a Mathcamp class


The Mathcamp schedule is so packed that it may seem daunting at first. However, it is important to remember that none of the classes are mandatory. We assume that you are at Mathcamp because you want to do math, but exactly how much time you spend in class is up to you. In fact, we discourage students from going to too many classes. Some of your most important learning experiences will take place outside of class: thinking about what you've learned, doing homework, talking to the visiting lecturers, solving problems with friends, or working on your independent project.

Our goal is to put an enormous amount of fascinating mathematics within your reach, so that you can do as much as you want, in the way that is most enjoyable and productive for you.

Spotlight on a Class: Combinatorial Game Theory

We have three berry baskets: one with four strawberries, one with three blueberries, and one with two blackberries. We take turns eating them. In your turn, you may eat as many berries as you want, as long as they are all in the same basket. Then it is my turn. The player who eats the last berry wins. Will you beat me? What if we start with different amounts of berries?

In Combinatorial Game Theory, we analyze games of no chance (no drawing cards, no throwing dice). Or goal is a strategy that allows us to win from any position. Come to this class to learn the main techniques to analyze games, and to discover why Nim (the berry game above) is the model that we can use to solve a very large family of them.

Take a look at the lecture notes [PDF] and handout [PDF] from Alfonso's Combinatorial Game Theory class.

Examples of Mathcamp Classes

To get an idea of what classes at Mathcamp are like, check out the course offerings from last year's Mathcamp. (Even more examples from earlier years are available here.)

Last summer's classes:

  • 2018 Week 1: Schedule [PDF] and class descriptions [PDF].
  • 2018 Week 2: Schedule [PDF] and class descriptions [PDF].
  • 2018 Week 3: Schedule [PDF] and class descriptions [PDF].
  • 2018 Week 4: Schedule [PDF] and class descriptions [PDF].
  • 2018 Week 5: Class proposals [PDF], and the final schedule [PDF].

Details about the Mathcamp Schedule

First, you'll notice that week 5 has class "proposals": that's because the week 5 schedule is determined by a camp-wide vote! These are the classes that campers didn't want to leave without.

You'll also notice, in reading one of the (complicated) schedules, there are usually at least 4 classes (often more!) offered at any time, so you can choose the ones that interest you most. (Read the detailed weekly class descriptions to find out more about each course.) Each class has a "chili rating" to indicate its difficulty and pace: from "one-chili" (accessible to everyone) to "four-chili" (very advanced). The "one-chili" classes aren't any less interesting than the "four-chili" classes -- they just move at a more relaxed pace and assume less mathematical experience. (We like to say that in a "one-chili" class, every student has the right to follow what's going on all the time; in a "four-chili" class, the strongest students have the right to be challenged at all times.) You can choose the level you are most comfortable with or experiment by taking classes on many different levels; your academic advisor will help you choose courses that best match your background and interests.