Google donates 1 million euros to mathematics championship organization

Google is making a €1 million gift to the International Mathematical Olympiad organization, which has been organizing the annual World Championship Mathematics Competition for High School Students.

The first IMO championship was held back in 1959, in Romania, with 7 countries participating. It has gradually expanded to over 100 countries from 5 continents.

The donation will help the organization cover the costs of the next five global events (2011-2015), Google Director of Public Policy Simon Hampton writes in a company blog post.

From said blog post:

Maths is very important to Google. It’s the basis of everything we do: from the algorithms that deliver answers to your search queries, to the way in which your Gmails are grouped in conversations, to the technology advances which are enabling us to develop driverless cars. It’s so important to us, that our founders named the company after a very large number – a Googol.

Maths is given a lot of importance by policy makers too – its contribution to creativity and innovation was celebrated in some of the events organised by the European Union back in 2009. And in December last year, the latest OECD PISA report and league tables highlighted how well (or not) Europe’s various national education systems are performing in the core educational fields of reading, mathematics and science.

Over the last few months, our attention’s been drawn to another mathematical league table – the one that tracks the winners of the International Mathematical Olympiad, first held in Romania in 1959. The IMO is the world championship of secondary school mathematics, designed to test ingenuity and insight and tax the sharpest minds in the world.

Google says it will be watching out for the results for this year’s championship (to be held in Amsterstam, The Netherlands, in July 2011) with ‘particular interest’.