Results of the 2008 Putnam competition

3,627 students from 545 colleges in the U.S. and Canada participated in the 69th annual William Lowell Putnam Competition, held December 6, 2008. The top four teams were the same as last year, in the same order: Harvard, Princeton, MIT, and Stanford. Not surprisingly, those institutions also took most of the top spots in the individual contest; MIT alone accounted for one in every four of the top 200 individuals.

The U of I team, coached by Professors A.J. Hildebrand, Jeremy Rouse, and Sujith Vijay, placed 30th among the more than five hundred colleges and universities fielding a Putnam team. In the individual contest, the top local scorers were Justin Kopinsky, who earned 32 out of 120 points and placed 279th overall, Richard Moy (30 points, 335th), E. Sakulbuth (24 points, 435th), and Meng Guo and Michael Nasti (20 points, 619th).

Also of local interest is the performance of Alex Zhai, a former student of University High School, who is now at Harvard University. Alex had won the 2008 U of I Undergraduate Math Contest in dominating fashion as a high school student. Participating in his first Putnam, Alex was one of the three highest scorers from Harvard, placed in the top sixteen overall, and earned a $1,000 prize for this performance.

The Putnam contest, which has been called by Time Magazine the "World's Toughest Math Test", consists of 12 challenging problems, to be solved over 6 hours. Each problem is graded on a 0-10 point scale, for a maximal total score of 120 points. An indication of the difficulty of the contest is the fact that a score of 73 out of 120 points was enough to place in the top 1 percent of all participants; 30 points was enough to place in the top 10 percent; and 10 points (corresponding to a single problem correctly solved) guaranteed a place among the top third of all participants.

Back to the UIUC Math Contests page