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Mathematics in Industry Study Group (MISGSA)

Monday 11 January - Friday 15 January 2016

A Mathematics in Industry Study Group is a five-day workshop at which academic researchers and graduate students work collaboratively with representatives from industry on research problems submitted by local industry. Study Group's have been organized for over forty years in many countries around the world. The first Study Group in South Africa was held in 2004.


Mathematical Science Building, West Campus, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Contact information

David P Mason; E-mail:

Organising Committee

Professor D P Mason, University of the Witwatersrand
Professor M Ali, University of the Witwatersrand
Professor M Khalique, North West University
Rene January, African Institute for Mathematical Sciences
A'eeda Rhodes, African Institute for Mathematical Sciences 

Design of Study Group

  • On the first day industry representatives outline about five problems posed by local industry
  • Applied mathematicians and graduate students work in small groups on the problems of their choice for three days
  • Reports back to industry on the progress made are presented on the last day
  • Further work is done on the problems after the meeting and a Proceedings is produced later in the year

Benefits to industry

  • Leading mathematicians from South Africa and overseas work on their problem
  • Obtain an initial modelling of their problem and a development of the solution process
  • New perspectives and fresh ideas are brought to the problem
  • Establish research links with academic applied mathematicians which can develop far beyond the problem posed
  • Establish contact and develop employment opportunities for graduate students

Benefit to academics

  • Opportunity to work on problems of genuine practical importance and do good mathematics in the process
  • New research areas can be opened up leading to publications and new research collaborations
  • Opportunity to apply knowledge and skills to significant practical problems
  • Stimulate in industry the awareness of the power of mathematical modelling and scientific computing

Benefits to graduate students

  • Learn to model and solve problems of genuine practical importance by working closely with leading academics and invited guests
  • Learn leadership skills by observing the way the moderator coordinates the work on the problem
  • Learn skills in presenting research material and skills in scientific communication

Information for companies

  • Most industrial problems can be modelled mathematically. Problems that Study Groups in South Africa have investigated include rock bursts, hydraulic fracturing, optimization in mining, traffic flow, flow of molten glass, HIV in the work place, optimal distribution of goods, renewable energy, wind turbines, robot motion and image processing
  • Because the Study Group will discuss the problems openly the problems must not be of a confidential nature and must be such that the results can be published
  • There is no charge for submitting a problem to encourage industry participation
  • If you are interested in submitting a problem please contact us
  • If your problem is selected you will have to submit a detailed problem description well before the meeting and present the problem at the first day of the Study Group
  • The industry representative is expected to be present or contactable during the whole week to assist the academic participants

Information for participants

  • There is no registration fee because participants give their expertise free of charge.
  • You need to register
  • Morning and afternoon tea, a finger lunch and a buffet dinner will be provided

Invited guests

  • Professor Neville Fowkes, University of Western Australia, Australia
  • Professor Tim Myers, Centre de Recerca Mathematica, Barcelona, Spain
  • Professor Graeme Hocking, Murdoch University, Perth, Australia
  • Professor Danesh Patel, University of Baroda, Vadodara, India


Centre of Excellence in Mathematical and Statistical Sciences
African Institute for Mathematical Sciences
Hermann Olthaver Trust