Advancing maths at Flinders

professor-jerzy-filar-croppedUnder the slogan “People Count”, a dedicated Mathematical Sciences Laboratory has opened at Flinders University, focusing on advances in both modern applied and pure mathematics.

In what is the most significant development in mathematics at Flinders in the past decade, the laboratory will lead mathematical research and innovation in five key research areas – analysis, biomedical mathematics, continuum modelling and environmental applications, discrete mathematics, optimisation and operations research, and statistics and stochastic modelling.

The research concentrations reflect areas of existing and growing research strengths at the University, including the School of Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics, the School of the Environment, the Faculty of Health Sciences and the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training.

Strategic Professor of Mathematics, Jerzy Filar (pictured), said Flinders’ mathematical scientists would strive to address problems of modern applied mathematics as well as fundamental problems that have long challenged mathematicians, engineers and computer scientists.

“The beauty of mathematics is that is has no use-by-date – the mathematical discoveries of Archimedes, Galileo, Newton and Gauss are just as correct and relevant  today as they were at the time of their discovery,” Professor Filar said.

“New mathematical advances do not destroy or discredit existing results but rather build on these results, providing new insights, capabilities and ultimately, new technologies,” he said.

The laboratory, which officially launched on June 1, is supported by an advisory group of leading mathematical scientists from interstate and overseas who will provide expert advice on the five research programs.

The group consists of Professors Joe Gani from the Australian National University, Tony Guttmann from the University of Melbourne, Nalini Joshi from the University of Sydney, Terence Tao from the University of California Los Angeles and  Peter Taylor from the University of Melbourne.

Flinders Strategic Associate Professor of Mathematics, Vladimir Ejov, said the laboratory was particularly delighted to have Professor Tao – a world-famous mathematician and Flinders alumnus who completed his masters degree at age 16 – on the advisory group.

“Research in all five key areas will be discussed by the advisory group and this will ensure our programs are active and up to international standard,” Professor Ejov said.

The launch was also a platform for the release of the Snakes-and-Ladders Heuristic (SLH), a method for solving the famous Hamiltonian Cycle Problem of graph theory and combinatorial optimisation.

Despite being a new algorithm, SLH is already competitive with the world’s best. Researchers are invited to test it.

Visit the Flinders University’s Mathematical Sciences Laboratory website for more information.

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