Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program
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The Mathematical Olympiad Program (also called the MOP) is an intensive summer program held at Carnegie Mellon University. The main purpose of MOP, held since 1974, is to select and train the six members of the U.S. team for the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO). Students qualify for the program by taking the United States of America Mathematical Olympiad (USAMO). The top twelve American scorers from all grades form the "black" group. The approximately eighteen next highest American scorers among students from 11th grade and under form the "blue" group. In 2004, the program was expanded to include approximately thirty of the highest-scoring American freshmen and sophomores each year, the "red" group; this was later split into two, forming the "green" group, which consists of approximately fifteen of the highest-scoring freshmen and sophomores who have qualified through the USAMO, and the "red" group, which consists of those who have qualified through the USAJMO. The colorful designations of these groups were adapted from Karate. In 2013, the red and green groups were unified. Also, with the new system the Black Group includes more or less only the IMO team, which is not necessarily all USAMO winners.
Until 2011, only Black MOPpers were eligible for the selection to the USA IMO team, determined by combining USAMO results with results of a similar exam called the Team Selection Test (TST). From 2011, a new test called the Team Selection Test Selection Test (TSTST) was established; this test is open for any of the participants of MOP, and along with results from the USAMO, determines the students who take the TSTs. This ultimately, along with the USAMO and MOP tests, determines the IMO team.
Canadians are allowed to write the USAMO but not to participate in MOP unless they are US residents. Occasionally, when Canadians are amongst the USAMO winners, top scoring honorable mentions are added to the black group. These additional students are also eligible for the IMO team. In 2005, such a student did qualify for the team and went on to win a gold medal at the IMO. Under the TSTST system, effective 2011, honorable mentions can qualify for the IMO team and will be placed in the black group if they do so.
Note that Red cutoffs 2010 onward refer to USAJMO while 2009 before refer to USAMO.
However, it should be noted that the cutoff scores for groups are not entirely rigid; some students are moved between groups at the beginning of the program. However, they do dictate who is invited to the program.
The first few MOPs were held at Rutgers University. After that, and until 1995, the program was alternately hosted by the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland in even-numbered years and by the United States Military Academy at West Point in odd-numbered years. The 1995 MOP was held at IMSA in Aurora, Illinois, where then-MOP director Titu Andreescu was a member of the math faculty. Most of the MOPs from 1996 on forward have been held in Lincoln, Nebraska where the AMC headquarters is located. An exception was made in the summer of 2001, as the United States would be hosting the IMO that year in Washington, D.C., and nearby Georgetown was selected as the location for MOP. Starting in 2015, MOP was held at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
For years, the idea of extending the training program for the U.S. IMO team was discussed. During the 2004-2005 school year, U.S. IMO team coach Zuming Feng directed the Winter Olympiad Training Program, utilizing the Art of Problem Solving (AoPS) site for discussion purposes. The program was short-lived, lasting only that year. MOP participants are now able to participate for free in Art of Problem Solving's WOOT program for year-round olympiad training.