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10/22/12 - Mathematicians, scientists, engineers share ideas at MSU

Getting a job isn't just about what you know -- it's also about who you know.

Recent university graduates and current students require networking opportunities to begin their careers, and Mississippi State University is providing them.

For example, more than 60 young professionals recently attended the ninth biannual Mississippi State University-University of Alabama at Birmingham Conference on Differential Equations & Computational Simulations, where there were 131 attendees. Hosted by the Center for Computational Sciences at the High Performance Computing Collaboratory and the MSU department of mathematics and statistics, this interdisciplinary academic gathering provided a forum for new researchers to meet with experienced professionals in their respective fields.

Mathematicians, scientists and engineers from academia and industry gathered to exchange research ideas involving theoretical and applied developments in differential equations and computational simulations at one of the only conferences of its kind in the Southeast, said conference-organizer Hyeona Lim, MSU associate professor of mathematics and statistics.

"The major idea is to promote the collaboration between disciplines," she said. "This conference was not just for the experienced mathematician or engineer, it also was for encouraging these young researchers and helping them get jobs."

Many presenters at the conference came from MSU's Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems at the HPC2, and several of the presentations focused on research from fields closely related to math and engineering, such as physics and chemistry.

"Differential equations are the math side and the computational simulations are the engineering side," Lim said. "By bringing these people from various disciplines -- physics, biology, chemistry, mathematics, mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering and biomedical engineering -- these people really see how the math problems can be applied to realistic world problems."

The conference also highlighted the collaborative efforts among the most successful leaders in academia and industry, Lim said.

"More than half our audience came back from previous conferences. They like the format: the quality of the talks, the Southern hospitality, that it's hosted in Mississippi," she said. "We arrange all the transportation, and we provide all the meals. Since they can all stay together, they have more time to communicate with other researchers."

MSU's institutional support, as well as a $35,000 National Science Foundation grant and other off-campus organizations, made it all possible, Lim said.

In addition to CAVS, the conference also was made possible by the MSU Office of the Provost; Office of Research and Economic Development; College of Arts & Sciences; and the physics and astronomy department.

Other contributors included the NSF, University of Minnesota's Institute for Mathematics and its Applications, UAB's School of Engineering, Electronic Journal of Differential Equations and Atlas Conferences Inc.

Lim thanked MSU Provost and Executive Vice President Jerry Gilbert for his support and leadership in offering the conference's opening address.

"All these people and organizations know that this is a great tradition. There aren't that many math conferences in Mississippi, but this is the best that has a long history -- it's one of the best interdisciplinary conferences in the country," she said.

MSU students presenting research at the conference included (by hometown):

HUNTSVILLE, Ala.--David M. Lavallee, the son of Paul and Tandra Lavallee; and Christopher "Chris" Moore, the son of Timothy and Angela Moore. Both are engineering doctoral students.

KERNERSVILLE, N.C.--Dagny G. Butler, a mathematics doctoral student. (Parents not listed.)

PELAHATCHIE--Senior William T. Cordell, a mathematics major, the son of David and Elizabeth Cordell.

QUITMAN--Bonnie J. Roberson, a mathematics graduate student, the daughter of John and Bonnie Roberson.

STARKVILLE--M. Faridul Alam, engineering doctoral student; Varun Chitta, engineering doctoral student; Tej P. Dhakal, engineering doctoral student; Lakshmi S. Kalappattil, mathematics doctoral student; Morteza Kiani, computational engineering doctoral student; Hakran Kim, computational engineering doctoral student; Arjun Shanker, aerospace engineering graduate student major; Maurin Alberto Lopez Varilla, computational engineering doctoral student.

Leah Barbour | University Relations

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