Release Date: June 17, 2008
Media Contact: Stephen King, External Relations
Phone: 306-585-5439
Mobile: 306-536-4312
Fax: 306-585-4997
International group of students to solve problems for industry through math workshop at U of R

Over the next few days, more than 60 students from North America and beyond will be at the U of R to participate in a mathematics workshop designed to provide tangible benefits beyond the University itself. The 12th annual Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (PIMS) Industrial Problem Solving Workshop, which takes place from June 16-20, will allow these students to work together with academics and industry representatives to solve real-life mathematical problems currently being faced by different companies.

"The U of R is pleased to be hosting this year's PIMS Industrial Problem Solving Workshop," said Shaun Fallat, associate professor of mathematics and statistics at the U of R and chair of the workshop. "The workshop provides an excellent opportunity for our students to work with like-minded counterparts from other universities in North America, and as far away as Greece and Australia. At the same time, it allows them to gain practical experience by working on a wide variety of challenging mathematical problems that are of great interest to industry."

In a process that was aided by the U of R's University-Industry Liaison Office and Springboard West Innovations, five companies submitted mathematical problems for the students to solve at this year's workshop: Evraz (formerly IPSCO); Accutrek; Mosaic; the Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation; and Edmonton's Cross Cancer Institute. The problems include such challenges as optimizing the purchase of scrap metals, determining if the operation of a casino game needs to be changed, and finding ways to optimize the treatment of cancer by using combinations of known compounds.

The five companies presented their problems to the students, who will now spend the next three days in working groups with faculty members to discuss the problems and conduct detailed modeling, analysis and computation. The groups will then present their findings on Friday, June 20, potentially providing solutions that will allow the companies to improve their practices.

PIMS, the organization that holds the Industrial Problem Solving Workshop, is a collaboration between seven universities, including the University of Regina. PIMS works to enhance education and training by strengthening ties between mathematical in the academic community, in the industrial and business sector, and in government. Other sponsors of the workshop include the Government of Saskatchewan, the University of Regina's Faculty of Science and Department of Mathematics and Statistics, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems (MITACS).

For further information about the PIMS Industrial Problem Solving Workshop, please contact Shaun Fallat at 585-4107.