Putnam Competition

Are you an SFU Undergrad who relishes a challenge?

The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition is held on the first Saturday of December each year.  Wikipedia has a good OVERVIEW of the Competition

In 2023, a total of 3,857 undergraduates from 471 institutions in Canada and the USA entered the competition.  Oscar Lautsch placed in the Top 500.  In the 2022 Competition, Hailey (Hyeyoung) Ahn placed in the Top 500. In the 2017 Competition, Ningxin Wei placed in the Top 500. In the 2015 Competition, Matthew Burgess placed in the Top 500.  In the 2014 Competition, Adriano Arce and Koen van Greevenbroek placed in the Top 500.  In the 2013 Competition, Jiaxing Liang placed in the Top 200.  In the 2012 Competition, Josiah Klassen placed in the Top 500.  In the 2011 Competition, Rui Sheng Shi placed in the Top 200 and Steven Melczer and Andrew Poelstra placed in the Top 500.

SFU's best performance to date was in 1999, when Colin Percival was one of the six highest ranking individuals and the team of Arthur Kowalczyk, Tomasz Kowalczyk and Colin Percival placed among the top ten teams.

The Putnam isn't easy. Typically more than half the entrants in any year score 0, 1 or 2 points — out of a possible 120! Yet the questions don't assume anything beyond standard undergraduate mathematics. Success in answering questions requires persistence, originality, and crystal-clear expression of ideas. 


The Department of Mathematics makes awards to students achieving the following placings in the Putnam Competition.

Top 500... $100       
Top 200... $150       
Top 100... $200       
Honourable Mention... $250       
Groups N1 and N2... $300       
Putnam Fellow... $350