Public Lecture: Math, Olympiads, and Creativity

March 25, 2017 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Urban Life Building 220
140 Decatur St SE
Atlanta, GA 30303
Yi Zhao

Math, Olympiads, and Creativity

What is the value of learning Math? What is the value of math competitions? In this talk, Po-Shen Loh, national coach of the USA International Math Olympiad team, will share his philosophy on the “why” of Math and Olympiads, which centers around the development of creativity. He will discuss practical ways to build these skills, and share his own experience transitioning from high-school Olympiads, to academia, and to guide entrepreneurship for transforming the education landscape.

General. A wide variety of age ranges may find the content interesting, from middle-school students considering math competitions, to parents, to educators and entrepreneurs.

Po-Shen Loh is a math enthusiast and math evangelist. He is the national coach of the USA International Mathematical Olympiad team, a math professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and the founder of, an education technology startup providing a free artificial-intelligence math tutor on every smartphone.

As an academic, Po-Shen has numerous distinctions, from an International Mathematical Olympiad silver medal to the National Science Foundation’s CAREER award. His research considers a variety of questions that lie at the intersection of combinatorics (the study of networks), probability theory, and computer science. As an educator, he led Carnegie Mellon University’s Putnam team to multiple 2nd-place finishes among all North American universities. His approach to coaching the national Math Olympiad team received significant press coverage after the USA’s historic victories in
2015 and 2016. Through Expii, Po-Shen extends his activity to the global mainstream, combining algorithms and crowdsourcing to deliver a free personalized learning system to all. He has been covered by media outlets spanning The Atlantic, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and China Newsweek.

Po-Shen received his undergraduate degree in mathematics from Caltech in 2004, graduating first in his class. He received a master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Cambridge in 2005, where he was supported by a Winston Churchill Foundation Scholarship. He continued his studies at Princeton, where he completed his Ph.D. in mathematics at the end of 2009, and has been on the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University ever since.