Mathematics to receive share of £5m

Aberystwyth has research groups in pure and applied mathematics

Aberystwyth has research groups in pure and applied mathematics

30 November 2006

Thursday 30 November 2006
Mathematics at Aberystwyth to receive share of £5m
The University of Wales, Aberystwyth has welcomed the announcement by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales this week that it is to support the development of a Wales Institute of Mathematical and Computational Sciences with funding worth £5 million from its Reconfiguration and Collaboration Fund.

The Wales Institute of Mathematical and Computational Sciences is designed to improve the competitiveness of Welsh research in these areas both in the UK and internationally.

The Institute, which will involve departments in Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff and Swansea,  is set to increase income for research, particularly from sources outside Wales, and should also play an important role in working with industry to encourage research which will benefit Wales's ‘knowledge economy'.

The Institute will also play a part in taking forward the aims of the Welsh Assembly Government’s Science Policy and will work closely with schools to encourage the next generation of mathematical scientists.

Professor Noel Lloyd, Vice-Chancellor at UWA said:
“I warmly welcome the establishment of the Welsh Institute of Mathematical and Computational Sciences. Mathematics underpins large areas of Science, and research in the subject leads to important contributions to the knowledge economy. The Institute will lead to further strengthening of the research base in Wales and enhanced competitiveness internationally.  The outreach programme and the involvement with a range of applications will be especially valuable.”

Professor Neville Greaves, director of Mathematics and Physics at Aberystwyth, said:
“The formation of this Pan-Wales Institute in Mathematical and Computational Sciences fits in perfectly with the emphasis in Aberystwyth for mathematical modelling and also for analysis. In the last 6 months Research Council awards totalling over £600,000 have been won by Aberystwyth Mathematicians for research into foams and into exotic liquids.  Also work on a new £11M visualisation project is progressing well which will add further to the contribution Aberystwyth is making to the international standing of research in mathematics in Wales. " 

Mathematics at Aberystwyth
Mathematics research at Aberystwyth falls into two broad categories: Applied and Pure.
Research in Applied Mathematics concerns the modelling and study of fluid flow: interests range from theoretical questions about properties of solutions to computation of solutions and comparison of predictions made by the model with experiments. Of particular interest is understanding what are known as complex fluids: non-Newtonian materials like molten plastics, paint and foam that don't flow in the way that Newtonian liquids such as water do. For example, shaving foam is made of a mixture of liquid and air, so why can one push one’s finger into it and leave a hole?

Models of weather front formation are also analysed: energy minimising solutions can be shown to be stable. Meteorologists have noted that most forecast errors are simply displacements of significant weather; a new approach to evaluating forecast error has been developed here which accounts for this.

In Pure Mathematics, there is research in algebraic combinatorics and particularly coding theory. The codes studied are error-correcting codes and are geometric in origin. Codes are used to correct errors in transmitted information, for instance in transmitting photographs from spacecraft (errors caused, for instance, by atmospheric or solar disturbances) or in electronic reading of CDs or DVDs (errors from scratches, for instance). Dynamical systems research uses computer algebra to solve large systems of polynomial equations, which might represent the populations of interacting biological species, in order to determine the behaviour of the system.