While recent media reports have detailed declining numbers of students taking mathematics at university level, UOW’s School of Mathematics and Applied Statistics this year has well and truly defied the trend.
The School has attracted 21 honours students which is three times larger than normal intakes.
“Having 21 students outshines even some of the big mathematics departments at metropolitan universities,” according to Dr Mark Nelson, Honours Coordinator, pictured left with 19 of the new honours students. [link to more][March 07]
An artwork commemorating the achievements of the first professor of mathematics at the University of Wollongong, the late Professor Austin Keane, has been installed on the ground floor of Building 15.
The original concept for a sandstone and engraved glass sculpture was produced by a group of creative arts students in 2004, but due to cost contraints the design was simplified and reduced in size. An official "unveiling" of the sculpture is being planned. [Feb 07].
||MISG is currently underway, with about 80 delegates from a number of countries. Professor Robert Mckibbin, Head of Institute of Information and Mathematical Sciences, Massey University, NZ is the invited guest speaker, and will be presenting a special talk on talk on Wednesday 7th Feb entitled:" Industrial mathematics: Endless Conversations". For more details, please check the conference website. [Feb 07]
Professor David Steel has been
successful in obtaining over $900,000 in funding from
the DEST Collaboration &Structural Reform Fund.
The project "Applied Statistics Education and Research
Collaboration" will form a new Centre involving
the statistics hubs at four Australian universities,
Wollongong, Newcastle, New England and Western Sydney
and will involve joint development and delivery of subjects
and courses, and many other joint activities.
David has also been successful
in obtaining a NHMRC Development Grant with a team consisting
of Ms Yasmine Probst, Prof Linda Tapsell, A/Prof Lori
Lockyer, Dr Marijka Batterham and Prof Barry Harper,
for their project " The DietAdvice website a newinnovation
for dietitians in clinical practice". This grant
will provide $138,338 in funding for the one year project.
recently ran an article in its business section,
alerting local companies to the opportunity for
problem solving that the Maths-in-Industry
Study Group provides.
MISG has an annual meeting
where the group tackles real-life problems to
provide industries with innovative solutions,
and in 2007 this meeting will be held in Wollongong.
It is being organised by Tim Marchant and Maureen
Edwards, and as always, a large number of staff
and students from the School will participate.
The problems examined at
the 2006 meeting were:
- Multi-variable relationships in a batch annealing
process [for New Zealand Steel Ltd, Glenbrook]
- Process driven models for spray retention
by plants [for Plant Protection Chemistry NZ,
- Developing a prediction model for agricultural
[for Sustainability Soil Management Group, c/o
Crop and Food Research, Christchurch ]
- Expectation for loss of supply in the New
Zealand power system
[for Transpower, Wellington ]
- Dynamical modelling of a washing machine
[for Fisher & Paykel, Auckland]
- Tree growth and wood formation - application
of anisotropic surface growth [for Ensis Ltd,
- Sustainable water management in the Minerals
Industry [for Centre for Water in the Minerals
Industry / Australian Coal Association Research
Program, Queensland ]
A list of past problems solved
by MISG can be found from the website at http://misg2006.massey.ac.nz/problems.html
to the Mercury article] Nov 2006
There was no chance that Elahe
Aminifar would sleep in on the day of her presentation
at the international E-Learn conference in Honolulu
recently, as she and everyone else in Hawaii were woken
by a 6.7 magnitude earthquake around 7am. The first
thing Elahe saw when she opened her eyes was the television
shaking, and realizing the danger, she ran out on to
the balcony as fast as she could.
no one was injured, but the conference venue and
other parts of the city were left without power
so some delegates decided to withdraw. Not Elahe,
who loaded her Powerpoint presentation onto the
conference laptop and another laptop borrowed from
Dr Gwyn Brickell (from UoW's Faculty of Education).
The audience came forward, with some of them sitting
on the floor in order to see. The title of her talk
was "Online solutions to mathematical problems:
combining video, audio and stills on the Web",
a topic that she has been researching as part of
her PhD studies at the University of Wollongong.
Her talk was well received, and she got some useful
feedback from the audience.
lack of power didn't just affect the conference.
Meals were a problem, with very long queues at
restaurants and shops that were able to serve
customers. Power was finally restored at 10pm
at night, which made everyone cheer.
For Elahe, this was a conference
she will never forget, and she is looking forward
to attending the next E-Learn conference in 2007
Details of E-Learn can be
found at http://www.aace.org/conf/elearn/
Hill and Dr Natalie
Thamwattana have been awarded an ARC Discovery
Grant from 2007-2011 for a research project entitled
'Modelling applications of nanomaterials in biology
This proposal will address fundamental
issues related to nanomaterials and their applications
in biology and medicine. Accurate mathematical models
will be formulated, leading to new practical techniques
in nanobiotechnology, safe and effective methods to
diagnose and cure diseases including cancer via targeted
drug and gene delivery, and detection methods for biological
hazards, such as those arising from biological terrorism.
Clark, Prof Ray
Chambers and Mr P Sutcliffe have been awarded
a three year ARC Linkage grant with ABS for a project
entitled 'Handling Missing Data in Complex Household
This project will substantially improve the cost-efficiency
and reliability of Australian household survey data,
by creating new approaches for handling missing data
that deal with the realities of typical household surveys.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has an extensive
program of household surveys that is a key source of
information on the social and economic conditions of
the population. They provide statistics and data on
a large range of social and economic topics, such as
health, education, the labour force, income and expenditure.
Analysis of household survey data by a variety of organisations
underpins policy development and evaluation and the
expenditure of billions of dollars.
It was recently announced that Prof. David
Steel is part of successful of a national
NHMRC project consortium application (it is one of only
six nationally successful bids). This will see UoW receive
some $183,000 over three years. [Sept 06]
Two Wollongong students were recently
awarded prestigious ABS Cadetships for 2007: Jennifer
Gordon and Ben Ingram. Only five cadetships were offered
nationally, so this is an excellent outcome for UoW.
(The other three cadets came from University of NSW,
ANU and University of Melbourne respectively).
Cadets are paid while they complete
an honours year at university, and are then employed
as Research Officers when they complete their studies.
The cadetship also includes reimbursement of compulsory
university fees, a book allowance and paid leave. [Aug
Sozio, head maths teacher from St Mary's College,
ran a two day program for Year 12 students from
St Marys and Edmund Rice College on campus at
the start of July.
The program was revision
of much of the HSC syllabus in a way that gave
students a taste of University-style lectures
and tutorials. Pam Davy and Murray Elder contributed
sessions on polynomials and binomial theorem respectively.
27 June, the School held a professional development
day which was attended by about 45 enthusiastic
maths high school teachers.
Featured speakers were
Stephen Arnold (from Compass Learning Technologies),
who demonstrated ideas for using graphing calculators
to teach algebra; Michael Evans (ICE-EM) who spoke
about the Australia-wide mathematics program that
is currently being tested; and Ruth Gardner (DET)
who spoke about assessment.
Michael Evans, one of the guest speakers
from the School were Graham Williams (Board of Studies
review of HSC maths); Rod Nillsen (the maths behind
public debate); Ken Russell (use of tree diagrams
to teach probability), Michael McCrae (financial
maths), Anne Porter (research into teaching) and
Greg Doherty. [June 06]
At the 2006 Vice-Chancellor's Awards,
two members of the School were honoured for their contribution
to the University. Ken Russell received the Informatics
Faculty award for excellence in teaching, and Anne Porter
was recognised for 25 years' service, in front of their
families, colleagues and distinguished guests. [June
and Ken Russell receiving their awards from the
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Gerard Sutton
SMAS recently received a Teaching
and Learning grant of $57,000 to pay for an access grid
room at Loftus; we are looking at offering courses at
Loftus without staff having to leave the Wollongong
campus. The staff involved are Annette Worthy, Anne
Porter, Mark Nelson, Peter Nickolas, David Steel, Graham
Williams and Ric Caladine from CEDIR.
An ESDF grant of $8,800 was awarded
to the Summer Time Maths Project which is to produce
a CD on first year maths subjects; the aim will be to
provide tests, knowledge and support to students as
well as advertising for UoW and courses within the School
as well as mathematics and statistics in general. This
will allow students to determine what knowledge is assumed
in the various subjects and, importantly, allow them
to identify and remedy their weaknesses. The staff involved
are Anne Porter, Annette Worthy, Mark Nelson, Graham
Williams and Ric Caladine.
Dr Annette Porter has been awarded
a Teaching and Learning Fellowship to work with CEDIR
on the Faculty wide project of Quality101. This project
focuses on smoothing the transitions between subjects.
and Graham Williams, who were both successful in
obtaining research grants recently.
The Faculty of Informatics Prizegiving
for 2005 was held on 31 May 2006. We would like to congratulate
the following students for their excellent work in 2005:
|Graham Williams presents
the Austin Keane Memorial Prize to Aaron Thornton
||Alysha Langbien won the
RA Fisher Prize
||Michael Espinoza, joint
winner of the WS Gosstt prize, was overseas so Mrs
Espinoza collected the prize on his behalf from
Prof David Griffiths
|David Griffiths congratulates
Tara Kerr, joint winner of the WS Gossett prize
||Lewis Mitchell won the
SA Senior Prize
||Connie Alchin, winner
of the Optiver Prize
Professor Song-Ping Zhu has recently solved a
long-standing problem in financial mathematics;
he has found an exact and explicit solution of
the Black-Scholes equation for American options.
His paper “An Explicit and Exact Solution
of the Value of American Put and its Optimal Exercise
Boundary” will appear in the June issue
of the journal Quantitative Finance.
The exact solution presented
in his paper is written in the form of a Taylor's
series expansion, which contains infinitely many
terms. The optimal exercise boundary, which is
the main difficulty of the problem, is found as
an explicit function of the risk-free interest
rate, the volatility and the time to expiration.
A key feature of his solution procedure, which
is based on the homotopy-analysis method, is the
optimal exercise boundary being temporarily removed
in the solution process of each order, and consequently,
the solution of a linear problem can be analytically
worked out at each order, resulting in a completely
analytical and exact series-expansion solution
for the optimal exercise boundary and the option
price of American put options.
More detail about the background
of this discovery can be found at the University's
news page. [April 06]
Ken Russell has been awarded a prize for Outstanding
Contribution to Teaching and Learning for 2005.
This will be no surprise to his past students
who have always spoken enthusiastically of Ken’s
skill as a lecturer. And as one of his fellow
statisticians said "It must be at least twice
as difficult to teach statistics well as it is
any other subject".
The prize will be presented
at the Vice-Chancellor's awards ceremony to be
held on 23 June 2006. [Apr 06]
|Associate Professor Ken
Russell (supervisor) congratulates Jenn Gordon after
she presented her project results at the CSIRO's
Big Day In for summer scientists
Over the summer vacation six students
were awarded scholarships to allow them to work on research
projects supervised by staff of the School. The aim
was to give undergraduate students an opportunity to
experience research work and perhaps interest them in
continuing to honours or postgraduate study.
One of the six, Jenn Gordon, received a scholarship
funded by the Australian Institute of Mathematical Sciences.
At the end of summer she was invited to CSIRO’s
Big Day In, and for Jenn, this was the highlight.
As part of the Big Day In, scholarship students from
all over Australia presented talks about their research,
and heard CSIRO staff talk about their careers. “I
didn’t think scientists would be so interesting,
but they were” she said.
For more information about ICE-EM’s summer scholarships
and the Big Day In, go to www.ice-em.org.au/students.html#scholarships05