MEDIA RELEASE — January 13, 2015

Canadian Mathematical Society

January 13, 2015

Top students recognized in Canada’s premier national mathematics competition

2014 Sun Life Financial Canadian Open Mathematics Challenge results released

Sina Abbasi
Gold, Best in Canada Overall
photo provided by Sina Abbasi

OTTAWA — Sina Abbasi (Richmond Hill High School, Richmond Hill, Ont), Jinhao Xu (University Hill Secondary School, Vancouver, B.C.) and Henry Heng Xia (Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School, Vancouver, B.C.) were recognized as the top students in Canada for the 19th annual 2014 Sun Life Financial Canadian Open Mathematics Challenge (COMC).

Abbasi, a grade 12 student, achieved a perfect score of 80/80 and earned gold in the most prestigious category of Best in Canada Overall. Last year, Abbasi made the COMC honour roll for the Best in Central Ontario, Grade 11 and in 2012 he earned silver for the Best in Canada, Grade 10.

“Besides being the qualifier for Olympiads, COMC is a great opportunity to solve interesting problems and challenge yourself,” said Abbasi. “I especially enjoy discussing the solutions with friends and members of the math community. I hope that more students across Canada will get involved in math competitions and experience the unique joy in problem solving.”

The silver and bronze awards were presented to Jinhao Xu from University Hill Secondary School and Heng Heng Xia from Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School, respectively. This was Xu’s first year writing the COMC and Xia’s second year. Both Xu and Xia are grade 11 students from Vancouver, B.C.

“The Sun Life Financial COMC gives students an opportunity to challenge themselves,” said Dr. Robert Woodrow, Chair of the CMS COMC Committee. “We love hearing from students who enjoyed the exam and are excited about improving their scores from last year. That’s what the COMC is all about –participation and further development of mathematics skills.”

Nearly 6,000 enthusiastic math students from Canada and around the world wrote the challenging exam in November. The majority of participants ranged from grade nine to CÉGEP, however the competition was open to junior grades. There were several countries represented including Azerbaijan, China, Hong Kong, Iran, Switzerland, Singapore, Turkey and the United States.

The top Canadian COMC students (69/80 or higher) are invited to the Sun Life Financial Canadian Mathematics Olympiad (CMO) in April. Canadian students with COMC scores between 62 and 68/80 are invited to the Sun Life Financial Qualifying Repêchage (CMOQR) in February.

The COMC is the first in a series of mathematics competitions held by the Canadian Mathematical Society (CMS) that leads to the selection of Math Team Canada –a group of Canada’s top students who participate at the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO). The 56th IMO will be held in Chiang Mai, Thailand, from 4 to 16 July 2015.

About the Sun Life Financial COMC

The Sun Life Financial Canadian Open Mathematics Challenge (COMC) is Canada's premier national mathematics competition open to any student with an interest in mathematics. The COMC is designed to encourage students to explore, discover, and learn about mathematics, and to develop analytical and problem solving skills that will be essential to their future careers. COMC exam problems are based on the mathematics curriculum taught in secondary schools and CÉGEP, with many questions requiring a degree of understanding beyond the curriculum. Registration for COMC 2015 opens in September.

About the Canadian Mathematical Society (CMS)

Founded in 1945, the Canadian Mathematical Society (CMS) promotes the advancement, discovery, learning and application of mathematics. CMS funds and promotes activities including scientific meetings, research publications, education and awards.

For more information, or to arrange an interview with one of the COMC winners, please contact:

Julie Bortolotti
Communications and Special Projects Officer
Canadian Mathematical Society
613-733-2662 ext. 728
or Dr. Robert Woodrow
Chair, CMS COMC Committee
University of Calgary