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Problem of the Week


The Problem of the Week (POTW) is an activity of the United States Military Academy's Math Forum. Once each week's problem is closed out, a new problem will be posted and the solution to the previous problem will be posted.  Each week, the previous week's winners will be posted below.  The overall winners will be posted at the end of the academic year. 


AY 2019 Fall Semester Leaders
Cadet Junior Faculty  Senior Faculty/Other
John Bacot Steve Morse John Snyder

The POTW is a program that exists in some form or variation at many of the top colleges and universities across the nation and around the world. Each week, a new ... exciting ... and challenging problem will be posted to this homepage. Interested cadets, faculty, and other individuals both within and outside the USMA community are welcome and encouraged to participate.

Rules of Engagement

The POTW contest will span the entire academic year at West Point.  "Top Guns" (winners) will be identified in four categories at the end of the academic year, and certificates will be awarded for each of the four categories. The categories are:
  1. Top Cadet
  2. Top USMA Junior Faculty Member
  3. Top USMA Senior Faculty Member
  4. Overall Winner (if different from 1, 2, and 3)

All interested parties will have access to the problem at 1200 hours (Noon EST) on Friday of Week "n" and will have until 1600 (4 p.m. EST) on Thursday of Week "n+1" to present their solutions.

Good luck!

Submission of Solutions

Submit to: POTW at ​

How: Email us your solution. Email may take the forms of either: plain text typed into an email message, a word document, Excel document, Mathematica notebook, or scanned Adobe file. Regardless of the submission method, please show your work to the best of your ability. If none of these options works for you, you may drop off a hard copy in TH220.  Please put the time of submission on it with the subject line: POTW

Failure to follow these directions may result in your submission not making into the pile in the correct order!


Each problem will be worth a maximum of 10 points, with correctness, completeness and timeliness factoring into one's score. The first correct solution received will be awarded 10 points, the second will get 9 points, and so on. Answers with no work are not complete solutions. The fifth correct respondent will receive 6 points, and each subsequent solution received before the deadline will receive 5 points, if correct. This permits respondents who are unable to get timely access to the problem for a given week to still remain competitive over the course of the term. No documentation is required if you use your own notes, textbooks, etc.  However, if you search for the solution on the Internet or receive assistance, you should state that in your solution.  Incorrect solutions, regardless of order of submission, will receive a score between 0 and 4 points, based on partial credit of work shown.  Scores will be posted NLT a week after each problem's closeout date. Check out your scores at the POTW Scoreboard.

Current Problem
Problem Date Due
New Problems in January! N/A

Last Week's Solution​

AY2019 Scoreboard

  • You can submit multiple solutions. Only your last submission will be counted. 
Previous Problems of the Week
AY 2018-2019 Problems​
AY 2017-2018 Problems
AY 2016-2017 Problems
AY 2015-2016 Problems
AY 2014-2015 Problems
AY 2013-2014 Problems​

AY 2012-2013 Problems

AY 2011-2012 Problems
AY 2010-2011 Problems