International Mathematical Olympiad

Jul 30, 2015 | Sharyland

U.S. Team Takes First Place at International Mathematical Olympiad


Chiang Mai, Thailand: The six-person team representing the United States took first place at the 56th International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO). The 2015 IMO was held in Chiang Mai, Thailand, from July 4 to 13.

IMO Team with their USAMO Medals
Back Row: Michael Kural, Yang Liu, Ryan Alweiss, Shyam Narayanan
Front Row: Allen Liu, David Stoner

IMO scores are based on the number of points scored by individual team members on six problems. The problems are taken in sets of three in 4.5 hour sessions over two days. The U.S. team’s combined score of 185 edged out the Chinese team’s score of 181 and the Republic of Korea’s third-place score of 161.

Members of the U.S. team included Ryan Alweiss, Allen Liu, Yang Liu, Shyam Narayanan, and David Stoner, all of whom were awarded gold medals, and Michael Kural, who earned a silver medal, just one point away from the gold. The last time the U.S. team took first place was in 1994.

IMO Team at the Awards Banquet
Row 1: Mark Saul, MAA Director of Competition; Ravi Vakil, IMO lecturer; IMO Hostess; Alex Zhai, Assistant coach; Ryan Alweiss, Gold Medal winner; Shyam Narayanan, Gold Medal winner; Allen Liu, Gold Medal winner; Hostess; Po-Shen Loh, National Coach
Row 2: John Berman, Assistant Coach; Michael Kural, Silver Medal winner; Yang Liu, Gold Medal winner; Michael Heath, U.S. Consul General, Chiang Mai, Thailand; David Stoner, Gold Medal winner

Participants on the U.S. team were selected through a series of competitions organized by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), culminating with the USA Mathematical Olympiad. The six team members joined 48 of their peers at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in June for three weeks of immersion in problem solving at MAA’s Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program (MOSP). Established in 1974 to train the first U.S. team to the IMO, MOSP has expanded over the years and broadened its goals. MOSP is organized by the MAA, which sustains the program each year with the support of a number of donors including the Akamai Foundation and the Simons Foundation.

Po-Shen Loh, who is a member of the mathematics faculty at CMU, directs MOSP and leads the USA IMO team. Loh is excited about the success of the six students, and sees the success of the team as an outgrowth of the extended goals of the program. As quoted in an article posted this week on the Simons Foundation website, Loh notes that "the focus of our program should be to recognize that we have 54 of the most impactful high school students in terms of potential, and we should help them be successful long-term."

About the IMO: The International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) is the World Championship Mathematics Competition for High School students and is held annually in a different host country. The first IMO was held in 1959 in Romania, with seven countries participating. Today more than 100 countries from six continents participate.