Hard Problems: The Road to the World’s Toughest Math Contest

Hard Problems is a feature documentary about the extraordinarily gifted students who represented the United States in 2006 at the world’s toughest math competition—the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO). It is the story of six American high school students who competed with 500 others from 90 countries in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The film shows the dedication and perseverance of these remarkably talented students, the rigorous preparation they undertake, their individuality, and the joy they get out of solving challenging problems. Above all, it captures the spirit of math competitions at the highest level.

Hard Problems takes a close look at exceptional students who make it to the highest levels of high school math, asking teachers, parents, siblings, the students themselves to shed light on what produces mathematical genius and how to nurture it. As we get to know them, the students in Hard Problems shatter many stereotypes and clichés about the mathematically gifted.

Ali Kaya


Ali Kaya

This is Ali. Bespectacled and mustachioed father, math blogger, and soccer player. I also do consult for global math and science startups.

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