War Stories from Applied Math: Undergraduate Consultancy Projects

2007 | 147 Pages | ISBN: 0883851814 | PDF | 13 MB


All mathematicians know that math can be used for a great many things. Educators, who have to wear a generalist’s hat most of the time, rarely get the opportunity to demonstrate that fact. As a group, they are largely overworked, forced to deal with their classes, mountains of paperwork and yet somehow find time to keep up in their field. With all of this happening, it is hard to find opportunities for students to engage with industry and be involved in solving some of their problems. However, despite all of these obstacles, some teachers have been able to develop such collaborations, and this book is a collection of reports on their success.I was very impressed by what the people were able to do in these projects. The most interesting ones were projects where the industrial partner reaped substantial monetary benefits. I was amazed to read that in one project the work of one student saved the sponsoring company $17,000,000 (this is NOT a typo). As I read through this book, I began getting ideas for developing relationships between my school and local businesses. We currently have some relationships in the area of computing but nothing in the area of mathematics.These papers describe true success stories in the area of applied mathematics and that success is multi-faceted. Of course, the companies gain financial advantage, I often wondered if they had the decency to at least contribute money back to the school of origin. The students and school gain valuable experience and bragging rights in the mathematical world that is substantial albeit immeasurable. This is certainly one of the most interesting math books that I have read recently.

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