Problem Solving Seminar

Math 281S

Many Duke students have achieved honors at national and international math competitions over the past few decades.

The half credit Problem Solving Seminar, Math 281S, is  offered each fall designed for students who enjoy math competitions. It is open by permission only.

Students learn about techniques for solving challenging math problems one evening a week.  They write up careful solutions with complete and rigorous proofs.

Most students taking the seminar for credit would have qualified for the American Invitational Math Exam while in high school.

Students are required to take the Virginia Tech Contest in late October and the Putnam Competition in early December and to help design problems for the Duke Math Meet in November.


At the opening meeting of the Duke Math Union at 6:15 August 31, 2017, in Physics 130, you can learn more about DUMU and the Problem Solving Seminar.

A sample problem set for Math 281S will be distributed at this meeting.  Those who do sufficiently well will be invited to enroll.

Qualifying problem set will be posted here.

Due date: Monday 9/4/17 by noon to Prof. Kraines office (Physics 233)

Further instructions are on the problem set.

For comparison, see    2016 Problem set 0 

All interested students welcome to sit in on the Seminar, participate in the competitions and attend other DUMU events.

For more information, contact professor David Kraines <>, Trung Can <> or Feng Gui <>