December 3, 2010
WOOSTER, Ohio — To measure the success of The College of Wooster’s Applied Mathematics Research Experience (AMRE), one need only count to 10 — as in a record 10 projects this year. Wooster’s innovative summer research program, which empowers small groups of students to serve as consultants for clients seeking mathematical or computer-based solutions, enjoyed its biggest and most successful year since being established in 1994.
“It was quite an undertaking,” said John Ramsay, professor of mathematics and computer science who co-founded the program and continues to serve as its director. “We keep growing in terms of student participation and client interest.”
That growth was on display Tuesday (Nov. 30) when students shared the results of their research with faculty, staff, clients, and fellow students at the annual Projects Day presentation. Three of the student groups worked on separate projects with the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, including one that created a model to display two-dimensional cross-sections of specified steel cord designs in order to analyze the construction of the tire. Another group worked with scientists at the nearby Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) to refine an application known as Tomato Analyzer, which measures the shape and color attributes of fruit in an effort to learn more about how genes and molecular networks control fruit morphology (structure).
Two of the groups conducted research for Wooster’s Center for Entrepreneurship, while another worked on a project for Wooster’s Business Office. Two other groups addressed theoretical problems (Knot Theory Research and Polygon Dissection Research), and another used neural networks to predict the outcome of National Football League games in an application of math modeling.
During its 17-year history, AMRE has completed 82 projects for 27 different clients while employing 163 students. The current year is expected to result in four published research papers.
“AMRE is quintessentially Wooster,” said Wooster President Grant Cornwell, who welcomed the gathering. “It is hard to think of a better example of ‘Independent Minds, Working Together.’ This is what we do that makes us who we are. AMRE brings together collaborative teams to engage in research and solve problems where the goal can only be achieved by bringing different disciplines — different skills and modes of analysis — together to create new insight. It is this approach that distinguishes Wooster as a liberal arts college.”
Cornwell thanked clients for inviting Wooster students to engage their questions or problems. “You are contributing very directly to our mission, and I am grateful for that…and I hope you derive value from their good work,” he said. “There is triple value in the program: work accomplished for clients; educational experience for students, which ranges from the theoretical to the applied; and the College being able to contribute to the community.”
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