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The objective of the workshop is to expose graduate students in mathematics, engineering, and statistics to challenging and exciting real-world problems arising in industrial and government laboratory research. The students also learn about the team approach to problem solving.
The format: The students are divided into six-member teams to collaborate on industrial projects presented by experienced scientists and engineers. The corresponding problems are not the kind of academic exercises often considered in classrooms. The challenges they raise typically require fresh new insight for both formulation and solution. During the workshop, each group is mentored by both the problem presenter and a faculty adviser.
The benefits for the students are multiple and go far beyond a short familiarization with the specific projects under study themselves. 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 lead to later journal publications.
The benefits for the companies present several aspects. Direct benefits include in many cases the resolution (partial or complete) of problems of interest to them. Some companies also take advantage of the recruitment opportunity provided through direct contact with a pool of talented graduate students. More indirectly, 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, see history.
What we offer: Local and travel expenses are covered. The 2006 workshop will be the 12th one to be held at North Carolina State University. We can therefore offer to both students and problem presenters, the support of an experienced group of faculty and staff. Many opportunities to socialize among students, problem presenters, faculty and staff complete the workshop.
What we expect: No previous experience on any specific project is necessary. The selected students should, however, be strongly committed to work on the project they will be assigned.