Location: The 2011 workshop was held at North Carolina State University. We were able to offer, to both students and problem presenters, the support of an experienced group of faculty and staff.
Objective was to expose graduate students in mathematics, engineering, and statistics to challenging and exciting real-world problems arising in industrial and government laboratory research. Students got experience in the team approach to problem solving.
Setup: The students were divided into six-member teams to collaborate on industrial projects presented by experienced scientists and engineers.
The corresponding problems were not the kind of academic exercises often considered in classrooms. The challenges they raised typically required fresh new insight for both formulation and solution. During the workshop, each group was mentored by both the problem presenter and a faculty adviser.
- Lea Jenkins (Clemson University) and Christopher Kees (US Army Research and Development Center): Convective Flow in Porous Media.
- Agustin Calatroni (Rho, Inc.) and Herman Mitchell (Rho, Inc.): The Inner-City Asthma Air Pollution Study.
- Jordan Massad (Sandia National Laboratories) and Ralph Smith (N.C. State University): Robust Optimal Design of Heliostat Arrays for Concentrating Solar Power Plants.
- Cammey Cole Manning (Meredith College) and John Peach (MIT Lincoln Laboratory): Robot Scientists.
- Laura Potter (Syngenta Biotechnology) and H.T. Banks (N.C. State University): Experimental design and inverse problems in plant biological modeling.
- Jared Bogacki (BB&T) and Jeff Scroggs (N.C. State University): Credit Risk Quantification.
Benefits to students
Do you think your class work reflects how you will be using mathematics and statistics on the job? Sometimes the biggest challenge is figuring out what the real problem is. Students learn how to do this, and also how to get a usable result on a tight deadline. By providing a unique experience of how mathematics and statistics are applied outside Academia, the workshop has helped many students in deciding what kind of career they aspire to. In some cases, this help has been in the form of direct hiring by the participating companies. By broadening the horizon beyond what is usually presented in graduate education, students interested in academic careers also find a renewed sense of excitement about their field. Additionally, students gain experience working together toward producing an oral presentation and written report of their results (see related publications) which occasionally has led to later journal publications.
Benefits to companies
Often the teams come up with useful solutions to a company’s problem.
Some companies also take advantage of the recruitment opportunity provided through direct contact with some of the most talented graduate students in the mathematical sciences. Moreover, several projects initially presented at the workshop have resulted in long term collaboration between applied mathematicians (students and faculty) and the companies involved. Many companies, large and small, have shown continued interest and enthusiasm about the Workshop.
Cost: Local and travel expenses are covered.
Inquiries: Dr. Ilse Ipsen, Program Organizer