On m.SE last year there was a problem with someone cheating on the entrance problem set for the PRIMES high school research program at MIT. Selection for PRIMES for this year has begun, and they're taking more precautions this year to avoid this happening again. There's some things they're doing on their end, but the way these incidents are usually caught is when another user happens to recognize the problems.

So the directors of PRIMES asked me to post a link to the problem set (at meta.m.SE and here), to ask that if anyone sees any of their problems posted here that they be closed and that the moderators contact Pavel Etingof.

It's less likely that this will be a problem here at MO than at m.SE since most of their questions would get closed as off topic, but it could still come up.

Thanks, both from me and from the PRIMES directors for your help!

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    $\begingroup$ I think this throws up a more general question, namely whether in times of the internet it is really appropriate to make a contest with publicly available questions which are the same for every participant. -- As soon as the questions are published, with whatever motivation anybody in the world could post answers on whatever website, and participants of the contest could easily find them. Also, the legal possibilities for the organizers of the contest to request deletion would probably be quite limited. $\endgroup$
    – Stefan Kohl Mod
    Commented Sep 23, 2013 at 13:40
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    $\begingroup$ @StefanKohl: You may be right, unfortunately it's not clear what other system would work. I don't know PRIMES situation in detail, but Mathcamp gets 200+ applicants, so certainly there's no way to write separate problems for each person. Fortunately, people who are good enough at math to solve hard math problems typically don't want to try to sabotage math programs. When this issue has come up almost always the answerer was not aware of the source of the problems. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 23, 2013 at 13:52

2 Answers 2


There's a new set of problems for the year again if anyone who would like to could keep an eye out that'd be great: http://math.mit.edu/research/highschool/primes/materials/2019/entpro19.pdf

  • $\begingroup$ Is this worthy of a new top-level post? $\endgroup$
    – LSpice
    Commented Sep 25, 2018 at 17:42
  • $\begingroup$ It's an old top level post. Sorry if there's a newer top level post that's more appropriate. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 25, 2018 at 18:28
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, I meant: do you think your answer here to your own old top-level post is worthy of a new top-level post? More explicitly, I think it's worthy of one (as presumably increasing visibility), and was wondering if you agreed. $\endgroup$
    – LSpice
    Commented Sep 25, 2018 at 18:29

Another new set is out for this year, if people could keep an eye out that'd be great. Thanks!



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