org. Now, I will hold it here on Math S.E. It's just for ...
16
votes
3answers
798 views

Reference for combinatorial game theory.

What is a good reference material for elementary combinatorial game theory? By combinatorial game theory I mean chiefly the study of zero-sum, deterministic two-player games (perhaps even more ...
1
vote
3answers
791 views

Prove that $a^3+b^3+c^3 \geq a^2b+b^2c+c^2a$

Let $a,b,c$ be positive real numbers. Prove that $a^3+b^3+c^3\geq a^2b+b^2c+c^2a$. My (strange) proof: $$ \begin{align*} a^3+b^3+c^3 &\geq a^2b+b^2c+c^2a\\ \sum\limits_{a,b,c} a^3 &\geq ...
9
votes
4answers
589 views

Differentiation wrt parameter $\int_0^\infty \sin^2(x)\cdot(x^2(x^2+1))^{-1}dx$

Use differentiation with respect to parameter obtaining a differential equation to solve $$ \int_0^\infty \frac{\sin^2(x)}{x^2(x^2+1)}dx $$ No complex variables, only this approach. Interesting ...
8
votes
1answer
414 views

Prove that $\sum_{k=1}^n \frac{2k+1}{a_1+a_2+…+a_k}<4\sum_{k=1}^n\frac1{a_k}.$

Prove that for $a_k>0,k=1,2,\dots,n$, $$\sum_{k=1}^n \frac{2k+1}{a_1+a_2+\ldots+a_k}<4\sum_{k=1}^n\frac1{a_k}\;.$$
14
votes
6answers
788 views

$g(x+y)+g(x)g(y)=g(xy)+g(x)+g(y)$ for all $x,y$.

Find all functions $g:\mathbb{R}\to\mathbb{R}$ with $g(x+y)+g(x)g(y)=g(xy)+g(x)+g(y)$ for all $x,y$. I think the solutions are $0, 2, x$. If $g(x)$ is not identically $2$, then $g(0)=0$. I'm trying ...
5
votes
3answers
504 views

Prove $a^ab^bc^c\ge (abc)^{\frac{a+b+c}3}$ for positive numbers.

Prove that the following inequality holds $$a^a b^b c^c\ge (abc)^{\frac{a+b+c}{3}}$$ if $a,b,c$ are positive. I'm not sure how to handle these kinds of powers. Are there any "famous" but not ...
4
votes
1answer
512 views

Interesting number theory questions

How many integers less than 1000 can be expressed in the form $$\frac{(x + y + z)^2}{xyz} $$ where $x, y, z$ are positive integers?
75
votes
6answers
2k views

Contest problem about convergent series

The following is probably a math contest problem. I have been unable to locate the original source. Suppose that $\{a_i\}$ is a set of positive real numbers and the series $$\sum_{n = 1}^\infty ...
16
votes
2answers
669 views

Integral $\int_0^\pi \theta^2 \ln^2\big(2\cos\frac{\theta}{2}\big)d \theta$.

I am trying to calculate $$ I=\frac{1}{\pi}\int_0^\pi \theta^2 \ln^2\big(2\cos\frac{\theta}{2}\big)d \theta=\frac{11\pi^4}{180}=\frac{11\zeta(4)}{2}. $$ Note, we can expand the log in the integral to ...
21
votes
3answers
4k views

Finding $(a, b, c)$ with $ab-c$, $bc-a$, and $ca-b$ being powers of $2$

This is a 2015 IMO problem. It seems difficult to solve. Find all triples of positive integers $(a, b, c)$ such that each of the numbers $ab-c$, $bc-a$, and $ca-b$ is a power of $2$. Four such ...
26
votes
6answers
3k views

Find all polynomials $P$ such that $P(x^2+1)=P(x)^2+1$

Find all polynomials $P$ such that $$P(x^2+1)=P(x)^2+1$$
16
votes
2answers
834 views

Problem 6 - IMO 1985

For every real number $x_1$ construct the sequence $x_1,x_2,x_3,\ldots$ by setting $x_{n+1}=x_n(x_n+\frac{1}{n})$ for each $n \ge 1$. Prove that there exists exactly one value of $x_1$ for which $0 ...
19
votes
4answers
2k views

The number $2^{29}$ has exactly $9$ distinct digits. Which digit is missing?

The number $2^{29}$ has exactly $9$ distinct digits. Which digit is missing? I came across this question in a math competition and I am looking for how to solve this question without working it ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

A Putnam Integral $\int_2^4 \frac{\sqrt{\ln(9-x)}\,dx}{\sqrt{\ln(9-x)} + \sqrt{\ln(x+3)}}.$

This is a Putnam Problem that I have been trying to solve (on and off) for two years, but I have failed. I am in Calculus BC. This problem comes from the book "Calculus Eighth Edition by Larson, ...
17
votes
5answers
2k views

Probability of random integer's digits summing to 12

What is the probability that a random integer between 1 and 9999 will have digits that sum to 12? As a user suggested, I could make a spreadsheet and count them, but is there a quicker way to do ...
8
votes
2answers
260 views

Integral $ \int_{-\pi/2}^{\pi/2} \frac{1}{2007^x+1}\cdot \frac{\sin^{2008}x}{\sin^{2008}x+\cos^{2008}x}dx $

I am trying to solve this integral $$ \int_{-\pi/2}^{\pi/2} \frac{1}{2007^x+1}\cdot \frac{\sin^{2008}x}{\sin^{2008}x+\cos^{2008}x}dx $$ A closed form does exist despite the looks of the integrand. ...
24
votes
2answers
3k views

How do people come up with difficult math Olympiad questions?

The problems that appear in difficult math competitions such as the IMO or the Putnam exam are usually very difficult and require some ingenuity to solve. They also usually don't look like they can be ...
8
votes
1answer
210 views

Functional Equation $f(mn)=f(m)f(n)$.

If $f: \mathbb N \mapsto \mathbb N$ is one-to-one and $f(mn) = f(m)f(n)$, what is the smallest possible value of $f(999)$? Easily $f(1)=1$, and I think $f(n)=n$ must be the only map, but not able to ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

how prove GL(n,R) is not connected subset and open subset of$M_n (\mathbb{R})$with this distance

let n>1 be natural and fix number, $S:=${A : $M_n (\mathbb{R})$ be all real matrix,define this meter for all $A=[a_{ij}]$ $B=[b_{ij}]$ d(A,B):=max{|$a_{ij}-b_{ij}$|:i,j=1,2,2...,n} and GL(n,R) is ...
7
votes
4answers
756 views

Seemingly invalid step in the proof of $\frac{a^2+b^2}{ab+1}$ is a perfect square?

Recall the famous IMO 1988 question 6: Suppose that $\displaystyle\frac{a^2+b^2}{ab+1}=k\in\mathbb{N}$ for some $a,b\in\mathbb{N}$. Show that $k$ is a perfect square. Solutions can be found: ...
2
votes
2answers
739 views

Euclidean Geometry Intersection of Circles

Two circles intersect in the Cartesian Coordinate system at points $A$ and $B$. Point $A$ lies on the line $y=3$. Point $B$ lies on the line $y=12$. These two circles are also tangent to the x-axis at ...
0
votes
2answers
92 views

Putnam and Beyond AM-GM help

From Putnam and Beyond: The Solution is: The only part I do NOT understand is how: $a_k + b_k = 1$ for every $k$? The problem just specifies nonnegative numbers?
37
votes
2answers
2k views

Find all real numbers $x$ for which $\frac{8^x+27^x}{12^x+18^x}=\frac76$

Find all real numbers $x$ for which $$\frac{8^x+27^x}{12^x+18^x}=\frac76$$ I have tried to fiddle with it as follows: $$2^{3x} \cdot 6 +3^{3x} \cdot 6=12^x \cdot 7+18^x \cdot 7$$ $$ 3 \cdot ...
31
votes
7answers
6k views

Find $f(x)$ such that $f(f(x)) = x^2 - 2$

Find all $f(x)$ satisfying $f(f(x)) = x^2 - 2$. Presumably $f(x)$ is supposed to be a function from $\mathbb R$ to $\mathbb R$ with no further restrictions (we don't assume continuity, etc), but ...
24
votes
4answers
1k views

Prove that $2^{2^{\sqrt3}}>10$

With a computer or calculator, it is easy to show that $$ 2^{2^\sqrt{3}} = 10.000478 \ldots > 10. $$ How can we prove that $2^{2^{\sqrt3}}>10$ without a calculator?
18
votes
3answers
1k views

Proving there are an infinite number of pairs of positive integers $(m,n)$ such that $\frac{m+1}{n}+\frac{n+1}{m}$ is a positive integer

The question is: Show that there are an infinite number of pairs $(m,n): m, n \in \mathbb{Z}^{+}$, such that: $$\frac{m+1}{n}+\frac{n+1}{m} \in \mathbb{Z}^{+}$$ I started off approaching this ...
11
votes
2answers
303 views

No cont function $f\colon\mathbb{R}\to\mathbb{R}$ with $f(x)$ rational $\iff f(x+1)$ irrational.

Prove that there are no continuous functions $f\colon \mathbb{R} \to \mathbb{R}$ with the property: For any $x \in \mathbb{R}$, $f(x)$ is a rational number if and only if $f(x+1)$ is an irrational ...
5
votes
4answers
406 views

Solutions to $p+1=2n^2$ and $p^2+1=2m^2$ in Natural numbers.

$$p+1=2n^2$$$$p^2+1=2m^2$$ Find positive integers $m,n$ and prime $p$ satisfying the above two equations. What would people commonly do? Subtracting both the equations. You get: ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Cyclic sums — How do you use them?

Can someone give me an example of how cyclic sums are used? I don't really understand how they're used in problem-solving. For example, $$\sum_{a,b,c}a^2$$ Any help would be appreciated, and I'm not ...
6
votes
5answers
277 views

Show that $\frac{xy}{z} + \frac{xz}{y} + \frac{yz}{x} \geq x+y+z $ by considering homogeneity

Well, I'm preparing for an undergrad competition that is held in April and because of that I've been trying to solve the inequalities I find on the internet. I found this problem: $$\displaystyle ...
8
votes
1answer
250 views

(USAJMO)Find the integer solutions:$ab^5+3=x^3,a^5b+3=y^3$

Find the integer solutions: $$a·b^5+3=x^3,a^5·b+3=y^3$$ This is the first problem of today's USAJMO (has finished),I only find a trival result that $x\equiv y \pmod6$ and $abxy≠0 \pmod 3$. Thanks in ...
6
votes
3answers
862 views

prove that $\text{rank}(AB)\ge\text{rank}(A)+\text{rank}(B)-n.$

If $A$ is a $m \times n$ matrix and $B$ a $n \times k$ matrix, prove that $$\text{rank}(AB)\ge\text{rank}(A)+\text{rank}(B)-n.$$ Also show when equality occurs.
6
votes
1answer
851 views

Product of three consecutive positive integers is never a perfect power

I am trying to prove that the product of three consecutive positive integers is never a perfect power. Can anyone point to gaps in my proof and/or post an alternate solution? Let the three ...
1
vote
2answers
105 views

Placing $9$ black and $9$ white rooks on $ 6\times6$ board without any attacks between different colours

In how many ways can $9$ black and $9$ white rooks be placed on a $6 × 6$ chess board, so that no white rook can capture a black one? A rook can capture another piece if it is in the same rank (row) ...
100
votes
4answers
4k views

A math contest problem $\int_0^1\ln\left(1+\frac{\ln^2x}{4\,\pi^2}\right)\frac{\ln(1-x)}x \ \mathrm dx$

A friend of mine sent me a math contest problem that I am not able to solve (he does not know a solution either). So, I thought I might ask you for help. Prove: ...
53
votes
7answers
1k views

Let $k$ be a natural number . Then $3k+1$ , $4k+1$ and $6k+1$ cannot all be square numbers.

Let $k$ be a natural number . Then $3k+1$ , $4k+1$ and $6k+1$ cannot all be square numbers. I tried to prove this by supposing one of them is a square number and by substituting the corresponding $k$ ...
27
votes
3answers
653 views

Square matrices satisfying certain relations must have dimension divisible by $3$

I saw this tucked away in a MathOverflow comment and am asking this question to preserve (and advertise?) it. It's a nice problem! Problem: Suppose $A$ and $B$ are real $n\times n$ matrices with ...
50
votes
10answers
2k views

Arc length contest! Minimize the arc length of $f(x)$ when given three conditions.

Contest: Give an example of a continuous function $f$ that satisfies three conditions: $f(x) \geq 0$ on the interval $0\leq x\leq 1$; $f(0)=0$ and $f(1)=0$; the area bounded by the graph of $f$ and ...
25
votes
8answers
4k views

Reasoning that $ \sin2x=2 \sin x \cos x$

In mathcounts teacher told us to use the formula $ \sin2x=2 \sin x \cos x$. What's the math behind this formula that made it true? Can someone explain?
21
votes
3answers
330 views

Is it possible to cover $\{1,2,…,100\}$ with $20$ geometric progressions?

Recall that a sequence $A=(a_n)_{n\ge 1}$ of reals is said to be a geometric progression whenever $a_{n+1}/a_n$ is constant for each $n\ge 1$. Then, replacing $20$ with $12$, the following question ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

Preparing for Mathematics Olympiad

I am preparing for Mathematics Olympiad , can any one suggest me some books to prepare for olympiad ? The topics that usually come up involve: congruence modulo $n$, inequalities , number system, ...
16
votes
3answers
2k views

The easy(?) part of IMO 2011 Problem 3

Let $f : \mathbb R \to \mathbb R$ be a real-valued function defined on the set of real numbers that satisfies $$f(x + y) \leq yf(x) + f(f(x))$$ for all real numbers $x$ and $y$. How can I prove that ...
13
votes
1answer
663 views

Contest problems with connections to deeper mathematics

We all know that problems from for example the IMO and the Putnam competition can sometimes have lovely connections to "deeper parts of mathematics". I would want to see such problems here which you ...