SPARC 2017 1st Round Application
This application is to help us figure out if you're a good fit for SPARC. At SPARC, we prioritize admitting students with a high level of technical competency in a quantitative discipline, but we also consider a breadth of other competencies and interests, as broadening the horizons of our students is one of the aims of the program. This year SPARC will be held in the Bay Area around August 5 - 17 (the exact location and dates will be finalized soon).

This application is due by March 8 (we have given a 1 week extension from the previous date).

We might contact you for an interview to learn more later in our review process. In any case you'll receive a final decision by May 1.

Full Name *
Your answer
Email Address (this is how we will contact you later in the process) *
Your answer
Phone Number *
Your answer
Current School and Graduation Year: *
Your answer
Age on August 5, 2017: *
Your answer
Awards and Accomplishments
List up to 5 awards, accomplishments, or projects you are proud of. For each item, feel free to include details about the awards, links, or a sentence about anything particularly important to you.
Your answer
Free Response Section Guidelines
You will now have 3 free response questions. On each one, we are looking for an ability to think critically, honestly, specifically, and comprehensively. For each of these, we want to see you try to clearly explain your thinking processes, actively explore the problem, and honestly understand the limits of your thinking. We’re NOT interested in what big words you use, how confident you seem, or your ability to write college essays.

In each section you'll get 2-3 choices. You only have to do ONE from each section.

You may provide a URL to an external document (which satisfies the length limits), but if you do please make sure that we will be able to view it. In any case, you may want to compose your replies separately so that you can save them while they are in progress.

Only Free Response 3 is necessary for returners (those who have come to SPARC as a student before).

FREE RESPONSE 1(optional for returners)
Answer one of the following two questions, in any number of words.
Minting coins
There are N people in a city, whose total wealth is $M. A valid allocation of wealth assigns each of them a non-negative integer number of dollars. The city would like to mint as few coins as possible, such that any allocation of wealth can be implemented by some distribution of coins. What should they do? How much do you think it is possible to improve your solution?
Your answer
Trapped in a Casino
You are stuck in a casino where the only game you can play is to bet any positive integral amount X of dollars (no more than what you currently have, so you are stuck if you have zero dollars) on an unfair coin where you win X dollars with (a fixed) probability p and lose X dollars with probability (1-p), and p < ½. You can bet a different amount each time you play the game. You have 200 dollars and need 500 dollars to leave. You want to maximize the probability of being able to leave. How do you optimally play this game and why?
Your answer
FREE RESPONSE 2 (optional for returners)
Respond to one of the following two prompts, in at most 500 words.
Magic Wand
If you could wave a magic wand and cause all currently alive humans to become immune to aging and disease (so they would live healthily forever by default given enough nutrients), would you? Why or why not? What kinds of things would need to be true for you to decide otherwise?
Your answer
Digging a Hole
Suppose that the US government has decided to spend 1 trillion US dollars between 2017 and 2027 with the goal of digging a deep hole such that we can put a human artifact as close to the center of the earth as possible and then be able to retrieve it. How deep do you think they could get?
Your answer
Respond to one of the following three prompts, in at most 500 words.
Describe one of your principles. What is the basis for this principle? How do the implications of this principle carry through in your decisions? Where might other people differ from your views?
Your answer
Meaningful Thing
What is something that you've worked towards recently? The something should not necessarily be impressive to us, but rather meaningful to you. Why is this important to you? In what ways did you mature from the experience? Where in the process could you have taken alternative approaches, and what could have resulted from these decisions?
Your answer
Your Own Question
If you have an interesting idea or topic that does not fit as a response to the 2 prompts above, you may create your own prompt and respond to it.
Your answer
Thanks for applying!
We will contact you for further steps in this application. You will know your status by May 1. Have fun in the meantime!
(OPTIONAL) Anything else?
Let us know anything else you think may be interesting to us (such as how you heard about SPARC).
Your answer
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