Usually, according to the rules, participants of different math contests have to solve 4−7 tasks during 3−4 hours. At the VojtěchJarník International Mathematical Competition, which is considered as unofficial European math championship, participants are given 4 hours to solve 4 tasks.

"When participating in international student competitions, you don’t only use the knowledge you already have, but also learn something new while solving tasks. It is more than an application of one’s theoretical background. One would think that a student does nothing at a contest, however the time is usually pass quckly" said Dmitry Yakutov, student of the Computer Technology Department.

It may seem that participants have too much time, but unlike typical tasks that can be solved by using certain algorithms, math problems given at championships have no typical solutions. Each task is unique — the more creative a solution is, the more points are given to a participant.

"To train participants for these contests, experts use various methods. For instance, ITMO University’s training sessions are based on suballocated approach — experts in different fields of mathematics such as analytic geometry, linear algebra, math analysis, game and number theories, — they teach students how to solve problems," explained Alexander Ryzhkov, Candidate of Sciences and associate professor at the Department of Applied Mathematics.

Despite the fact that all the tasks are unique, they can be divided into several groups — game theory tasks, combinatorics tasks, geometry problems and others.

As of now, ITMO’s students participate in International Mathematics Competition for University Students (IMC, which is unofficially called world’s math championship), North Countries Universities Mathematical Competition (NCUMC), and William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition. Depending on the rules, young mathematicians take part in individual and team competitions. Thanks to the effective training, they manage to win prizes at local and international contests. For instance, in 2015 ITMO’s team joined the top-10 at the IMC and took second place at the NCUMC. This year they placed 3rd at the NCUMC and improved their positions during the local math competitions.

"Being skilled in solving math tasks is useful at job interviews — students easily solve test tasks. Then young professionals apply the knowledge and experience to dealing with business issues," commented on Dmitry Yakutov.