Public Release:  Symposium highlights industrial-strength math

University of Minnesota

DENVER (Feb. 17, 2003)--The numerous uses of numbers in a variety of industrial settings will be examined at "Math Inside! An Industrial View," a symposium from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. MST (10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. EST) Monday, Feb. 17, during the American Association for the Advancement of Science's annual meeting in the Colorado Convention Center, Denver. The symposium was organized by Fadil Santosa, a professor in the University of Minnesota's Institute for Mathematics and Its Applications, and Brenda Dietrich, head of the mathematical science department, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center.

"Mathematics and mathematicians play important roles in product development and decision-making in industry, even though only a small percentage of mathematics Ph.D.'s work in industry," said Santosa. The symposium will give attendees a taste of what sorts of problems lead companies to hire mathematicians.

Santosa, an expert in photonics, works on simulation and design of optical devices. He will open the session with an introduction to the industrial programs at the Institute for Mathematics and Its Applications. A list of other speakers and their topics follows.

  • Brenda Dietrich, IBM: "Mathematics At Work in IBM." She will discuss trends and oppportunities for the use of mathematics in manufacturing and services, as well as identify research challenges of interest to mathematicians. Dietrich specializes in combinatorial mathematics, which deals with such problems as how to determine winning bids for combinations of goods.

  • Tom Grandine, Boeing: "Applications of Mathematics in Aerospace Engineering and Manufacturing." He will describe the geometric design of a scramjet engine inlet, whose purpose is to provide a source of compressed air to the engine itself. The shape of the inlet must be carefully constructed to simultaneously compress and slow air on its way to the engine to ensure optimum engine operation.

  • Jonathan Jacobs, consultant: "Mathematics in the Energy Industry." With fluctuating energy supplies and the desire to obtain energy at a fair price, mathematicians are needed to build bidding mechanisms for energy purchasers.

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    Fadil Santosa, University of Minnesota, symposium organizer, 612-626-0528

    Deane Morrison, University News Service, 612-624-2346; Feb. 12-16: 303-295-1234

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