International Mathematical Olympiad Foundation

The IMO is an international competition for high school students which has been running annually since 1959 and now has over 100 countries competing, including all members of the G20. The IMO is a self-governing autonomous organization, though it is affiliated to UNESCO. Its Council is elected by participating countries, and is called the IMO Advisory Board.

The IMOF is a charitable organization which accepts donations from organizations which wish to support the IMO. The volunteers who administer the IMOF pass on donations to support the IMO, principally in the form of grants to host countries to defray the costs of hosting the event (which involves over 1000 people for 10 days).

Virtual IMO2020 in St. Petersburg

IMO has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. When it became clear that a normal IMO2020 in St Petersburg in July would be impossible, the event was postponed until September in the hope that the pandemic would recede. Unfortunately this did not happen, and eventually it became clear that a normal IMO2020 would be impossible.

The organizers of IMO2020 and the IMO Board decided that it was vital to provide a fully official IMO2020 in September to all the young mathematicians who have been preparing to compete for many years. In order to do this remotely, a completely new virtual IMO format has been invented, with security protocols in place so that everyone can have full confidence in the integrity of the results.

Measures include: an Exam centre in every participating Country or Territory, supervised by a neutral IMO Commissioner. Socially distanced Exams will observed by webcams, with the video feeds sent to the Invigilation team in Russia. There will be a 4 hour 30 minute window in Co-ordinated Universal Time (GMT) in which every IMO Exam must start, so that there will be no gap after an Exam is finished in one Country, and the start of an Exam in another Country. This means that New Zealand (who go first) will finish their exams at midnight, and the last to sit (Mexico and many countries of South America) will start their papers at 07:00 local time (midnight NZ time). The countries of Africa, Europe, the Middle East and most of Asia will be able to sit the Contest Papers at more conventional times. The Problem Selection Committee will set the Contest Papers, not the IMO Jury.

There is also a difficulty with IMO2021. This was scheduled to be held in July 2021 in Washington DC. The funding model for this event was so disrupted by the pandemic that it soon became clear that it would be impossible to hold the event, and the USA was forced to withdraw its offer to host IMO2021. However, it seems that we have a new Host Country for IMO2021. As soon as the IMOB has formal confirmation that this will happen, the rearranged location of IMO2021 will be announced. The plan is for IMO2022 in Norway to go ahead as expected.

In these uncertain times, IMO must be flexible. Like everyone else, we wonder about the `new normal’, but whatever it is, IMO will flourish. Stay safe everyone!

Geoff Smith
President of the IMO Board

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This portal gives Olympians the opportunity to stay in touch with other Olympians and to share some of your stories and successes with fellow mathematicians and maths enthusiasts from around the world.

You will be able to contact others who register and post biographical information, stories, maths problems and other information to share with others in the IMO family. » Register

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IMO 2014 Exam Room
 

Our Vision

It is the aim of the IMO to bring young people together from all over the world to enjoy the challenges of mathematics in a spirit of friendly competition. This provides a stimulus for Mathematics in each of the participating countries as young people strive for selection. Whist clearly it is a competitive event, for most participants, it is the people that they meet and the shared joy of discovery that is what they regard as most worthwhile. It is common that lifelong friendships are forged at IMO events.

Terance Tao - Breakthrough Prize
 

News Feed

  • Virtual IMO2020 in St. Petersburg

    IMO has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. When it became clear that a normal IMO2020 in St Petersburg in July would be impossible, the event was postponed until September in the hope that the pandemic would recede. Unfortunately this did not happen, and eventually it became clear that a normal IMO2020 would be impossible. … Read More

  • IMO2019 – United Kingdom

    The Diamond Jubilee IMO2019 was held in Bath in the United Kingdom. There were teams from 112 countries, and the teams from China and USA tied for first place. Unusual features were that Guides were recruited internationally, there were a record low number of speeches at ceremonies, and the closing party involved a Ferris wheel … Read More

 

History

Mathematics competitions began as inter-school competitions in the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the 19th century. The modern era of mathematics competitions began in 1959 when the first International Mathematical Olympiad was held in Romania among 7 Soviet Bloc countries. Each country was allowed to send up to 8 contestants and there were 6 questions, with various scores per question, adding to a total of 40 marks. All of the early competitions were relatively small and the first country from outside Eastern Europe to enter was Mongolia, in 1964. Finland sent a team in 1965 and gradually the competition expanded to include a number of other European teams, reaching 13 teams in 1967. The first team from the Americas to compete was Cuba, which joined in 1971. Vietnam entered a team in 1974, becoming the first country from South-East Asia. In 1975, the US joined the competition with Algeria becoming the first African contestant in 1977, by which time the competition was taking place in 21 countries.

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