While still in middle school, Govind ’25 founded IMTC, a math competition for any students under the age of 18, simply because sharing problem sets with a small group of friends seemed like “a fun experiment.” In the two years since, the competition has grown to more than 200 “math-loving students around the world” and boasts sponsors like 1Password, Wolfram, and Taskade.
An FYI on IMTC: it originally stood for “International Math Team Competition,” but the COVID-19 pandemic curtailed the “team” part. The organization evolved beyond the name but kept the snappy acronym. (“It can mean whatever you want it to mean,” Govind says with a grin.)
Keep reading to get to know this first-year student from Sharon, Massachusetts, and how he helps "push the limits of aspiring mathematicians."
Getting to Know You
What is bringing you joy right now?
I enjoy playing chess online.
What is your favorite book (or a book you’ve enjoyed recently)?
I recently enjoyed reading Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir.
What do you think is the most intriguing paradox?
I heard about the coastline paradox a few months ago. It is about how a complex shape like a coastline does not have a well-defined perimeter due to its fractal-like nature.
What are your favorite comfort foods?
What was/is your favorite class (at Commonwealth or elsewhere)?
This year, I’m enjoying Calculus 1 Advanced, computer science (CS1), and biology a lot!
Pen or pencil?
Life as a Commonwealth Student (and Beyond)
Tell us more about IMTC: What led you to establish the math competition, and what has the response been?
Two years ago, I originally thought it would be interesting to distribute a set of math problems to my friends as a fun experiment. I wrote about fifteen problems similar to MathCounts [another math contest for middle school students] in about a week over summer break. Seeing a positive overall response, I was encouraged to try again on a larger scale. I worked with two other students, one from California and one from Ohio, who I met through an online math forum. That year, we tried advertising to a larger audience and it worked: sixty people participated. Six months later, we held another competition, and we received about 150 submissions. Just a few months ago, we held yet another competition, and this time, we were up to about 200.
It’s been amazing to see the competition grow through the few years that it’s existed, and I hope to see it bloom through future competitions. We’re proud that this competition is completely free of charge, enabling anyone interested in math to give it a shot.
What does running IMTC entail?
General responsibilities for our team include writing interesting math problems and typesetting them, reviewing these problems with other students, requesting and receiving sponsorships from various companies, advertising the competition to math-loving students around the world, and maintaining our website, imtcontest.org.
How do you spend your free time beyond IMTC?
I like playing music on my violin, and have been playing Indian classical violin for seven years now. I also enjoy working on both the mechanical and programming aspects of my robotics team. Chess is another pursuit that I enjoy, along with watching action or suspense movies and TV shows.
What does your typical weekday look like?
I wake up at 6:00 a.m. and take a train to school at about 7:00 or 7:30 a.m. I get back home at about 4:30 p.m. if I don’t have sports, 6:30 p.m. if I do. Depending on the day, I spend the next few hours working on homework and extracurriculars, eat dinner, and usually go to sleep between 10:00 and 10:30 p.m.
What was your first impression of Commonwealth and how has it mapped to your experience?
During my first interaction with the Commonwealth community, I found it to be very welcoming. I anticipated that I would be comfortable inside this space, but I was surprised at how quickly I made friends, even though we had never seen each other before.
What’s your advice for prospective students considering Commonwealth?
Choosing a school is about matching your interests with the strengths of the school. Fortunately, Commonwealth has a strong academic and arts curriculum, with a variety of sports options to choose from.
How has your Commonwealth experience colored the way you look at the world? How do you plan for your future?
Commonwealth has exposed me to many new perspectives. Before Commonwealth, for example, I just didn’t think I was a “humanities person,” but I’ve found I also enjoy English, French, and history because of how Commonwealth teachers make the classes accessible and engaging. I’m undecided as to where I would like to go in the future.