Mathematics in Industrial Problems
Building a bridge between mathematicians and industry is both a chal lenging task and a valuable goal for the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications (IMA). The rationale for the existence of the IMA is to en courage interaction between mathematicians and scientists who use math ematics. Some of this interaction should evolve around industrial problems which mathematicians may be able to solve in "real time." Both Industry and Mathematics benefit: Industry, by increase of mathematical knowledge and ideas brought to bear upon their concerns, and Mathematics, through the infusion of exciting new problems. In the past ten months I have visited numerous industries and national laboratories, and met with several hundred scientists to discuss mathe matical questions which arise in specific industrial problems. Many of the problems have special features which existing mathematical theories do not encompass; such problems may open new directions for research. However, I have encountered a substantial number of problems to which mathemati cians should be able to contribute by providing either rigorous proofs or formal arguments. The majority of scientists with whom I met were engineers, physicists, chemists, applied mathematicians and computer scientists. I have found them eager to share their problems with the mathematical community. Often their only recourse with a problem is to "put it on the computer." However, further insight could be gained by mathematical analysis.