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Can you answer the Millennium Hedge Fund Olympiad-inspired puzzle?

Knowing some tricky math puzzles is essential when applying for jobs at hedge funds. Hedge fund Millennium has released its own puzzle via social media, and seasoned mathematicians in the industry seem to think the answer should be common knowledge.

The question can be read below:

A Goldman Sachs analyst described this as a “classic Math Olympiad” question. Chen Zou, a Credit Suisse alumna and Morningstar DBRS executive, solved the puzzle during her “leisure time,” saying, “my daughter in middle school can understand my solution.”

Do you think you know? Tell us your answer in the comments. (Don’t look at the solution below 😡)

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The answer, revealed by Millennium, was 3^2025. Respondents were able to achieve this in several ways.

One of the briefest answers comes from Jabir Haque, an engineering apprentice at Goldman Sachs. He said that if T(n) is equal to 3n digits, then the greatest power of three that divides it is 3^(n+1). So with 2024 digits, the answer is 3^2025.

Physicist Dr. Aneesh Sivasankaran took a slightly different approach. He would divide by three, then “simply combine three of the results to divide by three again.” He discovered that 3^(answer-1) was equal to the number of digits.

If math isn’t your strong suit (like me), don’t expect AI chatbots to help you too much with questions like these. Bard gave an answer of 2024 (which a minority of respondents also gave), while ChatGPT said the answer was 27. 😬

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