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Mathematics in Industry Study Group

Monday 16 January - Friday 20 January 2023


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 Groups have been organized for over fifty years in many countries around the world. The first Study Group in South Africa was held in 2004.

A Study Group is open and free from any non-disclosure agreement with industry.

The Study Group will be an onsite face-to-face Study Group. 

Arrangements may be made to accommodate experts in the field for short virtual sessions.

Contact information 
David P Mason

Organising Committee
  • Professor D P Mason, University of the Witwatersrand
  • Mr Erick Mubai, University of the Witwatersrand
  • Dr Syamala Krishnannair, University of Zululand
  • Professor M Ali, University of the Witwatersrand
  • Dr Naeemah Modhien, University of the Witwatersrand
  • Professor M Khalique, North West University
  • Ms Angel Kubheka, University of the Witwatersrand
  • Professor Jeff Sanders, African Institute for Mathematical Sciences and the University of Stellenbosch
  • Dr Simukai Utete, African Institute for Mathematical Sciences
Design of the Study Group
  • On the first day industry representatives outline about five problems posed by local industry. Each industry representative makes a 20 minute presentation followed by 10 minutes of questions.
  • 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 contacts 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, urban and rooftop farming.
  • 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 only a voluntary payment 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 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.
  • There are breaks for morning and afternoon tea, and lunch.
  • One academic staff member and one graduate student will be invited from each of the fifteen South African Universities in the Centre of Excellence in Mathematical and Statistical Sciences.
  • Register here: 
Invited guests
  • Professor Neville Fowkes, University of Western Australia, Australia
  • Professor Tim Myers, Centre de Recerca Matematica, Barcelona, Spain
  • Dr Alba Cabrera Codony, Institut de Medi Ambient, University of Girona, Girona, Catalonia, Spain
  • Professor Graeme Hocking, Murdoch University, Perth, Australia
  • Centre of Excellence in Mathematical and Statistical Sciences
  • African Institute for Mathematical Sciences
  • Hermann Olthaver Trust