How maths solves problems for industry

The use of maths research in the UK to solve problems for business and industry is highlighted in a new book co-edited by academics at the University of Strathclyde.

UK Success Stories in Industrial Mathematics features case studies of nearly 40 mathematicians playing a role in the performance of businesses, including increased output, productivity and profit.

The book covers a range of sectors, including climate modelling, engineering, health and finance. It has been co-edited by Dr Katherine Tant and Dr Anthony Mulholland, of Strathclyde's Department of Mathematics and Statistics, along with Dr Philip Aston of the University of Surrey.

Dr Tant said: "The research in this book is designed to be accessible to the general public but also includes mathematical results for a more specialist audience. It's also grouped into sectors, depending on where the mathematicians' collaborations were.

"The book shows the impressive economic and social impact that mathematics can have, sometimes in unexpected places. It also demonstrates the value of maths study and research, which has applications in many sectors."

Examples of the research projects include an analytical framework for dealing with nuclear-related disaster and an algorithm for determining the level of classification of confidential documents.

It also features a project led by Strathclyde Mathematics Professor Des Higham with Leeds-based digital marketing agency Bloom, which supported the development of its social media analytics product Whisper which identifies 'true influence'.

Whisper examines social media networks and how they are connected to each other. It determines who is pivotal in connecting communities in these networks and was used to provide the insight for the 2015 Sky Sports advertisement featuring former footballer Thierry Henry.

UK Success Stories in Industrial Mathematics is published by Springer Science Books. It is to be officially launched at an event at the House of Commons tonight (Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016), organised by the Council for Mathematical Sciences and hosted by Stephen Metcalfe MP, a member of the Commons Science and Technology Committee.

The book was compiled from selected research projects submitted to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, the comprehensive rating of UK universities' research. This assessed 74% of Strathclyde's Mathematical Sciences research output as world-leading or internationally excellent.