Teenager shocks China by beating AI in math competition

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HONG KONG — A teenager in China excelled in a math competition, beating AI — as well as students from prestigious universities including MIT, Stanford, and Princeton.

The outpouring of support and shock for the 17-year-old fashion design student came from her modest educational background. Vocational schools in China are not known for academic rigor, and Jiangping was the only one of the thousands of participants who came from a vocational school, state media reported.

Jiang finished 12th in the latest qualifying round of the Alibaba Global Math Competition, a well-known, highly competitive math competition, and earned her place among 801 global finalists for the eight-hour final test on Saturday.

The qualifying round ended last week. Lasted 48 hours and was done online with multiple choice and essay length questions.

No AI team qualified for the finals, organizers said in a post on Chinese social media platform Vixen.

Jiang's underdog win has sparked enthusiastic supporters. A hashtag about it had garnered 17 million views as of Saturday. “In a life unappreciated by others, anyone can be a dark horse,” read the hashtag in Chinese.

The competition includes questions on applied mathematics, probability and algebra.

Jiang, a fashion design student from eastern China's Jiangsu Province, and her performance impressed several Chinese universities who took to social media to congratulate her.

Tribute to Jiang Ping! Anyone who dreams is amazing! Zhejiang University, a prestigious school in eastern China, wrote in a post on Weibo.

Final results will be announced in August and winners will be awarded up to $30,000 in prize money.

Working on advanced math He said in an interview published by the organizers that has garnered more than 4 million views, with most viewers expressing their surprise at the results and questioning whether it was real.

“People who can understand beauty in math and physics are usually at the next level,” one user wrote. “We must protect and nurture them.”

As a sign of Jiang's rising star, fans have traveled as far as his parents' home in a village in Jiangsu province along China's east coast, pouring wine and money to show their support. They have brought gifts. Shopping malls in the hometown had his pictures hanging on their walls.

Jiang also defeated his own teacher, Wang Ronqiu, ranked 125th in the competition.

State media People's Daily reported that Wang had encouraged her to enter the pageant and was quoted as saying, “I want to help young people as much as possible, and tell them that their futures can be different. can.”

Jiang said in an interview with organizers that math was her “exercise”. And said she doesn't think she even deserves to be in the competition. She said that now she plans to study in a good university.

“If studying fashion design is my plan A, then exploring the world of mathematics is my plan B,” she said. “I hope my plan B can be seen.”

Although he scored higher. A high school entrance exam score, the Communist Party secretary told state media of her current vocational school that she went there because her older sister and best friend were also students at the school.

The competition started in 2018 and is open to all math enthusiasts, regardless of their background, and this year for the first time AI teams were allowed to participate.

“No matter what the future holds, this interest will remain,” Jiang said.

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