Meritocracy is the worst form of admissions except for all the other ones

I'm now going to say something explicitly that I hinted at in June: I don't think a student deserves to make MOP more because they had a higher score than another student. I think it's easy to get this impression because the selection for MOP is done by score cutoffs. So it sure looks that… Continue reading Meritocracy is the worst form of admissions except for all the other ones

I switched to point-based problem sets

It's not uncommon for technical books to include an admonition from the author that readers must do the exercises and problems. I always feel a little peculiar when I read such warnings. Will something bad happen to me if I don't do the exercises and problems? Of course not. I'll gain some time, but at… Continue reading I switched to point-based problem sets

Against the “Research vs. Olympiads” Mantra

There's a Mantra that you often hear in math contest discussions: "math olympiads are very different from math research". (For known instances, see O'Neil, Tao, and more. More neutral stances: Monks, Xu.) It's true. And I wish people would stop saying it. Every time I've heard the Mantra, it set off a little red siren… Continue reading Against the “Research vs. Olympiads” Mantra

Things SPARC

[EDIT 2018/03/05: This description seems significantly less accurate to me now than it did a few years ago, both because my views/values have changed substantially, and because SPARC has changed direction substantially since I attended as a junior counselor in 2015. I'll leave it here as a reference, but should be taken with a grain… Continue reading Things SPARC