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2011 China Girls Math Olympiad

For the fifth year in a row MSRI, in partnership with the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), sent eight of the brightest young women in mathematics to participate in the 2011 China Girls Mathematical Olympiad. The competition was originally established as a regional competition for teams of female high school students from China and other eastern Asian countries (including Russia). Several years ago China expanded the competition to countries from around the world, with the USA, Canada, South Africa, and Australia among the invitees.  The team was chosen from the highest scorers in a series of competitions sponsored by MAA.

The team spent three weeks preparing for the competition at the Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program offered by the MAA on the campus of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. The Olympiad was held from July 28 - August 3 in Shenzhen.

All of the young women on the U.S. team have won medals!
Among the eight girls on the team, two students won gold medals, one student won a silver medal,
and five were awarded bronze medals.
Please click here to see the full story.

We are grateful to our generous partners in this project whose financial support has made the trip possible: Mathematical Association of America, IBM Research - Almaden, National Science Foundation, the Sunlin and Priscilla Chou Foundation, Akamai Foundation and others.

The members of the USA team are Rebecca Burks, Christina Chen, Sarah Herrmann, Elaine Hou, Julia Huang, Danielle Wang, Tiffany Wu and Victoria Xia.

The team coach is Zuming Feng, leader of the USA International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) team and Director of the Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program (MOSP) since 2003. He is a teacher at Phillips Exeter. Assistant Coaches are Inna Zakharevich, who was in the top 12 at the 2002 USAMO and is currently a graduate student at MIT; and Maria Monks, a former MOSP participant and the 2011 recipient of the Morgan Prize for undergraduate research in mathematics who will be entering graduate school at UC Berkeley.

The girls and their coaches will be sending regular messages and photos that we will post here. We invite you to check this page regularly and follow along on this exciting adventure.

Click here to see problems from the 2011 Olympiad.

The girls at the medal ceremony!
Back row: Rebecca, Victoria, Julia, Sarah; Front row: Elaine, Danielle, Tiffany, Christina

The 2011 China Girls Mathematical Olympiad Team at MOSP
Back row: Sarah, Rebecca, Victoria, Danielle; Front row: Christina, Julia, Elaine, Tiffany

Past China Girls Math Olympiads


August 4, 2011 - 1:15PM (China time) - Elaine

I've been looking over all of our journal entries over the last week.

Looks like I'm the only one who hasn't written an entry yet.  Sorry, Julia!

You're not the last person writing! 

I won't rehash the events or results of this year's CGMO.  The girls here covered the events thoroughly and I think Maria will type up our scores and medalings.

Right now, I'm on the fourteen-hour flight to Chicago.  I've already left the other girls.  (Victoria's still in China and the others all took the flight to San Francisco.  Forever alone QQ.)

Despite the claustrophobic conditions I'm in now, I'm still amazed by the amount of luxuries by which I am surrounded.  Moderate air conditioning, ice for drinks, legit bathrooms, oh my.  Never realized how much I relied on these things...

I'm rambling right now.  I think I'll just reflect on my whole journey, not just CGMO, but back in February, the start of the AMC series.  After this year's AIME, I was certain I wouldn't qualify for even USAJMO, and yet I did.  After USAJMO I was certain I wouldn't be selected to go to MOP, but I was.  Before MOP, I was certain I wouldn't be chosen for the CGMO team, but I was.  And right after the end of Day 2 at CGMO, I was certain I wouldn't medal - but I did.

(Once again, congratulations to this year's all-medaling CGMO team! )  Lady Luck has followed me - and probably all of us - on this magnificent journey; it never ceases to amaze me when I think of how lucky I must have been to come so far.

Well, it wasn't all luck.  I'm pretty sure none of us would have had such a fantastic experience without the support of those all around us.  I'd like to thank

1. My family and friends (for encouraging me to work harder and be better)

2. MSRI (for sponsoring us and making our trips to MOP and CGMO all possible, thank you!)

3. Maria and Inna (for being great coaches and holding the team together)

and lastly, but certainly not least, my teammates.  You guys (girls) have made this adventure not just a math competition (which alone is also good), but a story of new friendships, a plethora of memories upon which I will look back fondly.

Rebecca, Christina, Sarah, Julia, Danielle, Tiffany, Victoria: there will never be a day when I won't think of you.  It well may be that we may never meet again in this lifetime (although that's not likely, considering there are math competitions coming up) so let me say before we part, so much of me is made from what I learned from you - you'll be with me like a handprint on my heart.  And now whatever way our stories end, I know you have rewritten mine by being my friend (Alright, so most of this I quoted from For Good - Wicked, but the lyrics are quite apt.)  I miss you all already.

I guess *this* is the last time anyone writes in the journal until next year.  I'll do my best to try to come back next year.  Until then, I bid adieu to everyone reading this.  Farewell from all of us!


August 4, 2011 - Julia

I guess I'm last to write in this this year.  I'll miss the girls terribly now that the CGMO is over.  We're boarding now, so Adios!

-Julia Huang. 

August 4, 2011 - Rebecca

End of our stay in China:  Here are the things I will miss and not miss.

I will not miss:
-The bathrooms (sigh)
-The heat and humidity (no explanation needed)
-Not being able to read
-Random stalker pictures (It's okay if you *ask* for a picture with me, but just taking a picture is creepy.)

I will miss:
-Being in a different country!
-Trying to learn Chinese!
-Being with the girls!
-Learning more math!
-Singing "Finite Simple Group."

Goodbye for the last time,


August 4, 2011 - Danielle

CGMO is over .  I got zero mosquito bites though yay!  I'm at the airport right now at gate 61.  Also apparently Hong Kong has their own money, and it's purple!  We shopped at the airport for 20 minutes, but I didn't buy anything.  The only things I bought in China are a random crystal thing, a totoro and an angry bird.  Up until yesterday, I had spent more money on ice cream than other stuff.

Okay I should pass on the journal now.  Wait maybe not all Hong Kong money is purple.


August 4th, 2011 - Christina

This is my last time writing in the journal probably for a very very very long time    Darn.  Yesterday we returned to the hotel and then did some shopping.  Then we went to Pizza Hut because everybody wanted to try how pizza tasted in China (or almost everybody).  Tiffany and Victoria showed me a store displaying very very adorable Miyazaki paraphernalia.  So sad.  So sad.  Hopefully we'll see each other all at MOP and CGMO and score better and win the dance competition  I'm anticipating a 13-hour flight followed by a 6-hour flight.  Fun.

  I'll miss everybody a lot and a lot and a lot. 


August 4, 2011 - Sarah

Today will be 39 hours.  It's going to be great.    We leave from Hong Kong at 11:00AM and arrive in San Francisco at 9:00AM.

Last night after we got back to the hotel we went shopping and found little stuffed animal toys - angry birds, Shaun the Sheep (from Wallace and Grommitt: A Close Shave), and Totoro's (which are adorable).  I'm still really excited about the Totoro's.  There were Ponyo's and blue Totoro's as well, but they were smaller and more expensive so I didn't end up getting any.  The Totoro's are adorable, I'm still really excited.


August 3, 2011 - Tiffany

Awards ceremony today.

Gosh, I'm tired.  I won't write much.

But everyone medaled!  Woohoo!  Though I'm kind of disappointed in myself...darn, well, I guess it's better, so that I will work harder next year?

By the way, a lot of people didn't realize that the CGMO logo was a girls' hair with bangs.

Christina thought it was a wave. =.=

Anyways, our bus that was supposed to bring us to the hotel broke down, so... darn.

We had to march to a different bus stop, only to know that the bus could not take us to the metro.  Thankfully a nice policeman/security guard let us stay in their "station" (air-conditioned) until a chance encounter with a school bus led us to be able to hitch a ride to the metro.

Then we finally got to the hotel.  I missed air-conditioning.

And actual toilets.

With toilet paper.

And showers that don't actually double as toilets.

And wi-fi, gosh how much I missed Internet.

Then we went shopping, and I found the CUTEST Miyazaki store!

(Technically not a Miyazaki film store exclusively, but that was the most important part.) 

I bought lots of cute stuff.  Like totoro bags and plushies.

And now I'm tired.

Inna and Maria just finished explaining the 1st verse of "Finite Simple Group", and it was pretty interesting.  (Zorn's lemma and all that.  -insert joke about Zorn's Lemon-.)

Now it is late.  I am pretty incoherent now.

All I know is, I'm pretty sad that CGMO is over.  Victoria is supposedly leaving TONIGHT so I'll be all alone. 

I'll miss all the girls, and Inna and Maria, who were super nice and didn't eat me for doing kind of sub-par.

And I'll definitely miss all the cute things in ShenZhen and all the shops, even though the Chinese people stare at us for having white people in our group (are Caucasians really that exotic? LOL).  I never realized how much we take diversity for granted in the US.  It's pretty awesome, for the lack of a more appropriate word.

Anyways, I will miss everyone.  Presumably I will not write in the journal tomorrow, for the really really long August 4th.

So, (hopefully) until 2012,
-Tiffany Wu

August 2, 2011 - Victoria

Yayyyyy, contest over!  Awards ceremony tomorrow and we'll see how things went.

It's quite unfortunate actually, all I've been wanting to do lately is play tennis.  I'm so jealous that the other girls get to go home in a few days; I'll be stuck in China for another three and a half weeks or so, but that's okay because there's good food   I could do without the mosquitos though... my record thus far is seven in the course of five minutes (note to self: do not rest in dark, shady places near the water.  Resting is overrated.)  I still miss the tennis though.  It was pretty funny, I did question 4 before any of the others on yesterday's test (there were only four total) because it had the word "tennis" in it.  Actually, it was "table tennis" as we're in China, but that's close enough 

Highlight of the day: WE SURVIVED THE DANCE COMPETITION.  Quite spectacular, really.  Seeing as our only decent runthrough of the entire routine was about 15 minutes before the competition was supposed to start (yes, procrastinating habits carry over to China as well).  In the end our penguin dancing and can-can-ing to High School Musical, in addition to some more sane stuff, got us third honors and also special honors (probably because our group was 15 people and the next largest was 8... takes some skill to coordinate that many people in a couple of days).  There were some reallyyyy good dancers there...holy cow.  Wish I could be like that, but eh, I'd still pick tennis over dance any day .  The girls we danced with were all sooo nice (and pretty o.o) .

Ahhhhhh scores from the contest are coming in twenty minutes...!

Twenty-five minutes later: It appears I have been lied to.  No scores, but I did find out that I got owned by a combo question because I misread... RAGE .  How embarrassing... And the fix to the solution only took two minutes to find.  Darn.


August 1, 2011 - Danielle

YAY CGMO day 1!  Darn inequalities.  Smoothing.  I fail pretty hard at inequalities.  So the test was okay I guess.  I think everybody on the US teams solved at least 1 problem, although I haven't bothered to add up the total number of problems each team has.  Hopefully team California is beating team USA.  Not that it matters.

Then we had lunch and after that dance practice.  One of the four Chinese girls (who actually know what they're doing) was sick, so all four of them didn't come to take care of her or something.  Apparently she got sent to the hospital... must have been serious.  So the Russians and USA-ans practiced our own moves (we're not doing the same thing as the chinese people because we suck at that badly) we also learned part of the dance we're doing together with the chinese girls.

Basically, the dance is like this: first some random marching thing, then the Chinese people do something legit while the rest of us penguin dance.

Then we all do something more sane-looking, and then the non-Chinese people go in a circle and then the congo.  We're not sure what comes next, but somewhere we're freestyling and we're doing a wave.

Our pose at the end is spelling out CGMO 2011.  Rebecca and I have the O (not zero) which was pretty painful when we were standing backwards.

Fortunately, we are not doing that for the real thing.  That's about it.

Penguin dance is pretty pro.  Also, I can't really recognize the Chinese girls we're dancing with.  Only the one who speaks English.

Our dance team is called hoi polloi.

Then we got ice cream.

After dinner we went to the computer lab.

Things I have learned from CGMO:

1. How to use the lock in the bathroom at the hotel (not fun) 2. How to use the lock in the bathroom at the rooms we're in (even less fun, no AC) 3. How to open watter bottles (people look at you funny when you try to open them with your nametag) 4. You open all the squares around a square in minesweeper by clicking both mouse buttons (darn so weird, but windows minesweeper is not as sucky as I thought it was)

Day 2 is tomorrow, so I should shower and sleep.  The light in the bathroom in the California team's room is broken so we use the other team's bathroom.


July 31, 2011 - Julia

Breakfast.  Opening ceremony.  Computer lab.  Lunch.  Dance.  Dinner.  Ice cream.  Dance.  Sleep.

Now let me elaborate.

Meals - asian food xD. and lots of rice.

Now, interesting stuff:

Opening Ceremony - so people who gave addresses kept talking about partying. It was quite entertaining.  Then Rebecca gave a nice little speech.  Yay.

Computer Lab - YAYYY!  INTERNET!  It's pretty sad how desperate we are for communication with the outside world.  Gmail dies frequently so I used meebo.  It was quite nice to get in touch with my friends and one of my sisters.

Dance - Chocolate is entertaining *wink wink* to CGMO girls out there.

We danced with Russians and Xinjiang.  Apparently we're dancing to "Together" of High School Musical.  Yayy!  Fun stuff.  And we're doing congo dancing. o_O.

Until later,

July 31, 2011 -  Christina

It's pitch black in my room and I'm holding my cell phone light in my other hand.  I might still be jet-lagged, but I never actually feel tired. 

The point of the entry was supposed to be getting lost in the shopping complex on Friday, but then I realized that that was two days ago, so if this journal is supposed to seem very up-to-date, I probably shoulodn't write too much about it.  So basically, Tiffany and I are pretty directionally challenged and maybe we were being absent-minded that day, but we didn't remember how many levels of escalators we went up, so when we were supposed to reassemble where we started, we wandered around on the first floor, where we never went to shop, trying to locate familiar stalls.  We did this for almost an hour before really really freaking out and asking some guy in uniform if we could use the announcement system, which we eventually did.  Then the rest of the CGMO girls finally found us   , and Tiffany was worried that we were going to be kidnapped. 

Yesterday morning, we went for a hike, although I don't know if it's a real hike because it involved climbing stone steps.  We did that for not too long, but it was all uphill at first, and the weather was hot and humid, so at least I was tired.  The view at the top was very pretty though.

Then we tried to go to Pizza Hut, but the restaurant was so full that there was a long line!

After lunch, we went to the Shenzhen No. 3 High School, the site of the actual competition.  I'm really glad that the rooms are air-conditioned, even though the hallways aren't.  Also, the bathrooms are interesting...   After dinner, Maria and Inna had individual meetings with us.  I went first.  Everybody was nervous, but it was actually quite nice.

Okay, some random stuff.  Sarah, Inna, Rebecca have all gotten eaten by the elevator, and Inna hypothesized that the elevators dislike white people.  Hmm.  Also, during our hike, some people wanted to take pictures with Rebecca, Sarah, and Maria, which we all thought very funny.  At night, we watched Ponyo.  It was cute, but some of the stuff they said were pretty awkwardly weird.

Oh, and the CGMO teams were finally announced.  There's a California team and a non-California team, which I think is what they did a few years ago, although that time, I think there was a West Coast team and an East Coast team.

Darn.  It's 6:00AM now.  With all the breaks in between, it took me 1 and a half hours to write this entry. Victoria's alarm clock is going to wake everybody up soon, so I won't go back to sleep again.


July 29, 2011 - Rebecca

Today was our first full day in China!  Although it got off to a rough start (I only had 4 hours of sleep due to jet lag) in the end it was pretty fun.  We were planning to hike today, but the weather decided otherwise!  Intermittant rain and very humid weather combined to make us change our minds.  Instead of hiking, we went shopping!  (We're still going to hike tomorrow.)  We went to a shopping center after breakfast.  Haggling was very awkward (for me) but we managed to make it through alive.  Well actually, Christina and Tiffany got lost for an hour, but we managed to find them before we got too worried.

After lunch (I stuck with the spaghetti and meat sauce) we went to a theme park all about China and its different regions.  We walked around and stopped for a rest in a dark, quiet area near some standing water.  The result was very ugly.  Overall, the team now has about 25 mosquito bites.  Oh well.  Moving on quickly, we passed the Great Wall of China, in miniature.  We also saw miniature models of other Chinese landmarks.

After we finished, we got to see a performance by a dance group about Chinese history and culture.  It was awesome!  The costumes were pretty incredible.

I'd better sleep now.  For once, I'm the last one up in my room (that I'm sharing with Sarah, Julia, and Elaine.)


July 28, 2011 - Sarah

Ha, ha. Flights.  Fun.


July 27, 2011 - Sarah

Ha, ha.  This day doesn't exist.  Thank you so much to all the Mathcampers who stayed up with me or woke up with me or wished me luck.  You guys make me feel so loved.  I passed on your various messages to the other girls too.


July 1, 2011 - Tiffany

I’m sorry to say I didn’t write in the journal on the very last “official” day of MOP, but I hoped to write about my feelings after the whole ordeal was over, including singing troupe performance and the talent show and our late-night excursions and last goodbyes…so I hope that makes up for it.

I must confess… the Talent Show was brilliant. The dramatic readings, the hilarious skits, moving musical performances, and the Math Counts countdown round reenactment- not to mention the wonderful Singing Troupe performance, of course. Operation France France Revolution= total success! (In case you haven’t heard yet, it’s super top secret. However, if you promise you’ll never tell, I suppose I’ll let you in on it; the song goes:
 1. Refrain of “Do You Hear The People Sing”, followed by first verse.
 2. Instead of refrain of “People Sing”, insert “I’m a Little Teapot”.
3. 2nd verse of “People Sing”
4. The people sing Refrain+ Teapot harmony for the last part.

Bloody brilliant. <3 Everyone laughed their lids off. ;) see, I made a joke.

After superlatives( Max Schindler, you won both Best Troll and Worst Troll. Does this make you the only troll? Impossible…) which were hilarious, we were set free for the night.

And believe me, the night was far from over.

I ate ramen at about midnight and watched people drink Starbucks Coffee for a while, and we kind of sort of did not sleep at all. Can you blame me for wanting to spend time with these lovely lovely people one last time?

I’ll leave the rest of the night’s details up to you because frankly, it was all a blur anyway.

This morning, as our raggedy group of friends made it to the dining hall one last time to eat our last meal together, sadness was in the air.

After final glomphings (“glomph” is the sound effect you make when you hug someone) and near-tearful goodbyes, (I think I glomphed David at least 4 times, and Christina 5. Eric also almost made me cry by reminding me we won’t see each other at least for another year) people left for the airport, and MOP was officially over.

Since I was on the last shuttle to leave, I was delegated the task of taking the journal home until CGMO. Rereading the entries… well, needless to say, made me very sad.

I hope my flight home goes well, and I hope everyone gets home safely. I will miss all the MOP-pers TONS. TT.TT WAHHHH.

I’ve gotten so much from the camp; I’ve gained so much knowledge and friendship it’s crazy. It’s made me so much more determined to come back next year.

Wish me luck, and see you at CGMO!

-- Tiffany Wu

June 30, 2011 - Elaine

Last day of MOP. As you can see, all of us girls are writing in the journal. I’m with Sarah and Rebecca at dinner right now, but none of us are very hungry.

A shout out to Julia! Sarah and I woke up at 5:30 AM to say goodbye, but you were nowhere to be found. I think I speak for all of us- not just the girls, but all MOP-pers – when I say I hold every one of you dear in my heart.

We’ve got an extra long singing rehearsal thanks to Ben Gunby   DBR   The Most Exalted Musical Director at 5:45 because of the Talent Show. I’m looking forward to that and MOP Awards- it shall be greatly amusing.

Mop has been one of the best experiences of my life. I definitely want to come here next year. In the words of Singng Troupe,

“I’m flying high, defying gravity, and you can’t pull me down!” ~Defying Gravity

We’ll all keep moving forward bravely. “When the dawn comes, tonight will be a memory too, and a new day will begin.” ~Memory.

Farewell! –Elaine

 PS- Julia, you left your hairbrush…

June 30, 2011 - Rebecca

So it’s the last day of MOP (as you may have heard) and I guess we are all writing in the journal one last time. Here goes: Classes today: Set with Po-shen and Counting in Two ways with Paul. I think I participated more in class today than any other day! The classes were both really fun, and I think Mop will end on a high note!

Speaking of which, tonight is the Talent show, and Singing Troupe is performing! I’m really looking forward to it because we have some special songs planned at the end. (Operation France France Revolution!) Disclaimer: I only wrote the lyrics to “Song of the Coordinate Bashers” after trying every problem on the TSTST for 3 hours.

Last day of Mop. (You’ve probably heard this from the other girls, but we are all sad.) All the girls will see each other at CGMO, but I think we’ll all miss the guys too. So goodbye for now,


June 30, 2011 - Sarah

Yogurt, mint cake! I have been banned from writing for the last 10 days because I have too many entries. Since then a lot of stuff has happened.

We created MaoSet! There are currently two versions, both (possibly) still in testsolving. Evan’s version is some negative version and Adam’s version is some positive version.

We also created the “Song of Coordinate Bashers”, a song about bashing geometry problems to the tune of “Defying Gravity”. Evan wrote a draft the night before yesterday, then Rebecca wrote another during the TSTST, and the three of us wrote a final draft yesterday evening.

It’s the last day of MOP. I’ll miss all of you guys.


June 30, 2011 - Julia

It’s the last day of MOP. And also it’s not like 11:59 PM June 30th or something. I’m actually at breakfast, and I’m sitting at a table that’s taller than all the others for some reason. There are a lot of Asians in the dining hall all wearing the same shirt and pants which is kinda creepy. I mean they’re not wearing the SAME shirt, just the same shirt.

Since it’s the last day of Mop, which is like, fish, we should make ice cream by shaking stuff around in a bag.

June 29, 2011 - Christina

Darn. Mop is almost over. Today is the second to last day, but I think tomorrow will not seem like quite a normal MOP day because there’s going to be a lot of random wrapping-up stuff and packing.

Today was also the last day to TSTST. Also darn because I did not solve any problems again. This shouldn’t be too unexpected, but I sort of didn’t want to end my MOP testings with 9 straight goose eggs :P But the problems were interesting 4.5 hours of bashing geometry is very intense.

We had geometry class with Ian again this morning. Today we solved a bunch of problems involving the Miquel point. I like learning about geometry properties with names because they sound smart, like how last time, we studied the Fermat Point.

After that, we had a combo geo class with Coach Z. It reminded me a lot of Ricky’s class yesterday afternoon. Combo Geo problems seem a lot better than regular combo problems because 1/ they involve geo J and 2) they seem to have very short, cool solutions. For example, Victoria solved a problem involving cutting paper with circles with radical axes and powers of points.

I’m learning to solve a Rubik’s cube finally. I’ve always thought of it as a very obvious nerdy identification, just like twirling pencils, which I still need to learn. I’m still extremely slow and have to constantly refer to the algorithms Danielle very nicely wrote for me, but at least everything works. Hopefully I will memorize the algorithms soon.

Also, Rebecca, Sarah, and Evan composed an epic parody of Defying Gravity about coordinate bashing. It was so good that our musical director decided that we should sing it for the talent show. I think everybody is very excited . During singing troupe, we rehearsed most of the songs in order and it sounded super nice.

I feel like Mop has a different ambience generally, and I’ve gotten so used to people walking around saying “Darn” and “troll” and doing the ubiquitous fist thing that it’s going to be very hard to leave MOP . I will miss all the nerdiness and everybody who contributed to this nerdiness. I’ll copy Julia and Say:

Until CGMO, Christina

June 28, 2011 - by Julia

Today was my last non-TeSTing day. Tomorrow we have classes and TSTST and then I will need to pack and sleep early, so I can get up at 5 AM the 30th. I’m going to miss everyone SO MUCH. Yes, I know I sound like everyone else, but it’s so true. I’m gonna miss poking everyone, such as Andre Arslan, Joshua Brakensiek, Rebecca Burks, Wenyu Cao, Christina Chen, Eric Chen, Evan Chen, Lewis Chen, Alexander Clifton, Calvin Deng, Vahid Fazel Rezai, Michael Gao, Owen Goff, Ben Gunby, Linus Hamilton, XiaoYu He, Sarah Herman, Elaine Hou, Ravi Jagadeesan, Yong Wook (aka Spencer) Kwon, Mitchell Le, Ray Li, David Liang, Aaron Lin, Jeffrey Ling, John Ma, Evan O’Dorney (actually I haven’t poked him yet, but I’ll do it tomorrow J ) Abram Sanderson, Max Schindler, Eric Schneider, Mark Sellke, Bobby SHen, Rachit Singh, Alex Song, Alex Smith, Thomas Swayze, James Tao, Anderson Wang, Danielle Wang, Victor Wang, Clin Wei, Haotian (Tiffany) Wu, Victoria Xia, Yuanqing (Kai) Xiao, Dai Yang, David Yang, Patrick Yang, Sam Zbarsky, Joy Zheng, Alan Zhou, Kevin Zhou, and Alex Zhu. QQ. Fish.

Now, about today:

Catalan Numbers w/ Paul
                 It was fun making bijections.
Number Theory w/ Alison.
                 The triangle problem. GRR
Combinatorial Geo w/ Ricky
                Randomish theorems and proving them and doing problems.

Fish. After dinner, no Frisbee because a certain Andre hid it, sadface. And probably no more Frisbee today. (Nooooo…….. I will end on this sad note.

Until CGMO,
Julia Huang

June 27th, 2011 - by Elaine

10:20 am.

So Rebecca gave me the journal today.  ^_^  We just finished a geometry class.  Ian Le's really good at trivializing semeingly difficult questions -- it's epic!  Julia, Evan, and Adam are playing cards and we're all humming Finite Simple Group.  Alison Miller's about to teach a class on finite differences.  I'm feeling extremely pentagon!

6:20 pm

The class on finite differences was extremely interesting.  Even when math nerds aren't trying, they're still pointing out the ridiculousness of superstition.  XD

After lunch, we had our second session of TSTST!  *insert dramatic music*  It was better than yesterday, but more because I was still getting used the format.  The question were, once again, incredibly difficult.  I've heard that someone wrote 16 pages complex-bashing 4.  5 was this graph theory problem with a hilarious set up.  And 6, omg! was a 3-dimensional geometric inequality.


The girls had a surprise study session.  None of us knew about it until about five minutes before it happened.  However, it was definitely one of the best study sessions.  Alison Miller and Po-Shen Loh were there.  Anyway, Po-Shen had this epic amazing handout on collinearity and concurrency.  He taught us about Radical Axis, Pascal's Theorem, and Pappus's Theorem.  The latter two are these crazy ways of showing 6 points can create collinear points.

We ended studying at 9:30 because Singing Troupe was earlier today.  As usual, it's great fun!  I have most of the lyrics memorized by now and I think I'm going to be better at reaching the high notes of Music of the Night, just maybe.  Do you Hear the People Sing is still difficult because it's hard to sing loudly at a low pitch without straining my voice.  I partially wish I had Max's vote for that song.  We ended by rehearsing Finite Simple Group by Klein Four (or, in this case, Six) in the Piper Pit.  Linus and I sing melody, Sarah and Rebecca sing soprano/alto, Mitchell sings tenor, and Ben sings bass.  It's extremely fun, even if I get confused by the harmony.  Linus keeps singing "cuz" instead of "since," Mitchell's always playing Phantom of the Opera, and Ben kept telling us we were all flat.  Overall, singing is exhilarating and I can't wait until the talent show.

I'm so sad that MOP is coming to an end.  Everyone here is so amazing, so quirky, so brilliant.  Despite my constant frustration at test and difficult problems in class, I'm having a lot of fun.  I'm definitely going to miss everyone and everything. Yes, including the tests.  After finally falling into the day-to-day rhythm of MOP, after every piece is in place and steadily churning, the pieces are soon separated and dispersed across the country.  Life is always changing, but ever though I'll adjust back to life at home, I'll never forget these three-four short weeks of mathematical immersion.

Julia's going to get the journal next, I think she's leaving in two days.  I'm going to miss hanging out with her and getting poked.  To my fellow CGMO members:  I await the day we meet again.  To all MOPpers, both students and staff: "the hardest part of this is leaving you." ~MCR

This will likely be my last time writing in the journal, so I'd like to end on a happy note.  A shout out to my friends and family back home, I'll see you in a few days!

Enclosed is a haiku about MOP.  Forgive me if it's no good.

Math reigns supreme here
Over sleep and food; are we
Possibly insane?

Peace and happiness!  ^_^ ~Elaine

June 26, 2011 - by Rebecca

Today was... interesting.  Since it is Sunday, we have no classes!  So I decided to catch up on my sleep, and ended up missing breakfast.  Oh, well.  Most of the other MOPpers were todayng the same thing, so I was one of the first of the late group to get up.

Anyawy, I wandered around for awhile and then played Set (the regular kind) and ERS.  Julia, Aaron, and Evan taught me how to play Prime, which I probably should have learned before, seeing as how most of the SFBA people play it.  There are SO many new games at MOP I should learn, and games being invented... Case in point MaoSet.  No, this is not SetMao, this is a combination of Mao and SetMao which is in "open beta testing" by the MathCampers.  A game I just saw, but never played is 2^n.  It's pretty bizarre, because the first person jumps once, the next person twice, and so on, until on the nth turn, they jump 2^n times.  I believe the highest someone has jumped to is 2^14, which is equal to 16384 jumps.

So after the random tangent, back to today.  After lunch, we had the TSTST.  (Which in my opinion needs a better acronym).  4.5 hours of testing.  It's odd, that I have gotten so used to taking 4 hour tests.  The extra half-hour seems to take forever.  So, the TSTST.  It was pretty hard, I only think I got 1 problem (of 3) and possibly not even that (as it was hard to rigorize).  There's a TSTST tomorrow and Wednesday too.  Then we leave   I am going to miss MOP so much.

Looking back on my entries, I mostly talk about the weather, so let's continue that!  It's been pretty crazy, because it was thunderstorming, and then the sky turned green, so we thought it might tornado.  I am glad to say, it didn't.  It was kind of scary for a while, though.

What's next... Oh, right.  How could I forget Singing Troupe.  We are practicing for the Talent Show on Thursday now and our Musical Director (Ben Gunby) led us down to the Piper Pit to practice "secret things" which I am pretty sure the entire camp knows about already. 

The talent show has high anticipation, as there are lots of rumors floating around as to some of the acts.  After the talent show we all leave, so that will probably be the saddest night too.  I know I'll get to see all the CGMO girls soon... but not everyone else.  QQ.  Oh well, I guess I'd better stop writing now, as I have seemed to fill up 2 pages.  Bye!


June 24, 2011 (Kinda?) - by Tiffany

So, today was pretty dandy.  I woke up at 7:45 to work on team contest, but there wasn't enough staff, so it was cancelled.  Yay (?).  We ended up with a whole free day.  what a dilemma.  What was there to do?

We lazed about the piano room for a bit, and lots of people sat around being entertaining.  I've found that is a pretty prevalent characteristic of the people at camp.

Then I bumped into Owen, who just came from the art museum bearing candy corn.  Mission for today:  acquired.  I managed to convinced Christina to come with me, and also snagged John from a game of frisbee to come along as well.

At first, we thought it was the woolly mammoth place, but the nice lady inside said that it was the Natural History Museum.  π.π. But it turns out, the Art Museum wasn't far away, and let me say this: some of the art there is flipping GORGEOUS.  I especially liked the one with oil paint running down the canvas.  And also the miniature of the house with snow.

After looking at interesting things for a couple of hours, we eventually made our way to the gift shop.  SO MANY PRETTY THINGS.

There were dog-spray bottles and handbags made out of comic books woven together and glasses and ladybug magnets and shell earrings and frog tape dispensers and birds that chirped so cutely and WOW.  Needless to say, Christina and I were very excited.  John got bored of our slow browsing, so he left, but I ended up purchasing earrings that had little dangly books on them.  So freaking adorable. ... I know I sound like the typical teenage girl right now, but seriously, they were the most adorable earrings I have ever encountered.

After coming back, I met Mark, who apparently is really smart but also has really pokeable cheeks.  The rest of the afternoon was pretty uneventful, but enjoyable nonetheless.  We had a talk on some really interesting but weird graph recursion thing thing that I did not competely understand but was really exciting.

It's really sad that camp is almost over, and I'm only starting to get to know people "QQ".  It's been one "wild" ride, and I've learned a lot, and met so many awesome people.  I will definitely miss MOP.


June 24th, 2011 - by Victoria

It's so sad that MOP is coming to an end already!  Three weeks have flown by and now the looming end is starting to get depressing.  I'm definitely going to miss the people here the most.  Everyone here is so smart and special and fun and amazing like no other group of people I've ever met.  I guess I just wanted to say that I think each and every one of you is amazing and we should keep in touch   Thank goodness the girls will all be seeing each other again soon after MOP ends (except Joy ).

Today was our last MOP test, Test 6.  I'm glad to say that it went a lot better than Test 5, but I butchered the last question completely.  Also today was a "rehearsal" for the talent show coming up on Thursday.  Some of the acts are... going to be interesting.  To say the least.  It's going to be /loads/ of fun though, and I'll be emcee-ing with Delong.  Yay!  The singing troupe should be really good, and please ignore Danielle's lie about her not being able to sing and me being the one who can sing, it's quite the opposite.

On another note, Tiffany taught me how to solve a Rubik's cube!  I'm fairly certain that I'm one of the very few people here (or the only person) who doesn't already know how to, but now thanks to Tiffany I can at least sort of solve one.    (Sort of.)

Also, the dining hall had the cutest little cupcake-style desserts during lunch today.  They weren't actual cupcakes (except for a few), but they came in bitesize little forms in cupcake wrappers and there were soooo many flavors.  They have cheesecake with strawberry, oreo, chocolate mint, chocolate chips, cream and nuts, and basically everything.  Too cute. 

Oh, and Tiffany, if you're going to take random creeper shots of people, you should post some here and send all of them to me  .  That is all.  Enjoy~!

-Victoria Xia

June 23, 2011 - by Danielle

I think it's June 23rd at least, only because the last entry was June 22nd.  Actually I thought it was June 24th before now.

So I'm sitting somewhere.  Singing troupe is supposed to start ... like ... now, but it's not starting.  I have no idea why I'm here, because I'm probably the only one in singing troupe who can't sing AT ALL.  Because Victoria, who says she can't sing either but is probably better than me, refuses to come.

So right now for some reason some people are singing some weird song, probably from the phantom of the opera, considering it contains the words "the phantom of the opera".  I'm trying to keep this entry under 1 page, so I think I'll take the rest of the page explaining why

1.  I'm too lazy and it's almost June 24th

2. I think if I go over 1 page, whoever ends up typing this will be confused by that random squiggly thing which is Eric Chen's signature at the bottom of the page.  It's there because he put an apostrophe between the t and the s in the it's in the first paragraph, so he has to sign.  It will also be weird if I go to the next page and have a sentence that is randomly interrupted by somebody's signature.  I can't erase it because I don't [Eric Chen's signature] think I can forge it properly.  Wait, I'm on the next page now.  I think I wrote too big.

Not that anyone will be able to tell this is on the next page when it's posted online.

So what I just wrote was completely meaningless.  Don't worry I'm really confused too.  Mabye it's cause I've been up for 17 hours.

On a not-so-related sidenote, the first three paragraphs were written before singing troupe and the rest after.

Next time I get the journal I'll write something that makes sense and I won't leave out apostrophes.

Why is it that whenever I have the journal I write in it during 2 days?  (It's Friday... 12:01 AM, though).  I need to write a non-self-referencing journal entry someday.

And I just saw how Elaine said in her June 19th entry "forgive me if I begin to ramble..." Hmm... this whole entry is rambling ... because I'm too lazy to try to remember what happened today and write about that.


I lost


June 22, 2011 - byChristina

We just took MOP Test #5 today and it wasn't quite as good as MOP test #4 but it's also kind of hard to believe we only have one MOP Test left.  I did some yucky casework for #1 and vector-bashed #4.  Hmm.  I wonder what my style scores will be like.  This morning we had geo with Ian and games with Maria, which were both fun because 1) I like geo and 2) games are always nice because even if you can't solve the problem, you can always keep playing with a partner and that's a lot better than solving problems by yourself.  Afterr dinner, Tiffany and I had a team contest session, and later David joined too.  At least for myself I can't say I made too much progress People kept on walking past our room yelling random/weird things and we just giggled a lot.

I think that the most intense thinking today was actually during study time, when we had to prove little lemmas like 0.a = 0 and (-1)^2 = 1 from the basic axioms.  It was number theory class all over again   But somehow it seemed more fun this time   Maybe the setting matters a lot.  Two of our main results were 1) a|b => gcd(a, b) = a and 2) a|b => gcd(a, c) <= gcd(b, c).  Yay!

Singing troupe was basically right after study hour because we all wanted Maria to explain simple groups, from the very cool song "Finite Simple Group of Order Two."  I'm not sure if that's the exact title, but it's such a nerdy nerdy nerdy song   It turns out that "finite simple group of order two" is a little redundant, so maybe whoever composed the lyrics wasn't as smart as he wanted to seem.

Singing was very fun, as usual.  I was glad we didn't have to sing "Wonderful", which is the only song out of the bunch that I don't really like.  In particular we sang "Defying Gravity" and "Wishing You Were Here Again", which are both so pretty.

Then I went to sleep Now you probably know that I'm not actually writing this on the 22nd.  It's actually the morning of the 23rd very early.  I think I sleep earlier than anybody else and wake up before everybody else.  If it weren't for the singing troupe I would probably sleep at 10:00 pm everyday.  Darn.  I feel like an old person.  Okay, that's it for today.


June 21, 2011 - by Julia

We got back Test 4 today and I managed to double my cumulative math score.  YES!  I've done better on tests ≡ 1 (mod 3) but there's no test ≥ 7, so I guess I'll just see what happens.  Anyway I'm really happy with my score, except I lost 2 points on #4 because of a stupid off-by-one error.  DARJN! QQ.

Now my day in backward chronological order.  At night we played Botticelli and chess.  I was playing bughouse with Mark against Wenyu and Thomas.  Surprisingly (/sarcasm) I lost (Teh game).  For Botticelli, at one point Calvin was word master and the name began with "L" and I have the non-obvious (/sarcasm) clue "Old tv show I love" and Calvin was stumped (it was Lucy).  Another time my clue was "hill" and the word begain with J and Abram said "pail", "male" except I made no connection until he said "water" and Lewis couldn't get it (it was Jack).

Then before that, I attended, or basically everyone attended, Po-Shen's very legit seminar, about how fast people could find the sum of everyone's number.  And the search for bounds and answers to open questions.

Before the seminar we played ultimate again (surprise surprise).  The teams were NOT stacked at all.  I don't think I touched the frisbee at all.  Oh well.  We played more Botticelli before that.  And one thing I found particularly amusing was Tim not being able to get "He checks his list twice" on "S".  Fail.

Anyway classes today was Bijections with Maria (fun fun fun) one of my favorite classes all camp, more Jensen/smoothing stuff with Paul (who's so beast at frisbee) and graph theory with Po-Shen.  So it was really fun today.  Okay, time to sleep.  Bye!

--Julia Huang

June 20, 2011 - by Sarah

Chocolate bagel date pear,
Chocolate bagel date pear,
Chocolate bagel date Pesto,
Chocolate bagel date pear!

My morning was pretty miserable because I was exhausted but the rest of the day was great.  (A side note: all of my Tuesdays so far have been awful, I hope tomorrow isn't.)  Luckicly my energy returned after lunch, just in time for the test.  I solved numbers 1 (pretty easy - Fermat's little theorem solves it) and 2 (an inequality which took a while to solve, but I guess the solution is motivated because it involves getting rid of the ugly cube root).

After dinner we had a thunderstorm, which was pretty great (San Diegan's rarely get to see high quality thunderstorms).  I'm pretty sure I bugged everyone by saying "it's lightninging" everytime I saw lightning, but lightninging is a very fun word to say.

Someone ought to eat the sopranos, because it's really hard to sing the alto parts while they're singing.  Rebecca and I were only able to sing about half of our harmony parts, so I guess we need to practice again tomorrow.  "Can You Hear the People Sing" is a great song about the French Revolution which sounds like it ought to be bounced to, but our MUSICAL DIRECTOR (Ben Gunby) says no, and monkey say, piffle do.

I think that η and φ are severely underused in math.  They're definitely the Greek letters which are most fun to write.

We learned the "correct" way to solve recurrence relations, and I'm pretty disappointed; it involves a lot of hand-wavey guessing.  Z-transforms are much better.  Professor Zeger (of UCSD) taught a method of solving recurrences which used them this winter at San Diego Math Circle.  Unfortunately their main use is entirely different, and when I googled them I couldn't find anything that used them in the context of math.  Luckily I took good notes and accidentally took them to MOP with me.  Professor Zeger only teachs at SDMC around once per year, but they're always really interesting topics.  In the 2009-2010 school year he taught finite fields.  I'm not sure whether my notes for that are at home or non-existent, but it was very interesting.


June 19, 2011 - by Elaine

            So we took the second half of ELMO today. Simply, it was disastorous. David Yang wrote #6 about 'Little D' and 'Big Z'. It was very subtle... I heard Mark Selke got that question o_O

            We had team contests again! At lunch, Adam mentioned that there were 6 graders per 4 rooms. The Black/Blue teams got 4 graders, lucky! I presented a very trig bashy solution, but got full credit! ^_^ My team didn't win, but it was still interesting.

            So Alison and Maria arrived around today. I only met Alison, who memorized all the girls' and some of the boys' names. The sad part is Jenny is leaving tomorrow! QQ We're all going to miss you, Jenny! T_T

            I'd like to write more later, but I have to finish soon. Forgive me if I ramble.

            We'll finally get to see how we did at MOP Test 3 which is nerve racking. It's less nerve racking than it used to be ( I think we're all getting used to 4-hour tests...) but I think I did a lot worse than I should have.

            I really really really love Singing Troupe! It's so coll how the songs all from musicals I know and how some guys try to sing falsetto. By the way, Evan is a fantastic pianist! Ben is a great director whenever he remembers to direct.

            Last night, we got the lyrics to “Do You Hear the People Sing” which was epic and amazing! Although, it was bizarre when Max was singing falsetto and Bass alternatingly. (Max, stop trolling. JK!)

            I can't believe MOP's already half over! It went by so fast! Despite the sleep deprivation and tests every other day and just being inundated by math. I'm having fun. Everyone here is just very clever and cool and mathematical! I know I'll see the girls again soon, but it definitely won't be the same without the guys. I'll just enjoy the rest of MOP and learn as much as I can.


Yes, I knew it, I bombed Test 3. I'll take this as a sign to work hard and not be distracted by other things. Test 4 tomorrow, wish me luck!


June 18, 2011 - by Rebecca

            Team Contest tomorrow! I am so much more excited about this contest than the last one, although I actually have contributed less to my team. We are still more prepared than my last team. We have solved about 50% more problems than last time.

            So I am writing this after playing frisbee for two hours!! It was so much fun, but running around gets really hot. I couldn't tell if we won or lost, but nobody really cares. After we almost lost Julia's Mandelbrot frisbee in the bushes, the throws were not quite as wild but there were still some crazy catches. We started out with four people on a team and ended up with about seven on a side. Six person gain!

            Right now I am listening to all the songs we are supposed to be singing in Singing Troupe. Sarah and I are the two altos in the group, and it can be difficult to find our notes through all the tenor and bass singers. It's still fun! Last night we sang for an hour after we officially were supposed to end (at 10). We were supposed to end early because of tests in the morning, but that didn't really happen. =). I just realized that with the test on Friday, the one today and the tests on Sunday and Monday, we will have had four straight days of testing! I am actually getting used to four hour tests, which is something I thought would never happen.

            So anyways, back to today. Actually after the morning's test, there was nothing much. We (Julia and I) went over the team contest for three or four hours and played frisbee for two more (as mentioned above :D), but otherwise, today was just a day to catch up with what has been delayed.

            On a slightly sad side note, Ali and Carlos, some of my favorite teachers, left this week. As Evan would say, QQ. Oh well. We'll probably have more classes with our other teachers, who are just as good.

            Singing troupe starts in 45 minutes and I should probably review the Team test before that. This is all for now!


June 17, 2011 - by Danielle

            Hmmm...It's actually 11:55pm on June 16th right now, but we're supposed to have one journal entry a day, so I'll pretend it's June 17th.

            So...yogurt! Apple Lobster candy! Wait, I'm not sure if that candy's supposed to be there. But that's about all I know how to say in food tongue – well, anything that even remotely makes sense. I am NOT going to write this entire journal entry in food tongue. Not only have I never known/forgotten most words, I don't know how to spell a bunch. I do not run around trying to figure out how to spell what I eat....although that would probably just mean Googling.

            Yay it's 12:05AM June 17th now! Now I'll talk about my day. Today I spent 5 minutes writing in the CGMO journal. If that's what it's called.

            That's about it. I think I'll write about yesterday.

            You know, I never thought the CGMO team actually wrote in a real live journal, like, on paper! I mean I've seen their entries posted online, but I assumed they just typed it and ...yeah....not write it in a notebook that gets passed around. Anyhoo, yesterday.

            I woke up yesterday morning at 7:40 I think, because Christina woke me up (that's the only reason I do not miss breakfast and class everyday. Look it's 12:17 and I'm writing this journal entry). 7:40 was later than I expected, so I was kind of in a rush and I left for breakfast without my room key and meal tag. So I had to go back and Christina had to come with me because I needed her key and she couldn't get into the dining hall without her meal tag anyway.

            And it was raining on me. I can't play. Wait, I meant it was raining, how annoying. Then we had classes. First on I don't remember, the number theory with Coach Z. Then lunch, then...I don't remember...with Ali, and okay what I'm going to say probably does not make any sense: Mint apple champagne candy, so we didn't have to do more write-ups, where mint apple grass limeberry MOP food. Fine MOP spinach grass food, and I'm not sure if Limeberry is the right word there, but I'm pretty sure I should start writing things people can understand (normal people).

            I had to do a write-up anyway because Green Lost the game (and The Game) two days ago, so I wrote up a functional equations problem on a piece of paper with a rejected CGMO shirt design on the back. Darn, apparently puffer fish have nothing to do with the US CGMO team. Speaking of shirt designs, James (I think?) designed a MOP shirt that says TROLL on it. I don't know how close/far it is from winnig. There was a petition for it so I signed it just for the heck of it.

            We voted for the shirt designs during test review (the TROLL was not one of them) and I think maybe the one with MOSP reflected to 2011 will win. Maybe not. I have no idea.

            My MOP test scores have been decreasing: 10.4, 6.4, 6.3. Sigh, My test 2 math score was higher than my test 1 math score, but my MOP score was lower. Also, my score prediction score is 6.

            And a few hours ago, before everyone had to be in their rooms, I played a game of something not called gluck because there were only three teams. Victoria and I were on a team and we kind of got pwned. We only got 2 positive scores and 3 non-negative scores. Hmm....I'm pretty bad at solitaire.

            Team contest is in a while (3 days) but I've only solved 3 problems. Hopefully my team does better than my team did last time (we got 139/75 last time :O).

            Ugh my entry is kinda long, I should stop. It might be because I waste space talking in food tongue which I'm really bad at and no one understands anyways. My handwriting is getting worse and worse too....It's 1:14 AM. I think I'll stop.


June 16, 2011 - by Victoria

            Today we got back our test scores for MOP test 2, and I'm glad to say that I finally redeemed myself after pretty much failing Test 0 and Test 1. (To give you a sense of what I mean, let's just say that my Test 2 score is a fair bit more than my combined scores from Tests 0 and 1). What makes it especially good is that I completely BS-ed the ending to one of my proofs and was somehow still awarded full credit. It also means that I'm going to have to be careful in the future because now I'm probably marked as a “BS-er”. Oops.

            Even as awesome as that was, my official highlight-of-the-week is still something else. A few days ago, at the dining hall, Tiffany wanted an apple so we got one and wandered over to the conveniently located apple slicer. It took us a second or two to figure out where the apple was supposed to go, and by then we were so excited that we immediately pulled down the lever. What do you know, the apple was sliced....and the pieces fell all over the table/floor. Ohhhh, you were supposed to have a bowl underneath there! *facepalm*. Apparently, the first time Christina used the apple slicer, there was already a bowl there. Soooo not fair. Speaking of food, the desserts are amazing <3. Also, Tiffany and I are running an experiment to see how late we can leave the dorms for the dining hall in the morning and still eat and get to class on time. Thus far, we have pushed our original time of 7:30 back to 8:03. Win.

            Additional note-to-self:Don't use caffeine as a solution to sleep deprivation. Yesterday morning I was having trouble focusing in class, so during lunch I decided to load up on Mountain Dew (one of my favorite drinks, but I don't have it much, and you're about to find out why) to prevent myself from dozing off during the four hour test to come in the afternoon. My crash hit maybe an hour after the test finished, while I was out under the sun playing tennis. I was hardly pushing myself yet I was already out of breath and panting and my arms had barely enough strength to lift my racket. Then came the dizziness, and that's when I decided to quit. Anyway, by midday today I had fully recovered (and sure learned my lesson), so tennis is really fun =D (Even though I'm not really good XD).

Yeah so that's all from me for now. Byeeeee~!

Victoria Xia

June 15, 2011 - by Tiffany (Haotian)

Singing troupe was super fun today. We sang “Music of the Night” from the Phantom of the Opera, but the part where it goes “let your soul take you where you want to BE!!!” no one can hit except for Elaine. >.< I started laughing because I can't hit it. Note to self: practice more until Victoria hits me over the head for making her deaf.

Just kidding. We all love one another. *chuckle* Even if some of us (*cough* ME *cough*) are singing impaired.

ooo, and today was MOP test number 2, *shivers*. I feel like I did better than my last test, but my hunches are often false. =.= I feel like my 5 pages of case work for #1 was excessive, maybe, but...*sigh*idk. As long as I'm improving...

Also today, before the test, we took a group photo by the wooly (woolly? wooly? I'm terrible at spelling) mammoth “Archie”, and I lost my water bottle, which I had just filled with hot coffee. =.= But I got it back about an hour ago (and it's about 11:43 pm right now, the picture was at 1:00pm). and the coffee was still warm. O.O can  you say REALLY AWESOME WATER BOTTLE? However, it is really difficult to drink from, so I need to buy a new one. :/

Oh, and also. -Sorry, my train of thought is all over the place- today, we had “birthday” cake, even though it was never clarified whose birthday it actually was. (Rumor has it there's a small chance it may have been Coach Z's....but then again, there was a rumor it was John's birthday too, but apparently that's February 3. O.O)

Also, I would like to note some observations about MOP I've had so far. 

(1)   “Troll”, “dude”, and “darn” are overused. The first by Max Schindler. The 2nd and 3rd by Mitchell Lee and Linus when solving problems.

(2)   QQ is apparently a crying face. Evan uses this a lot.

(3)   People seem either really amused or turned off by my enthusiasm for things. Especially cute things. Or things I think are funny (but apparently David doesn't think so, because he gives me weird looks.)

(4)   A lot of awesome people lie in wait for you to talk to them.

That's about it. Goodnight!

-Tiffany Wu (Haotian)

June 14, 2011 - by Elaine

So, even though this is my second time with the journal, this is my first time writing in it. (Thanks Sarah :3) Everyone else's handwriting is so neat!

We just took Test 1 yesterday. I think I redeemed myself after my dismal Test 0 results, but we'll see. Also, this is really random, but Danielle looks really cute with her hair down, not that she doesn't look cute always.

Today was our last lessons from Carlos (triangles) and Ali (functional equations). I wish it weren't so because they're both really good, really enthusiastic teachers. It's lunchtime right now and we still have Number Theory class with Josh and a CGMO T-shirt design meeting and a trip to the bookstore and maybe Triangle Diplomacy, this game that Ali's organizing! Ta Ta for now!


Okay, I'm back again. After lunch, we had a lecture about modular arithmetic. I understood the lecture but couldn't do any of the problems, sigh. Then we girls had a meeting about CGMO shirt colors. The polos will be grape and grass;the t-shirts, sunshine and fuchsia. (for some reason, color names are ridiculously funny).

At 7:30 pm, Sarah and I went to the bookstore again to meet Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket. He was in his words, inscrutable. His speech was mildly interesting, but we had to leave early to go to the review session.

I was right! I did decently on Test 1! I only hope I can do as well or better on Test 2 tomorrow.

The girls had another meeting at 9-ish to fill out forms. For supposedly some smart people, we most certainly lack common sense. Oh, and apparently Rebecca Black (not the one on the team, lol) has a new song “LOL”, as Victoria showed me. This cannot be good.

Peace and Happiness! ~Elaine

June 13, 2011 - by Sarah

I bribed Elaine to give me the journal, although I meant for her to give it to me after her turn...but this is ok too. Apparently chocolate is delicious because she obviously took the bribe. //

           Also, // is a perfectly legitimate way to indicate the ending of a little proof, like a lemma. Proof: Richard Rusczyk uses it in his article about how to write good proofs. //

            Attempts to make classes more interesting (suggesting left and right distributivity rather than just distributivity in a class on basic number theory; asking about the ordinals in a class about inductions) have so far failed.

            Singing Troupe is a lot of fun, but it lacks awesome math songs. I'm not quite sure what the schedule it, but so far (i.e. since Saturday) we've practiced every day. Unfortunately, one of the songs is “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again”, which I prefer as “Wishing It Were the First Week Again” despite the connotations of people leaving and people graduating (Ugh. It's that time of the year again. Those of you whom I did not get to say “goodbye” and “come visit” to, you are you excused from visiting).

            We played Mao; “real Mao with actual cards” as Thomas calls it. I'm sure he must hate the rule of “Rain”, as it tends to target him.

            I must have picked a bad day to write, because I can't think of anything else to say.

Sleep Well!

Oh, I forgot to talk about the CGMO shirt designs. The shirts will have a 2,8 torus link on the front and sponsor names on the back.

June 12, 2011 - by Julia
    It's day 5, 9:42 pm, and I'm sitting in the blue room next to the guys playing bughouse with 6? people. It's hard to believe that I've already been here for 5 days yet it's also hard to believe it's only been a week (not even), because I've settled in quite nicely. My permanent drowsiness prevented any possible 2-hour jetlag. Yay! I've met everyone at MOsP, and can name mostly everyone. The people here are really cool and awesome (with the exception of a certain someone *cough*) and the food here is nice.
    Despite having no classes today, it was suprisingly fun-packed. I woke up an hour later than usual; 7:30 instead of 6:30. I went to breakfast, supposedly "crossing at the crosswalks", expecting at least 8-10 moppers already there. But I was completely wrong. Besides meeting Elain in front, I didn't recognize a single person. I guess even math nerds sleep in. As we finished, most of my team had arrived, and we proceeded to spend the rest of the morning working on the team contest. A certain person helped us with #14 .
    As a random side note. It seems that Dallas just won basketball championship.
    Over lunch, I finally got an omelette! I waited a whole hour yesterday before deciding to ask if there were omelettes (there weren't), We then goofed around and Mark put ice cream on a cookie and proclaimed himself a genius, despite knowing that Rebecca did the exact same on day 1. We then proceed to talk about ice cream cones made of cookie but we were left confused on how ice cream cones were made. James said something about mushrooms but I'm not sure how that relates.
    After lunch we headed to Nebraska Hall, and we competed with teams 4 and 5. Luckily I was randomly chosen to present first on my team and I could present a problem I was familiar with. We were losing by a lot at first but we eneded up coming back by getting 16 out of 21 points on the last round with Stewart's bash, and winning the whole thing by 1 point. We then came back and I rounded up people for ultimate frisbee, and we played for 2 hours . Our team was kinda stacked, but as more people joined, the teams evened up and it was really fun. At the beginning, my strategy of running to the other end and wait for the frisbee patiently worked, but later on, not really. I've played frisbee 4 or 5 days in a row now, and I can't seem to get sick of it.
    After dinner, I played liar's poker with 7 or so other people, but they had to leave to pick teams got ELMO (which I still have no clue what it is, except a "mock IMO" says Joy). Then I played one round of Spades, one round of Hearts, where Max ragequitted, because he thought Queen of Spades didn't break hearts but we thought otherwise. We then played more liar's poker but I'm not sure how that disbanded.
    We back MOsP test 0 scores, and I'm glad to say that mine is non-non positive, but barely. We then went to test review and number 4 was something we \underline{all} shound have gotten *cough*. Oh well.
    I just spent exactly the last hour writing, but it was nice to get my thoughts and experiences on paper, as it's been a while since I've blogged. ZZZ time!
June 11, 2011 - by Christina

Hmmm. Since we didn't have afternoon classes, our team basically worked on team contest problems for 5 hours in an empty classroom. We solved several. . But not all . And the contest is tomorrow....Hmm, maybe that means more team contest sessions on Sunday, or maybe more recruiting black/blue MOP people and persuading them to dispense hints...or just explain the entire solutio. Tee hee . But since too much math is very bad for the brain. I watched Totoro with Tiffany today. I love chubby bunnies . It has the cutest characters. Then, at 10:00 pm, we went to listen to the music troupe practice a few songs. Hmmm. I'm not sure what I wanted to say about this. It sounded suprisingly nice,as in I didn't expect this kind of singing from nerdy MOP people. Hmm. Tiffany and I want to participate in the music troupe, so before going to bed, I listened to all the songs with her a few times, as I didn't know any of the songs. Hmm. I think that means I'm quite musically challenged. On a more math-related note. Coach Z annouced the memebers of the IMO team today. I'm not sure whether I should make any comments about the results, as I'm only in red MOP.
June 10, 2011 - by Rebecca
    Test 0 was today and my brain aches. It was a long four hours. The only cures available? Frisbee, SetMao, and of course more math problems. I decided on math problems, in the form of the Team Contest. It's on Sunday and we are all looking forward to (or dreading it).
    Today's trickest math problem: Proving 0<1 in Number Theory. It was suprisingly difficult.
    I finally feel as if I've adjusted to Nebraska time, but the last remains of jet lag make it hard to wake up in the morning. On a slightly related note, the sun decided to shine at 6 o'clock pm for the first time in two days. About time! It's been too gray for my California tastes.
    Study session was inequalities with Ali (who BTW has an awesome beret!). Now I'd better hunt down my team and do some problems!
June 9, 2011 - By Sarah

Evan broke SetMao today by using “You take it, you keep it” to get the cards he needed to pass on a very very very nice day rather than having the very very nice day himself. Unfortunately, there is no disadvantage to abusing the rules in this way, so we had to revert from Mathcamp standard basic rules version $$\pi\sqrt{2i}+\epsilon'$$ to version $$\pi\sqrt{2i}+\epsilon$$. Mao is also currently broken (under Mathcamp standard rules) and Adam says that there is no previous version we can revert to to fix this, so I guess we have to make up a new version, but I can't even remember the current version number.

    The CGMO team has their own study session in the evenings, and today we did Cauchy-Schwartz inequalities (I think there is a third name that applies, and I think it's Nimitz, but I don't have internet access to check and I may have completely made that name up. Anyway, I like Cauchy-Schwartz inequalities (Rebecca says to remember that they're of the form $\prod\sum \square=\square \sum \prod$ ) but I'm not sure that I'll be able to recognize them if they came up in problems. We also discovered that problems can be cute without necessarily being nice, e.g.
    [Iran 1998] $$Let x,y,z >1 and \frac{1}{x}+\frac{1}{y}+\frac{1}{z}=2. Prove that $\sqrt{x+y+z}\geq \sqrt{x-1}+\sqrt{y-1}+\sqrt{z-1}$$.
We're also wondering whether Cauchy-Schwartz generalizes, that is, can we say the following:
$$(x_{1,1}^2+x_{1,2}^2+\cdots+x_{1,n}^2)(x_{2,1}^2+x_{2,2}^2+\cdots+x_{2,n}^2)\cdots (x_{m,1}^2+x_{m,2}^2+\cdots+x_{m,n}^2)$$
$$\geq (x_{1,1}x_{2,1}\cdots x_{m,1}+x_{1,2}x_{2,2}\cdots x_{m,2}+\cdots+x_{1,n}x_{2,n}\cdots x_{m,n})^2$$

    One of the classes today was Pigeonhole Principle and an example was given to show how obscure the pigeons and pigeonholes can be:
    Show that any prime of the form 4k+1 can be written as the sum of two squares.
    This hinges on -1 being a square mod p. I remember learning about quadratic residues in Mark's number theory classes at Mathcamp last year, but I can't remember how to prove this and I left most of my math notebooks, including the one my notes for those classes are in, at home.
    I've met several future Mathcampers here! It's upsetting that I have to miss 10 days of Mathcamp, probably including puzzle hunt, for CGMO - before MOP, I didn't know when CGMO would be, and the limited Google results about previous summers indicated that it would be mid-August, after Mathcamp.
    Enough people now know how to play SetMao that Adam added a "real" rule, Fruit. I have some ideas about it, but I haven't figured it out yet.
    This is the first college campus I've been to with a decent bookstore (i.e. it has food!), which is important because dinner is from 4:30pm-6:30pm. The UCSD bookstore has a much better selection of books, but this one has a good selection of food.
    I think I'd better sleep now.