Monday, September 24, 2007

51st Annual Meeting of the Australian Mathematical Society

Victoria, Australia: Australian industries such as mining, aviation, finance, security and public health will reap long-term benefits from a meeting of mathematical minds in Melbourne from Tuesday 25th to Friday 28th September.

The 51st annual Australian Mathematical Society conference will give mathematical scientists the opportunity to share the latest in theoretical and applied mathematics and statistics, which will lead to improvements in modern applications such as scheduling in the aviation industry, on the docks and in railway yards; mining and transport efficiencies; internet and banking security; and patient waiting lists in hospitals.

Conference Director, Associate Professor Geoff Prince, from La Trobe University Department of Mathematics and Statistics, said the contribution of mathematics to modern society was more important than ever.

"Industry and government recognise that mathematics and statistics are critical to Australia's future prosperity," Associate Professor Prince said. "From saving millions of dollars through improved mining efficiencies to streamlining hospital admissions, and from predicting and preventing transport delays to improving internet security, today's mathematicians are making more of a contribution to society than at any other time in history. And this conference allows them to exchange the ideas, forge the new links and create the research partnerships that will lead to the next generation of mathematical breakthroughs."

More than 260 researchers — including 60 postgraduate students, the most ever — will be at the conference, which is the country's largest meeting of mathematical scientists. The discipline has recently been buoyed by the Australian Government's Budget response to the National Review of Mathematical Sciences, which last year warned of an impending crisis if funding for mathematical research continued to decline.

"There's definitely been a mood of optimism among Australian mathematicians and statisticians since the Government's turnaround following the review," said Australian Mathematical Society President, Professor Peter Hall.

"This is reflected in the number of conference registrations and particularly in the number of postgraduate students attending; it's the most we've ever had. We need young mathematicians and statisticians coming through the ranks to maintain our technological capability and international competitiveness."

The annual conference is the only national whole-of-discipline event where many Australian mathematical researchers are able to meet with peers, share ideas and initiate collaborations that will lead to new areas of research and development vital to Australia.

"The national review showed that support for collaborative work among mathematical scientists is critical to Australia's future technological development," Professor Hall said.

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