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[Solutions] William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition 2002

  1. Let $k$ be a fixed positive integer. The $n$th derivative of $\tfrac{1}{x^k-1}$ has the form $\tfrac{P_n(x)}{(x^k-1)^{n+1}}$, where $P_n(x)$ is a polynomial. Find $P_n(1)$.
  2. Given any five points on a sphere, show that some four of them must lie on a closed hemisphere.
  3. Let $N$ be an integer greater than $1$ and let $T_n$ be the number of non empty subsets $S$ of $\{1,2,.....,n\}$ with the property that the average of the elements of $S$ is an integer. Prove that $T_n - n$ is always even.
  4. In Determinant Tic-Tac-Toe, Player $1$ enters a $1$ in an empty $3 \times 3$ matrix. Player $0$ counters with a $0$ in a vacant position and play continues in turn intil the $ 3 \times 3 $ matrix is completed with five $1$’s and four $0$’s. Player $0$ wins if the determinant is $0$ and player $1$ wins otherwise. Assuming both players pursue optimal strategies, who will win and how?
  5. Define a sequence by $a_0=1$, together with the rules $a_{2n+1}=a_n$ and $a_{2n+2}=a_n+a_{n+1}$ for each integer $n\ge0$. Prove that every positive rational number appears in the set $$\left\{ \frac {a_{n-1}}{a_n}: n \ge 1 \right\} = \left\{ \frac {1}{1}, \frac {1}{2}, \frac {2}{1}, \frac {1}{3}, \frac {3}{2}, \cdots \right\} .$$
  6. Fix an integer $ b \geq 2$. Let $ f(1) = 1$, $ f(2) = 2$, and for each $ n \geq 3$, define $ f(n) = n f(d)$, where $ d$ is the number of base-$ b$ digits of $ n$. For which values of $ b$ does \[ \sum_{n=1}^\infty \frac{1}{f(n)} \] converge?
  7. Shanille O'Keal shoots free throws on a basketball court. She hits the first and misses the second, and thereafter the probability that she hits the next shot is equal to the proportion of shots she has hit so far. What is the probability she hits exactly $50$ of her first $100$ shots?
  8. Consider a polyhedron with at least five faces such that exactly three edges emerge from each of its vertices. Two players play the following game: Each, in turn, signs his or her name on a previously unsigned face. The winner is the player who first succeeds in signing three faces that share a common vertex. Show that the player who signs first will always win by playing as well as possible.
  9. Show that for all integers $n>1$, \[ \dfrac {1}{2ne} < \dfrac {1}{e} - \left( 1 - \dfrac {1}{n} \right)^n < \dfrac {1}{ne}. \]
  10. An integer $n$, unknown to you, has been randomly chosen in the interval $[1,2002]$ with uniform probability. Your objective is to select $n$ in an ODD number of guess. After each incorrect guess, you are informed whether $n$ is higher or lower, and you $\textbf{must}$ guess an integer on your next turn among the numbers that are still feasibly correct. Show that you have a strategy so that the chance of winning is greater than $\tfrac{2}{3}$.
  11. A palindrome in base $b$ is a positive integer whose base-$b$ digits read the same backwards and forwards; for example, $2002$ is a $4$-digit palindrome in base $10$. Note that $200$ is not a palindrome in base $10$, but it is a $3$-digit palindrome: $242$ in base $9$, and $404$ in base $7$. Prove that there is an integer which is a $3$-digit palindrome in base $b$ for at least $2002$ different values of $b$.
  12. Let $p$ be a prime number. Prove that the determinant of the matrix \[ \begin{bmatrix}x & y & z\\ x^p & y^p & z^p \\ x^{p^2} & y^{p^2} & z^{p^2} \end{bmatrix} \] is congruent modulo $p$ to a product of polynomials of the form $ax+by+cz$, where $a$, $b$, and $c$ are integers. (We say two integer polynomials are congruent modulo $p$ if corresponding coefficients are congruent modulo $p$.)

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MOlympiad: [Solutions] William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition 2002
[Solutions] William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition 2002
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