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

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70
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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: ...
67
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 ...
47
votes
6answers
5k 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 ...
42
votes
7answers
2k views

Computing $999,999\cdot 222,222 + 333,333\cdot 333,334$ by hand.

I got this question from a last year's olympiad paper. Compute $999,999\cdot 222,222 + 333,333\cdot 333,334$. Is there an approach to this by using pen-and-paper? EDIT Working through on paper ...
40
votes
7answers
9k views

There exists a power of 2 such that the last five digits are all 3's or 6's. Find the last 5 digits of this number

I just took an olympiad and I'm wondering how this problem is solved. Problem: There exists a power of 2 such that the last five digits are all 3's or 6's. Find the last 5 digits of this number. ...
35
votes
4answers
941 views

How to prove $k!+(2k)!+\cdots+(nk)!$ has a prime divisor greater than $k!$

Question: Let $k$ be a positive integer. Show that there exist $n$ such that $$I=k!+(2k)!+(3k)!+\cdots+(nk)!$$ has a prime divisor $P$ such that $P>k!$. My idea: Let us denote by ...
34
votes
1answer
621 views

Integral $\int_0^1\frac{x^9\left(x^4+x^2-x-1-5\ln x\right)}{\left(x^{10}-1\right)\ln x}dx$

A friend of mine sent me an integral that she had not been able to crack, and me neither. It comes with a result, but without a proof (I suppose it originated in some math contest). Could you please ...
33
votes
3answers
1k views

A generalization of IMO 1983 problem 6

Note: This question has a bounty that will expire in just a few days. Let $a,b,c$ and $d$ be the lengths of the sides of a quadrilateral. Show that $$ab^2(b-c)+bc^2(c-d)+cd^2(d-a)+da^2(a-b)\ge 0$$ ...
31
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
30
votes
2answers
784 views

Triangles packed into a unit circle

2014 triangles have non-overlapping interiors contained in a unit circle.What is the largest possible value of the sum of their areas? What are some ideas that might help me start this? Note that ...
26
votes
3answers
557 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 ...
25
votes
1answer
755 views

A question about series with a strange property.

Does there exist a sequence $\left(a_n\right)_{n\ge1}$ with $a_n < a_{n+1}+a_{n^2}, \forall n=1,2,3,\ldots$ such that the series $\displaystyle{\sum_{n=1}^{\infty}a_n}$ converges? This is the ...
24
votes
2answers
639 views

Does there exist a sequence $\{a_n\}_{n\ge1}$ with $a_n < a_{n+1}+a_{n^2}$ such that $\sum_{n=1}^{\infty}a_n$ converges?

Does there exist a sequence $\{a_n\}_{n\ge1}$ with $a_n < a_{n+1}+a_{n^2}$ such that $\sum_{n=1}^{\infty}a_n$ converges? Does there exist a sequence with the same property but with each term ...
24
votes
2answers
520 views

New twist on a Putnam problem

A recent Putnam problem: Let $f$ be a real-valued function on the plane such that for every square $ABCD$ in the plane, $f(A)+f(B)+f(C)+f(D)=0$. Does it follow that $f$ is identically zero? The ...
23
votes
8answers
2k 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?
23
votes
6answers
2k views

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

Find all polynomials $P$ such that $P(x^2+1)=P(x)^2+1$
23
votes
4answers
624 views

Find the number of pairs of positive integers $(a, b)$ such that $a!+b! = a^b$

How many pairs of positive integers $(a, b)$ such that $a!+b! = a^b$? A straight forward brute-force reveals that $(2,2)$ and $(2,3)$ are solutions and this seems to be the only possible solutions, I ...
22
votes
7answers
3k 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 ...
21
votes
3answers
502 views

Math contest: Find number of roots of $F(x)=\frac{n}{2}$ involving a strange integral.

Edit summary: A good answer appeared. CW full answer added, based on given answers. Removing my ugly-looking attempts, as they still remain in the rev. history. Here's a final-round calculus ...
20
votes
4answers
2k views

Sum of four squares not a prime

Let $ a, b, c, d $ be natural numbers such that $ ab=cd $. Prove that $ a^2+b^2+c^2+d^2 $ is not a prime. I am clueless on this one. I tried contradiction, but didn't get anywhere. Can you help? ...
20
votes
2answers
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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 ...
20
votes
1answer
779 views

2013 USAMO problem 5

This is currently unsolved in the AoPS site, the problem says: Given postive integers $m$ and $n$, prove that there is a positive integer $c$ such that the numbers $cm$ and $cn$ have the same ...
19
votes
2answers
580 views

$\cos x\,$ is the only function satisfying $\,f(x)\,f(y)-f(x+y)=\sin x\,\sin y.$

I need to find all continuous functions $f$ which satisfy the functional equation $$ f(x)\,f(y)-f(x+y)=\sin x\,\sin y, $$ for all $x,y\in\mathbb R$. I can prove that ...
19
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2answers
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Olympiad calculus problem

This problem is from a qualifying round in a Colombian math Olympiad, I thought some time about it but didn't make any progress. It is as follows. Given a continuous function $f : [0,1] \to ...
19
votes
1answer
257 views

How to prove $\sum_{n=1}^\infty\operatorname{arccot}\frac{\sqrt[2^n]2+\cos\frac\pi{2^n}}{\sin\frac\pi{2^n}}=\operatorname{arccot}\frac{\ln2}\pi$?

How can I prove the following identity? $$\sum_{n=1}^\infty\operatorname{arccot}\frac{\sqrt[2^n]2+\cos\frac\pi{2^n}}{\sin\frac\pi{2^n}}=\operatorname{arccot}\frac{\ln2}\pi$$
19
votes
1answer
314 views

To prove that $2^{3n}+2^n +1$ is not a perfect square.

Question: Prove that $2^{3n} + 2^n + 1$ cannot be a perfect square for any natural $n$. I attempted this question and failed in two different ways. 1) I considered a polynomial $p(x) = x^3+ x + 1 - ...
19
votes
3answers
962 views

Finding all integer solutions of $5^x+7^y=2^z$

Find all integers $x,y,z$ such that $5^x+7^y=2^z$. This one comes from an online contest that I arranged some years ago, and I can assure that a completely elementary solution exists.
19
votes
1answer
529 views

Sum involving binomial coefficient satisfies congruence (A contest question)

Let $p$ be an odd prime, and denote $$f(x)=\sum_{k=0}^{p-1}\binom{2k}{k}^2x^k.$$ Prove that for every $x\in \mathbf Z$,$$(-1)^\frac{p-1}2f(x)\equiv f\left(\frac{1}{16}-x\right)\pmod{p^2}.$$ This is a ...
18
votes
3answers
1k views

Find the sum of all real solutions for $x$ to the equation $(x^2 + 2x + 3)^{(x^2+2x+3)^{(x^2+2x+3)}} = 2012.$

Find the sum of all real solutions for $x$ to the equation $(x^2 + 2x + 3)^{(x^2+2x+3)^{(x^2+2x+3)}} = 2012.$ I just know $x^{x^x}$ is increasing in $x$ and hence the equation has a unique solution, ...
18
votes
2answers
855 views

Tough contest problem

I found this problem in a collection of contest problems of a Russian competition in 1995 and wasn't able to solve it. Solve for real $x$: $$ \cos (\cos (\cos (\cos(x))))=\sin (\sin (\sin (\sin ...
18
votes
2answers
491 views

An upper bound on certain finite trigonometric series given a lower bound

Let $f$ be the function $f(x)=1+a\sin{x}+b\cos x+c\sin{(2x)}+d\cos{(2x)}$, where $a,b,c,d$ are arbitrary real numbers. Prove that if $f(x)>0$ for all $x\in \mathbb R$, then $f(x)<3$ for all ...
17
votes
10answers
1k views

Find the integer closest to $\ln(2013)$

I encounter such a problem, in a Maths contest, to find out the closest integer to $\ln(2013)$, without using a calculator. I really get stuck. I tried to turn $\ln(2013)$ into ...
17
votes
3answers
841 views

Examples of math contest problems that can be solved in a 'cheap' way?

What are some examples of math contest problems that can be solved by using a nonrigorous, 'cheap' shortcut? For instance, a problem on the 2011 AMC went: A raft and a motorboat left dock A and ...
17
votes
2answers
812 views

Translations of Kolmogorov Student Olympiads in Probability Theory

I am deeply interested in Kolmogorov's probability contest whose tests could be found in English for the five first years but there is no English translation to its problems from round 6 onward. I ...
17
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5answers
1k views

If $f''(x)+f(x)>0$ and $f(x)>0$ $\forall x\in(a,b)$; $f(a)=f(b)=0$; prove that $b-a>\pi$.

Please help me to solve this question: Suppose $f:[a,b] \to \Bbb R$ satisfies: $f''(x)+f(x)>0$ and $f(x)>0$ for all $x\in(a ,b)$; $f(a)=f(b)=0$. Prove that $b-a>\pi$. ...
16
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

Math Olympiad Prime Number Question

If $p$, $q$ and $r$ are prime numbers such that their product is $19$ times their sum, find $p^2$ + $q^2$ + $r^2$. I came across this question in a Math Olympiad Competition and had no idea how ...
16
votes
1answer
263 views

How to compute the series $\sum\limits_{x=0}^\infty\sum\limits_{y=0}^\infty\sum\limits_{z=0}^\infty\frac{1}{2^x(2^{x+y}+2^{x+z}+2^{z+y})}$

How to compute the series $\displaystyle\sum_{x=0}^\infty\sum_{y=0}^\infty\sum_{z=0}^\infty\frac{1}{2^x(2^{x+y}+2^{x+z}+2^{z+y})}$ ? Thanks in advance.
16
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2answers
552 views

Inequality on the side lengths of a triangle: $\left| \frac{a}{b} + \frac{b}{c} + \frac{c}{a} - \frac{a}{c} - \frac{b}{a} - \frac{c}{b} \right| < 1$.

This problem is taken from the Kosovo Mathematical Olympiad for Grade-$ 10 $ students. Let $ a $, $ b $ and $ c $ be the lengths of the edges of a given triangle. How can one prove the following ...
16
votes
1answer
172 views

$|3^a-2^b|\neq p$, from a contest

I recently came across an old contest problem: (I did not find the solution anywhere) Find the least prime number which cannot be written in the form $|3^a-2^b|$ where $a$ and $b$ are ...
16
votes
1answer
494 views

How find all positive $a^3=b^2+2000000$

Find all positive integer $a$ and $b$,such $$a^3=b^2+2000000$$ This problem is from china Math competition(2013,7.10) So I think this problm have nice methods,because is from competition. Thank you ...
15
votes
5answers
937 views

Is high school contest math useful after high school?

I've been prepping for a lot of high school math competitions this year, and I was just wondering if all the math I learn would actually mean something in college. There is a chance that all of it ...
15
votes
2answers
673 views

Find a way from 2011 to 2 in four steps using a special movement

USAMTS 6/2/22 states: The roving rational robot rolls along the rational number line. On each turn, if the robot is at $\frac{p}{q}$, he selects a positive integer $n$ and rolls to ...
15
votes
1answer
179 views

Closed form for $\sum_{n=0}^\infty\frac{\operatorname{Li}_{1/2}\left(-2^{-2^{-n}}\right)}{\sqrt{2^n}}$

Let $$S=\sum_{n=0}^\infty\frac{\operatorname{Li}_{1/2}\left(-2^{-2^{-n}}\right)}{\sqrt{2^n}},\tag1$$ where $\operatorname{Li}_a(z)$ is the polylogarithm. For $a=1/2$ it can be represented as ...
15
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3answers
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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 ...
15
votes
2answers
527 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
236 views

A game on a graph

Alice and Bob play a game on a complete graph ${G}$ with $2014$ vertices. They take moves in turn with Alice beginning. At each move Alice directs one undirected edge of $G$. At each move Bob chooses ...
14
votes
2answers
748 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
731 views

The Notorious Triangle Problem

I was told this question by a friend, who said that their friend had thought about it on and off for six months without any luck. I have then had it for a while without any luck either. It is in the ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Asking 2011 Putnam B6

I wish to ask today's Putnam problem B6: Suppose $p$ is an odd prime. Prove that for $n\in \{0,1,2...p-1\}$, at least $\frac{p+1}{2}$ number of $\sum^{p-1}_{k=0} k! n^{k}$ is not divisble by $p$. ...