Archive for the ‘Olympiad’ Category

Romanian Masters in Mathematics contest – 2018

March 9, 2018 Leave a comment

Problem 1. Let {ABCD} be a cyclic quadrilateral an let {P} be a point on the side {AB.} The diagonals {AC} meets the segments {DP} at {Q.} The line through {P} parallel to {CD} mmets the extension of the side {CB} beyond {B} at {K.} The line through {Q} parallel to {BD} meets the extension of the side {CB} beyond {B} at {L.} Prove that the circumcircles of the triangles {BKP} and {CLQ} are tangent .

Problem 2. Determine whether there exist non-constant polynomials {P(x)} and {Q(x)} with real coefficients satisfying

\displaystyle P(x)^{10}+P(x)^9 = Q(x)^{21}+Q(x)^{20}.

Problem 3. Ann and Bob play a game on the edges of an infinite square grid, playing in turns. Ann plays the first move. A move consists of orienting any edge that has not yet been given an orientation. Bob wins if at any point a cycle has been created. Does Bob have a winning strategy?

Problem 4. Let {a,b,c,d} be positive integers such that {ad \neq bc} and {gcd(a,b,c,d)=1}. Let {S} be the set of values attained by {\gcd(an+b,cn+d)} as {n} runs through the positive integers. Show that {S} is the set of all positive divisors of some positive integer.

Problem 5. Let {n} be positive integer and fix {2n} distinct points on a circle. Determine the number of ways to connect the points with {n} arrows (oriented line segments) such that all of the following conditions hold:

  • each of the {2n} points is a startpoint or endpoint of an arrow;
  • no two arrows intersect;
  • there are no two arrows {\overrightarrow{AB}} and {\overrightarrow{CD}} such that {A}, {B}, {C} and {D} appear in clockwise order around the circle (not necessarily consecutively).

Problem 6. Fix a circle {\Gamma}, a line {\ell} to tangent {\Gamma}, and another circle {\Omega} disjoint from {\ell} such that {\Gamma} and {\Omega} lie on opposite sides of {\ell}. The tangents to {\Gamma} from a variable point {X} on {\Omega} meet {\ell} at {Y} and {Z}. Prove that, as {X} varies over {\Omega}, the circumcircle of {XYZ} is tangent to two fixed circles.

Source: Art of Problem Solving forums

Some quick ideas: For Problem 1 just consider the intersection of the circle {(BKP)} with the circle {(ABCD)}. You’ll notice immediately that this point belongs to the circle {(CLQ)}. Furthermore, there is a common tangent to the two circles at this point.

For Problem 2 we have {10\deg P = 21 \deg Q}. Eliminate the highest order term from both sides and look at the next one to get a contradiction.

Problem 4 becomes easy after noticing that if {q} divides {an+b} and {cn+d} then {q} divides {ad-bc}.

In Problem 5 try to prove that the choice of start points determines that of the endpoints. Then you have a simple combinatorial proof.

Problem 6 is interesting and official solutions use inversions. Those are quite nice, but it may be worthwhile to understand what happens in the non-inverted configuration.

I will come back to some of these problems in some future posts.


Putnam 2017 A3 – Solution

December 4, 2017 Leave a comment

Problem A3. Denote {\phi = f-g}. Then {\phi} is continuous and {\int_a^b \phi = 0}. We can see that

\displaystyle I_{n+1}-I_n = \int_a^b (f/g)^n \phi = \int_{\phi\geq 0} (f/g)^n \phi+ \int_{\phi<0} (f/g)^n \phi

Now note that on {\{ \phi>=0\}} we have {f/g \geq 1} so {(f/g)^n \phi \geq \phi}. Furthermore, on {\{\phi<0\}} we have {(f/g)^n <1} so multiplying with {\phi<0} we get {(f/g)^n \phi \geq \phi}. Therefore

\displaystyle I_{n+1}-I_n \geq \int_{\phi \geq 0} \phi + \int_{\phi<0} \phi = \int \phi = 0.

To prove that {I_n} goes to {+\infty} we can still work with {I_{n+1}-I_n}. Note that the negative part cannot get too big:

\displaystyle \left|\int_{ \phi <0 } (f/g)^n \phi \right| \leq \int_{\phi<0} |\phi| \leq \int_a^b |f-g|.

As for the positive part, taking {0<\varepsilon< \max_{[a,b]} \phi} we have

\displaystyle \int_{\phi\geq 0} (f/g)^n \phi \geq \int_{\phi>\varepsilon}(f/g)^n \varepsilon.

Next, note that on {\{ \phi \geq \varepsilon\}}

\displaystyle \frac{f}{g} = \frac{g+\phi}{g} \geq \frac{g+ \varepsilon}{g}.

We would need that the last term be larger than {1+\delta}. This is equivalent to {g\delta <\varepsilon}. Since {g} is continuous on {[a,b]}, it is bounded above, so some delta small enough exists in order for this to work.

Grouping all of the above we get that

\displaystyle I_{n+1}-I_n \geq \int_{\phi \geq 0} (f/g)^n \phi \geq \int_{\phi>\varepsilon} \varepsilon (1+\delta)^n.

Since {|\phi>\varepsilon|>0} we get that {I_{n+1}-I_n} goes to {+\infty}.

Putnam 2017 A2 – Solution

December 4, 2017 Leave a comment

Problem A2. We have the following recurrence relation

\displaystyle Q_n = \frac{Q_{n-1}^2-1}{Q_{n-2}},

for {n \geq 2}, given {Q_0=1} and {Q_1=x}. In order to prove that {Q_n} is always a polynomial with integer coefficients we should prove that {Q_{n-2}} divides {Q_{n-1}^2-1} somehow. Recurrence does not seem to work very well. Also, root based arguments might work, but you need to take good care in the computation.

A simpler idea, which is classic in this context, is to try and linearize the recurrence relation. In order to do this, let’s write two consecutive recurrence relations

\displaystyle Q_nQ_{n-2} +1 = Q_{n-1}^2

\displaystyle Q_n^2 = Q_{n+1}Q_{n-1}+1

We add them and we obtain the following relation

\displaystyle \frac{Q_n}{Q_{n-1}} = \frac{Q_{n+1}+Q_{n-1}}{Q_n+Q_{n-2}},

which leads straightforward to a telescoping argument. Finally, we are left with a simple linear recurrence with integer coefficient polynomials, and the result follows immediately.

IMC 2017 – Day 2 – Problems

August 3, 2017 Leave a comment

Problem 6. Let {f: [0,\infty) \rightarrow \Bbb{R}} be a continuous function such that {\lim_{x \rightarrow \infty}f(x) = L} exists (finite or infinite).

Prove that

\displaystyle \lim_{n \rightarrow \infty} \int_0^1 f(nx) dx = L.

Problem 7. Let {p(x)} be a nonconstant polynomial with real coefficients. For every positive integer {n} let

\displaystyle q_n(x) = (x+1)^n p(x)+x^n p(x+1).

Prove that there are only finitely many numbers {n} such that all roots of {q_n(x)} are real.

Problem 8. Define the sequence {A_1,A_2,...} of matrices by the following recurrence

\displaystyle A_1 = \begin{pmatrix} 0& 1 \\ 1& 0 \end{pmatrix}, \ A_{n+1} = \begin{pmatrix} A_n & I_{2^n} \\ I_{2^n} & A_n \end{pmatrix} \ \ (n=1,2,...)

where {I_m} is the {m\times m} identity matrix.

Prove that {A_n} has {n+1} distinct integer eigenvalues {\lambda_0<\lambda_1<...<\lambda_n} with multiplicities {{n \choose 0},\ {n\choose 1},...,{n \choose n}}, respectively.

Problem 9. Define the sequence {f_1,f_2,... : [0,1) \rightarrow \Bbb{R}} of continuously differentiable functions by the following recurrence

\displaystyle f_1 = 1; f'_{n+1} = f_nf_{n+1} \text{ on } (0,1) \text{ and } f_{n+1}(0)=1.

Show that {\lim_{n\rightarrow \infty}f_n(x)} exists for every {x \in [0,1)} and determine the limit function.

Problem 10. Let {K} be an equilateral triangle in the plane. Prove that for every {p>0} there exists an {\varepsilon >0} with the following property: If {n} is a positive integer and {T_1,...,T_n} are non-overlapping triangles inside {K} such that each of them is homothetic to {K} with a negative ratio and

\displaystyle \sum_{\ell =1}^n \text{area}(T_\ell) > \text{area} (K)-\varepsilon,


\displaystyle \sum_{\ell =1}^n \text{perimeter} (T_\ell) > p.

Balkan Mathematical Olympiad 2017 – Problems

May 10, 2017 Leave a comment

Problem 1. Find all ordered pairs of positive integers { (x, y)} such that:

\displaystyle x^3+y^3=x^2+42xy+y^2.

Problem 2. Consider an acute-angled triangle {ABC} with {AB<AC} and let {\omega} be its circumscribed circle. Let {t_B} and {t_C} be the tangents to the circle {\omega} at points {B} and {C}, respectively, and let {L} be their intersection. The straight line passing through the point {B} and parallel to {AC} intersects {t_C} in point {D}. The straight line passing through the point {C} and parallel to {AB} intersects {t_B} in point {E}. The circumcircle of the triangle {BDC} intersects {AC} in {T}, where {T} is located between {A} and {C}. The circumcircle of the triangle {BEC} intersects the line {AB} (or its extension) in {S}, where {B} is located between {S} and {A}.

Prove that {ST}, {AL}, and {BC} are concurrent.

Problem 3. Let {\mathbb{N}} denote the set of positive integers. Find all functions {f:\mathbb{N}\longrightarrow\mathbb{N}} such that

\displaystyle n+f(m)\mid f(n)+nf(m)

for all {m,n\in \mathbb{N}}

Problem 4. On a circular table sit {\displaystyle {n> 2}} students. First, each student has just one candy. At each step, each student chooses one of the following actions:

  • (A) Gives a candy to the student sitting on his left or to the student sitting on his right.
  • (B) Separates all its candies in two, possibly empty, sets and gives one set to the student sitting on his left and the other to the student sitting on his right.

At each step, students perform the actions they have chosen at the same time. A distribution of candy is called legitimate if it can occur after a finite number of steps. Find the number of legitimate distributions.

(Two distributions are different if there is a student who has a different number of candy in each of these distributions.)

Source: AoPS

Some of the easy Putnam 2016 Problems

December 11, 2016 Leave a comment

Here are a few of the problems of the Putnam 2016 contest. I choose to only list problems which I managed to solve. Most of them are pretty straightforward, so maybe the solutions posted here may be very similar to the official ones. You can find a complete list of the problems on other sites, for example here.

A1. Find the smallest integer {j} such that for every polynomial {p} with integer coefficients and every integer {k}, the number

\displaystyle p^{(j)}(k),

that is the {j}-th derivative of {p} evaluated at {k}, is divisible by {2016}.

Hints. Successive derivatives give rise to terms containing products of consecutive numbers. The product of {j} consecutive numbers is divisible by {j!}. Find the smallest number such that {2016 | j!}. Prove that {j-1} does not work by choosing {p = x^{j-1}}. Prove that {j} works by working only on monomials…

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IMC 2016 – Day 2 – Problem 8

July 28, 2016 2 comments

Problem 8. Let {n} be a positive integer and denote by {\Bbb{Z}_n} the ring of integers modulo {n}. Suppose that there exists a function {f:\Bbb{Z}_n \rightarrow \Bbb{Z}_n} satisfying the following three properties:

  • (i) {f(x) \neq x},
  • (ii) {x = f(f(x))},
  • (iii) {f(f(f(x+1)+1)+1) = x} for all {x \in \Bbb{Z}_n}.

Prove that {n \equiv 2} modulo {4}.

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