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The Integration Bee is an annual integral calculus competition pioneered in 1981 by Andy Bernoff, an applied mathematics student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Similar contests are administered each year in many universities and colleges across the United States and in a number of other countries.
Prospective participants may first need to take a qualifying exam. The contest is then arranged in a manner similar to a sports tournament; those who incorrectly evaluate integrals after a certain number of trials get eliminated. Constants of integration may be ignored, but the final answer must be in reduced form and in terms of the original variable. At some institutions, such as MIT, contestants will evaluate assigned integrals on a chalkboard in front of the audience, but in some others, such as the University of Connecticut, they may do so in their seats on a piece of paper. Contestants may be all students from the hosting institution (such as MIT or the University of California, Berkeley), undergraduates only (University of Connecticut), or undergraduates and high-school students (University of North Texas).
Participants are expected to be familiar with the standard methods of integration.
Integration Bee contests continue to be held at MIT, with the champion being awarded with a hat carrying the title, "Grand Integrator." Contestant evaluate a variety of challenging integrals on the chalk board in front of their peers, many of whom either cheer in support in a manner similar to an athletic event or work out the problems on their own. It is all about speed and correctness.
Integration Bee contests are now regularly conducted in major American universities, including the University of Florida, the Florida Polytechnic University, the University of Scranton (Pennsylvania), Connecticut College, the Central Connecticut State University, the State University of New York, the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Prairie State College (Illinois), the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, University of Dayton (Ohio), Louisiana Tech University, the University of North Texas, Brigham Young University and Utah Valley University, Fresno State University, Cosumnes River College, the University of California, Berkeley, various other institutions in California, and the Oregon State University.
The Louisiana/Mississippi chapter of the Mathematical Association of America is responsible for holding the Integration Bee in these two states and the American Mathematical Society the University of Connecticut.
A Philippines integration competition (often shortened as Integ Bee) was originally held four times at the University of the Philippines Diliman, located in Quezon City, Philippines, and sponsored by UP Physics Association (UPPA). Subsequently, the competition was scaled up to allow undergraduates of other Philippines universities to participate. One typical event in 2014 at the Philippines National Institute of Physics, allowed contestants to test their accuracy and speed, capability in mental solving, and mastery in evaluating integrals. The winner received a cash prize of 5,000 Philippine pesos (about €100 or US$113), whilst two runners-up received 1,000 pesos (about €20 or US$22).
The Integration Bee is also held at the University of New South Wales, Australia, and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune.
Champions of the Integration Bee are awarded with held in high honor and while they are not contributing anything original in the contests as integral calculus is no longer an active research topic, success in the Integration Bee is linked to success in some areas of mathematics.