The U of I team, coached by Professors **A.J.
Hildebrand**, **Jeremy Rouse**, and **Sujith Vijay,** placed
30th among the more than five hundred colleges and universities
fielding a Putnam team.
In the individual contest,
the top local scorers were **Justin
Kopinsky**, who earned 32 out of
120 points and placed 279th overall, **Richard Moy** (30 points,
335th), **E. Sakulbuth** (24 points, 435th), and **Meng Guo**
and **Michael Nasti** (20 points, 619th).

Also of local interest is the performance of **Alex Zhai**, a former student
of University High School, who is now at Harvard University. Alex had won
the 2008 U of I Undergraduate Math Contest in dominating fashion as a high
school student. Participating in his first Putnam, Alex was one of the
three highest scorers from Harvard, placed in the top sixteen overall, and
earned a $1,000 prize for this performance.

The Putnam contest, which has been called by Time Magazine the "World's Toughest Math Test", consists of 12 challenging problems, to be solved over 6 hours. Each problem is graded on a 0-10 point scale, for a maximal total score of 120 points. An indication of the difficulty of the contest is the fact that a score of 73 out of 120 points was enough to place in the top 1 percent of all participants; 30 points was enough to place in the top 10 percent; and 10 points (corresponding to a single problem correctly solved) guaranteed a place among the top third of all participants.