Advanced Mathematics has become a very powerful and practical tool in many disciplines and professions. The specialised task of finding practical solutions to real life problems by means of mathematical invention is the objective of researchers in the School of Computational and Applied Mathematics.
Students become skilled in the use of mathematics in a ‘pencil and paper’ way, constructing mathematical models, performing calculations, judging the usefulness of the models and deciding on how they might best be applied to industry and commerce. Real life problems can be very complicated and the applied mathematician will often need computer skills for judging his or her model and the accuracy of the mathematics. The computer solutions can themselves be very difficult to compute (some real problems could take the fastest computer years to solve), so applied mathematicians really need advanced computer skills. Many researchers become involved in academic studies of these difficult computer problems.
The School of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics is interested in mathematical applications such as valuation of financial products for large banks and corporations; graduates can eventually earn very large salaries. Continuum mechanics describes the distortion of a solid and the flow of liquids. Companies often have optimisation problems, such as the shortest path for copper wire for a telephone service. The School is interested in academic problems in mathematics, such as numerical analysis and differential equations, in astronomy and in physics.
Applied Mathematics is important in many disciplines. The School also teaches engineers, architects, building scientists, town planners, commerce students, and medical and health science students.