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UL hosts Mathematical Modelling Summer School

UL hosts Mathematical Modelling Summer School
Pictured L-R: Sinead Keane, Vicki McAvinue, Jessica Maguire taking part in the Physics Tricks workshop as part of the Mathematical Modelling Summer School at UL.

UL hosts Mathematical Modelling Summer School

UL hosted the 2010 Mathematical Modelling Summer School from 21st - 25th June. 50 students, ranging from 16 - 18 years of age from around the country took part in the residential Summer School organised by MACSI, the Mathematics Applications Consortium for Science and Industry and funded by Science Foundation Ireland.

Mathematical modelling is the science of developing models of processes of scientific, engineering, economic or industrial interest. These models can then be used to identify the key factors in the process or to suggest ways in which the process can be controlled or improved.

The summer school offers an insight into the world of mathematical modelling and includes site visits to some of MACSI's industrial partners; RUSAL Aughinish, Vistakon and Analog Devices. Another aspect of the course involved students solving practical problems and exploring the uses of maths to solve real industrial problems.

Summer School organiser, Dr Martina O'Sullivan of MACSI said; "Mathematical modelling is key to the development of a smart economy in Ireland. It is hard to think of any technology in which mathematics is not in some way inextricably involved. Weather prediction, climate change, flood prevention, electricity, water supply, sewage treatment, roads, buildings, airline scheduling, supermarket restocking, they all involve mathematics at some fundamental level."

This year's Summer School included seminars on financial modelling and trading complemented with a visit to UL's virtual trading floor. Presentations on problem solving and applications of maths ranging from art to aviation were also an integral part of the course.

Dr. Brendan Thorne, Consultant Energy Engineer, RUSAL Aughinish, explained the importance of mathematics for their industry by saying; "Mathematical analysis is an indispensable element in the effective operation of the process industry.  It is used to predict how equipment will operate from first principles, allowing engineers design new systems or modify existing ones.  It is also used to analyse plant performance and identify the underlying cause of a problem or an opportunity for improvement.  Although sophisticated simulation packages are available to help with this work, it is essential that the user has a good understanding of the mathematical basis if they are to maximise the benefits"

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