4th – 8th of July at Victoria University, Wellington
The combined power of New Zealand’s best and brightest mathematical scientists was engaged in solving significant business challenges at New Zealand’s second annual Mathematics-in-Industry NZ event, 4th – 8th of July at Victoria University, Wellington.
Successfully implemented in about 20 countries worldwide, these intensive week-long workshops offer a collaborative environment to solve problems arising in industry. Scientists participate from a range of mathematical disciplines such as dynamical systems, statistics, and operational research.
This unconventional model sees companies paying $6000 each up-front for the rare opportunity to have their meatiest challenges tackled by mathematicians from across the country.
New Zealand businesses that participated in 2016, include:
This year a new dimension was been added with representatives from Japan’s Institute of Mathematics in Industry in Kyushu attending MINZ, and NZ mathematicians joining Japan’s Study Group week later in July. This has come about with funding from the NZ Royal Society and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. We also had a challenge from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology entitled
Jamstec – Smoother probabilistic distributions in climate prediction models.
The New Zealand event is championed by Professor Emeritus Graeme Wake of Mathematics-in-Industry New Zealand (MINZ), who co-Directed the workshop with Professor Mark McGuinness from Wellington. Professor Wake has been involved in the concept since his time as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Oxford where it was first launched. Professor Wake is passionate about the impact of applied mathematics noting, “These events are often the launch pad for long term partnerships between mathematicians and businesses, powering up innovation within industry”.
The event was opened by government Minister Hon. Steve Joyce and Pro-VC Science VUW Mike Wilson (seated above, with co-Director, Professor Emeritus Graeme Wake), and had invited speakers Professor Andrew Fowler from Limerick/Oxford Universities, Dr Mary Quinn CEO of Callaghan Innovation, and Japanese Ambassador to NZ: His Excellency Toshihisa Takata (pictured, on right).
Compac is a keen supporter of the concept, having seen the power of Mathematics in Industry in action. Compac’s R&D Manager, Nigel Beach comments, “The support of the math group helped us transform how we sort products into fixed weight packaging. This avenue was fast, effective and productive for our team”.
Global dairy giant, Fonterra, has been involved in several Mathematics-in-Industry events in Australia. Fonterra’s Calibration Technologist, Jo Simpson comments, “The support of the math group increased our confidence that the procedures we have in place met or exceeded international best practice. This event is an efficient process to have a large group of experts looking at a specific industry issue.”
New Zealand mathematicians and businesses have previously taken part in joint events run by the Australia and New Zealand Industrial Applied Mathematics (ANZIAM). Professor Wake comments, “Kiwi businesses have previously had to travel across the Tasman to participate in these events, but now we are running this event right in our back yard.”
This year’s MINZ initiative was supported by the Centre for Mathematics-in-Industry in Massey University, ANZIAM (A/NZ Industrial and Applied Mathematics Group), KiwiNet (NZ’s national network of Universities and Crown Research Institutes and Entities), New Zealand Mathematical Society and Victoria University where the event is being held.
Dr Bram Smith (pictured), General Manager of the Kiwi Innovation Network (KiwiNet) believes the model is highly compelling. Smith comments, “There is a wealth of world leading mathematics and statistical capability in Universities and Crown Research Entities across New Zealand that are hungry to solve industry problems. It’s great to see mathematicians working together to provide this creative new approach to drive business innovation”.
More than 100 mathematicians, a number of whom were postgraduate students participated. A summary and technical report will be prepared with aim of future publication in the ANZIAM Journal Series E.
“Mathematics-in-Industry is an extremely powerful and effective initiative to solve industry challenges. It enables businesses to focus on operations and lets mathematicians focus on what they do best – solve industry problems” notes Professor Graeme Wake. “NZ will benefit immensely from the greater use of clever mathematics in these organisations”.
To see more information, visit www.minz.org.nz
Innovation Manager, KiwiNet
Mobile: +64 (0) 21 617 752
The latest NZSA Newsletter is at http://www.stats.org.nz/site/uploads/newsletter77.pdf
The next newsletter is planned for early 2017. Contributions and suggestions are very welcome.
Marie Fitch, Editor
Victoria University of Wellington, 4-8th July.
The study group will be chaired by Professor Emeritus Graeme Wake and Professor Mark McGuiness.
There will be 6 industry challenges to work on throughout the week.
For more information about the industry challenges, or to register, head to http://www.minz.org.nz .
They are keen to have more statisticians involved this year.
27-30, November (hosted by AUT)
The 2016 NZSA conference will be hosted by Auckland University of Technology (AUT). Again it will be held in conjunction with the Operations Research Society of New Zealand (ORSNZ) conference.
AUT’s city campus
Sunday 27 Nov – informal evening welcome
Monday 28 to Wednesday 30 Nov – joint conference
A facebook group for discussion on the conference has been set up, which you are welcome to join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/nzsa.orsnz.conference.2016/
As well as the usual emails, announcements will be made publicly on the twitter account @autbiostats, using hashtag #nzsa16 for associated tweets (like last year).
Geoff Jowett (Geoffrey Harcourt Jowett) died peacefully in the presence of members of his family on 18 December, 2015. He was aged 93.
Geoff was a life member of the Association. He arrived in New Zealand in 1964 to take up the chair in statistics at the University of Otago, and after several years moved to the Invermay Agricultural Research Centre to work as head of the biometrics section there. Many Association members will remember him as an inspiring and entertaining lecturer and speaker, a colleague or mentor and a friend. He will also be remembered for his work in introducing, in conjunction with another (late) life member, H.S. (Stan) Roberts, statistical education into New Zealand schools.
Click here for the NZ Statistician article on Geoff on the occasion being made a life member of the NZSA in 1984.
Last Modified: Tuesday, 24th May 2016