Problem of the week

A contest for WSU undergraduates but challenging for anyone!

The rules 

  • Each Tuesday, starting in the third week of the fall and winter semester, "The problem of the week" will be posted near the mathematics department office (1150 FAB) and here on the website
  • Contestants are broken up into two categories: Group A: Those students who have not completed MAT 2030 and Group B: Those students who have completed MAT 2030 
  • Students must submit their written (not electronic) solutions to the math department (1150 FAB) by noon of the following Tuesday
  • In each category, all correct solutions will equally divide 100 points. For example, if four people in Group A submit correct solutions, each student will earn 25 points
  • After ten weeks, the top three students in each category are declared the winners


  1. In each category, prizes of $50, $20, and $10 are awarded for the students in first, second, and third places respectively.
  2. Winners will be invited to attend the mathematics department's Annual Award Ceremony held in April.
  3. You get to have fun with mathematics!

Leaderboard: Winter 2022 winners

Group B (completed MAT 2030)

Place Name Score
First Jacob Klein 298
Second Ryan Connery 197
Third Sharfi Shayan 47

Group A (not completed MAT 2030)

Place Name Score
First Nishat Naylah 310
Second Drelen Muse 10
Third Bianca Riley 10

Sample problem

Armenian Mike and Bubba have eight quarts of wine, which is in an eight-quart jar. Assuming the container and the jars hold exactly the amount specified, and the men have no other means of measuring, how can they divide the wine equally?

Sample problem solution

The steps required are demonstrated in the following table.

Step  8-Q 5-Q 3-Q
Start  8 0 0
1 3 5 0
2 3 2 3
3 6 2 0
4 6 0 2
5 1 5 2
6 1 4 3
7 4 4 0