Non-European Study Groups with Industry

By Prof. Michael Vynnycky

As is well-known amongst ECMI members, Study Groups with Industry are an internationally recognised method of technology transfer between academic mathematicians and industry; these take the form of week-long workshops that provide a forum for industrial scientists to work alongside academic mathematicians on problems of direct industrial relevance. In particular, the European Study Groups with Industry (ESGI) started with the first Study Group in Oxford in 1968 and now there are 5-7 meetings held annually in different European countries; the ESGI to be held at the Polytechnic Institute of Leiria in Portugal on 1-5 July 2019 will be the 155th.

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Fig. 1: Sowing the seed for the flowering of industrial mathematics in Brazil: the logo of CeMEAI (Center of Mathematical Sciences Applied to Industry)

Perhaps less well-known are Study Groups with Industry that have been held outside of Europe; for the most part, this has included regular events in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the US, but also on a few occasions in China, India, Mexico and Turkey. However, a recent newcomer has been Brazil, which has been holding study groups annually since 2015. In common with the early study groups held in Ireland is the fact that all of the ones held in Brazil to date have been held in one location, at the University of São Paulo (USP) in São Carlos, under the auspices of one organization: CeMEAI (Centre of Mathematical Sciences Applied to Industry). CeMEAI, whose logo is shown in Fig. 1 and whose name is a play on the word semear – meaning “to sow” in Portuguese – is structured to promote the use of mathematical sciences as an industrial resource in four basic areas: Applied Optimization and Operations Research, Computational Fluid Mechanics, Risk Modelling, Computational Intelligence and Software Engineering. The activities of CeMEAI are funded by FAPESP (São Paulo Research Foundation) and are spread over six universities in five cities in the state of São Paulo.

To date, the Brazilian Study Groups have tackled 24 problems, from a wide variety of areas. A regular supplier of problems has been the Brazilian Synchotron Light Laboratory, which is part of the Brazilian Centre for Research in Energy and Materials (CNPEM) – a private, non-profit, research and development institution under supervision of the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovations and Communications (MCTIC). Companies having international profiles, such as Embraer and Tecumseh, have also participated, as have the Federal Savings Bank (Caixa Econômica Federal) and Ministry for the Economy in São Paulo state (Secretaria da Fazenda – SP).

The fifth Brazilian Study Group with Industry will be held at ICMC-USP in São Carlos on 8-12 July 2019.

Biography: Michael Vynnycky is Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Limerick and is active within MACSI (Mathematics Applications Consortium for Science and Industry). Aside from his industrial mathematics pursuits in vanadium redox flow batteries, the continuous casting of steel, pharmaceutical freeze drying, smectic liquid crystals, brazing of aluminium alloys and high pressure die casting, he participated in the 2nd and 3rd Brazilian Study Groups, held in 2016 and 2017, respectively.