Math Club members attend first travel contest


Katherine Zhang

The PUMaC team practices on Nov. 10. The competition will be on Nov. 18 at Princeton University.

by Anmol Velagapudi and Michael Eng

A team of eight students from the Math club will compete in the Princeton University Mathematics Competition (PUMaC) in New Jersey on Nov. 18th. The upper school’s team consists of senior Swapnil Garg; juniors Katherine Tian and Michael Wang; sophomores Cynthia Chen, Rohan Cherukuri, Rishi Dange and Jeffrey Kwan and freshman Utkarsh Priyam. The team will be facing off against over a hundred other schools in many different competitions.  

“I like going to PuMAC and math competitions so that I can see all my math friends because there aren’t that many opportunities for me to see them in real life,” team captain Swapnil said.

The contest consists of the Power Round, the Live Round, the Individual Test, and the Team Test.

The problems in the Power Round, unlike the other rounds, expose a teams to proof-based mathematics and includes questions expected to take multiple hours. The problems are given to the teams before hand so students may work on it. On the day of the competition, the teams must submit their solutions.

The Live Round, a new event that started this year, consists of problems that must be submitted as a group to receive the next set. This is also the only round with a live scoreboard, adding to the suspense.

In the Individual Round, students choose to take a test about one of four subjects: Algebra, Geometry, Number Theory, and Combinatorics, which is a branch of mathematics about counting. Each test contains eight problems and must be completed within one hour.

The Team Test is a non-proof based test where teamwork is allowed. Teams are given a set of problems, and they do their best to complete the 15 questions in the allotted time of 30 minutes. Additionally, the Team Tests include a minigame portion as opportunity to score more points.

At the end, the top 3 individuals and teams will receive an award. Also, the top 10 teams, individuals, and overall scores from each category will be acknowledged for their high placings in the competition.

“I’m really excited for the competition since I think it will be a rewarding experience,” Cynthia said, “I’ll be able to learn more math as well as bond with my team members.”

Three weeks ago, the upper school’s team started preparing for the competition by meeting for two hours every week, reviewing problem solving techniques and practicing Team Tests together. Additionally, they practice individual tests at home.

“Harker got 19th place back in 2015, which is not bad. We did really well in the power round and the team round; but unfortunately, our individual total was not very high, and that’s the main reason we were 19th and not higher,” stated Swapnil.  “We hope to possibly break top ten this year; that’s our main goal.”

Some of the team members will also be competing in the Princeton University Physics Competition the following day, on the 19th. Later in the year, the students can also compete in the Math Madness competitions, the monthly California Math League, the Mandelbrot competitions, the Harvard-MIT Math and the Berkeley Math Tournaments.

This piece was originally published in the pages of the Winged Post on November 16, 2017.