Twenty UTM undergraduates from the Department of Mathematical Sciences, Faculty of Science were amongst 587 participants who took part in the Simon Marais Mathematics Competition on Saturday, 18 October 2020. This year, the annual competition was held online for the first time due to the Covid-19 situation that has been gripping the world recently.
The Simon Marais Mathematics Competition (SMMC) is an annual undergraduate mathematics competition for the Asia-Pacific region hosted by Simon Marais Mathematics Competition Ltd supported by the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute, Australian Mathematical Society Inc., The Hong Kong Mathematical Society and other international Mathematical societies. The aim of the competition is to encourage creative mathematical problem-solving among undergraduates in the region, covering eight mathematics topics: Sequences, Series, Mathematical Induction, Real Analysis, Geometry, Linear Algebra, Number Theory and Probability Theory.
The last SMMC competition that UTM participated was in 2019 with 16 entries consisting of eight-single entrants (eight students) and eight paired entrants (16 students). This year, we managed to round up 14 entries consisting of eight-single entrants (eight students) and six paired entrants (12 students). The students were selected based on their excellent academic performance and their past experience winning medals at other Mathematical Olympiad competitions held this year.
In preparation for SMMC, the students had undergone a series of training under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Ali Hassan Mohamed Murid, Prof. Dr. Tahir Ahmad, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mukhiddin Muminov, Dr. Ahmad Fadillah Embong, Dr. Mohammad Izat Emir Zulkifly and Dr. Mohd Ali Khameini Ahmad.
We would like to applaud the trainers and students for their commitment in training the students daily online, a month prior to the competition during the long semester holidays. Thank you also to the committee who managed the students including Dr. Siti Mariam Norrulashikin. Dr. Nurul Aini Jaafar, Dr. Mohammad Izat Zulkifly Emir & Dr. Norhaiza Ahmad.
SMMC is generally conducted in two sessions- closed book exam (three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon) at participants home university. However, in order to proceed with the competition this year without compromising the health and well-being of anyone involved, significant changes have been made this year. The changes include (i) it is not mandatory for students to be on campus on the day of the competition, thus conducted online (ii) the regular prize of AUD100,000 in total prize money have been replaced by a number of alternative monetary prizes.
The results of SMMC was announced in early December 2020. Although we were not listed in the names of top decile and quartile universities, it was an experience participating in this competition.
This article is contributed by: Norhaiza Ahmad, Siti Mariam Norrulashikin, Nurul Aini Jaafar and Mohammad Izat Emir Zulkifly.