A Student Perspective of AN17

Between 10th and 14th July 2017, Alex Mackay and I attended the international annual meeting of SIAM in Pittsburgh, as the representatives for the Cardiff SIAM-IMA student Chapter. The meeting featured diverse and interesting lectures in a multitude of parallel sessions spanning all areas of applied and pure mathematics, physics, engineering, statistics and operational research, reinforcing the message that these fields are intertwined and can and should contribute to each other.
If I had to choose, I have two personal highlights of the trip. The first was a panel discussion with Dr. Christine Darden, a former ‘human computer’ for NASA, featured in the book ‘Hidden Figures’. The story around this book and film is fascinating, and I would recommend both to everyone. The second was a lecture given by Henry Segerman on Visualising Mathematics with 3D Printing, in which he spoke about using 3D printing to aid education. Visualisation of concepts like hyperbolic surfaces and complex geometries is made possible using his designs, and I personally would have loved to have had these resources available as an undergraduate!
On the second day, Alex attended the student breakfast organised for the Chapter representatives. Even though the breakfast started at 7am and there were several bleary-eyed attendees, it was a great experience to share ideas and discuss the rôle of students in enhancing the SIAM community. We intend to implement many of the ideas which arose from the discussions in our institution over the coming months as we continue to grow as a Chapter.


Throughout the conference, we felt valued members of the delegation and I personally feel that the conferences organised by SIAM offer some of the best opportunities for students to attend and contribute. There were many events and social evenings organised, the hospitality of the venue was outstanding and we made great friends and potential future collaboration partners from all over the world. A huge ‘thank you’ is necessary for the administration teams and fellow members of SIAM who organised this this conference and made it such a great success.
All in all, the Pittsburgh experience was great, and it was the perfect setting for an excellent conference. I would highly recommend the city, and of course the next annual meeting of SIAM – to be held in Portland, Oregon next July.
We would like to thank SIAM for providing me with a Travel Award to enable my attendance at this conference, and for providing Alex with the Chapter representative funding. We are extremely grateful for their support in all we do as a Chapter.
Scott Morgan
Cardiff SIAM Student Chapter President

‘Full STEAM Ahead’ for Cardiff SIAM-IMA Student Chapter

On June 28th, the Cardiff SIAM-IMA Student Chapter organised the one-day ‘Full STEAM Ahead’ event, open to secondary school and FE College students, PhD students and staff.

The event consisted of three workshops aimed at inspiring students to engage in STEM subjects, and opened with a short address by Sian Ashton of the STEM Ambassador scheme. This scheme is a national endeavour to inspire young people to continue into STEM careers and anyone aged over 17 can join. Being a member of this scheme would enhance both PGR students’ experiences (by enabling them to have varied teaching practise), and school students’ experiences (by delivering exciting, cutting edge topics into their lessons) and the Cardiff SIAM-IMA Chapter will continue to work very closely with Sian and her colleagues going forward. The workshops on the day were delivered by a combination of PGR Students and industry experts, and consisted of:

Robotics (Led by Emotion Robotics)

Using advanced humanoid robots, Pepper and NAO, we delivered a workshop based around artificial intelligence and automation. This part was run by Carl Clement of Emotion Robotics, who provided the robots for the event. Everyone was captivated and there were plenty of amazed faces in the crowd – they really do need to be seen to be believed!

Physical Computing with Raspberry Pi (Led by Luke Smallman)

Bridgend College, in partnership with Sony UKTec provided Raspberry Pi computers and Pi cameras for the event, and with resources from the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s ‘Picademy’, we ran a simple introduction to programming hardware devices with Python.


3D Printing (Led by Alex Safar & Danny Groves)

Students had the opportunity to design and print their own 3D fidget spinners using the freely available browser-based software ‘Onshape’. There was a prize for the best design, submitted on the day and printed later by our colleagues in Engineering. Each student also received a 3D printed ‘gyro’ keyring memento of the event to take away with them.

While the workshops were delivered primarily by Mathematics PGR students, I truly believe that this was a cross-curricular multi-disciplinary event, and embraced the heart of the ‘Applications of Mathematics’. I believe it is fundamentally important to appreciate the wider applications of our subject, and I feel that we definitely succeeded in our goal to inspire a future generation of STEM practitioners. The feedback collected on the day was extremely positive, and building on this event, we look to expand in future years and develop the links with our partner institutions further.


We are extremely grateful to the IMA for providing us with an Education Grant to help this day succeed, and to the Cardiff University Widening Access Fund for covering the cost of lunch. I personally would like to thank my fellow members of the SIAM-IMA Student Chapter committee; Alex Mackay, Danny Groves and Alex Safar, as well as Luke Smallman for delivering a first-class workshop on physical computing with Raspberry Pi. Huge thanks to our friends and partners in Bridgend College and Emotion Robotics, without whom, the event would not have been possible, and also to Debbie Syrop of Cardiff’s Engineering department for all her advice on room bookings, lunch and event management.

Scott Morgan
Cardiff SIAM-IMA Student Chapter President

University of Reading SIAM-IMA student conference update


On Friday 16th May, the University of Reading SIAM-IMA student chapter hosted their annual conference. Over 40 staff and students attended from a variety of institutions, including the University of Bath, the University of Oxford, Imperial College, London and Brunel University London.

Keynote talks were given by Dr Melina Freitag (University of Bath) on saddle point formulations for data assimilation and Dr Tim Rogers (University of Bath) on how to explain collaborative behaviour as a result of evolution using stochastic noise.

Student talks were given on a broad range of topics within applied mathematics, with applications including meteorology, finance and neuroscience. The prize for the best talk, judged by conference attendees, was given to Tom Bendall of Imperial College, London. Florian Klimm, from the University of Oxford was the runner-up.

The poster session provided another opportunity for students to present their work in an informal setting over lunch. Prizes were awarded to Dan Derrick and Nicola Thorn, both from the University of Reading.

The event concluded with a conference dinner, which was a great chance for everyone to relax and reflect on the day. The organising committee would like to thank all of the speakers, presenters and attendees as well as SIAM, the IMA and the University of Reading who all supported the event.

Scientific Software Engineer at Roxar, Oxford

Roxar, part of the Emerson group of companies, produces software for the oil and gas exploration and production industry. Our software is used worldwide to calculate flows of fluid underground and along the wells, and to assess the uncertainty when developing an oil or gas field.

The growing use of Roxar’s Tempest MORE reservoir simulator means we are expanding the development team in Oxford. We are looking for a skilled scientific software engineer to research and develop numerical schemes to simulate underground fluid flow, build and test the code, and support end users in running the final commercial program.

The successful candidate will work as part of the development team on a range of projects. Possible projects might be to simulate advanced wells, improve the performance of the core solvers, or modelling more advanced physical processes such as carbon dioxide injection.  In all cases an efficient, parallel implementation of the ensuing algorithms is critical to take advantage of parallel hardware and emerging computing architectures, as is the ability to write clear and maintainable code.

The successful candidate will have:

  • Strong physics, maths or engineering skills at PhD level, possibly with some post-doctoral experience
  • Excellent programming skills in a high-level language such as C++
  • Aptitude for software engineering as part of a development team
  • Interest in helping real-world engineers

In addition, experience in the following areas would be advantageous:

  • Modelling fluid flow in porous media
  • Working on large or commercial numerical codes
  • Parallel architectures and libraries (e.g. MPI, multi-threading, CUDA)
  • Software development lifecycle and testing

For more information please contact Kari Hansen karirosnes.hansen@emerson.com.

For more details on Roxar visit www.roxarsoftware.com

Closing date: 31st July 2017.


University of Reading SIAM student chapter conference: 16th June

The University of Reading SIAM-IMA student chapter will be hosting a student conference on 16th June 2017. Details of the provisional program and registration are available at the following webpage:


Keynote talks will be given by:
Dr Melina Freitag, University of Bath – Saddle point formulations and preconditioners for 4D-Var data assimilation problems

Dr Tim Rogers, University of Bath – Strength in numbers: how demographic noise can reverse the direction of selection

A large portion of the day is dedicated to giving junior researchers a chance to showcase their research through either a talk or a poster.  The conference will also provide opportunities for graduate students to discuss their research more informally over coffee, lunch (provided) and the conference dinner.

Both SIAM and the IMA promote the applications of mathematics, and a wide range of research will be represented across the talks and posters. The deadline for giving a talk has passed, but we welcome posters on any areas of applied mathematics, computational mathematics and statistics, and any mathematics which has current or potential applications to industry.

Please follow this link https://goo.gl/forms/HEXJLBpsvHB6eQHD3 to register to attend by 1st June. Registration is free, but mandatory so that we know numbers in advance.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with Jemima Tabeart (Communications Officer for the chapter) at jemima.tabeart@pgr.reading.ac.uk

Conference report: SIAM Student Chapter conference at the University of Oxford

18554549_10154338551571114_360462048_nOn the 17th of May, the SIAM Student Chapter of the University of Oxford held its 9th Annual Conference. With the main goal of fostering interactions between graduate students in applied mathematics (in the broadest of senses), the conference provides graduate students an opportunity to present their own and learn about their peers’ research, be it during a poster presentation, a talk, or an informal discussion during one of the breaks.

The conference is traditionally opened and closed with a plenary lecture by a distinguished researcher. For this year’s conference, Prof. David Hobson from the University of Warwick gave the opening lecture on his recent work of “Prospect theory in a dynamic context”. The following ten student talks and six poster presentations covered a broad range of areas, including (stochastic) partial differential equations, network theory, numerical analysis, and mathematical modelling. The prize for the best talk and the prize for the best poster presentation were awarded based on the participants’ votes to Hadrien Montanelli and Ian Roper, both from the University of Oxford. The closing talk was given by Prof. Anne Juel from the University of Manchester on “Ribbon curling via differential stretching of thin polymer sheets” which provided ample material for further conversations over pizza and drinks in the common room of the institute.

With more than 50 registered participants coming not only from Oxford but from as far as Edinburgh, the conference fulfilled its purpose to increase the exchange of ideas and research within the graduate student community in applied mathematics. With next year’s conference marking the 10th anniversary, the SIAM Student Chapter of the University of Oxford is especially looking forward to welcoming familiar and new faces at their next conference.

Orthogonal Polynomials, Special Functions & Applications, Kent, July 2017

The 14th International Symposium on Orthogonal Polynomials, Special Functions and Applications (OPSFA14), organised by Ana Loureiro and myself at the University of Kent, Canterbury, UK, will take place 3rd-7th July 2017. The conference, which is an event of the SIAM Activity Group on Orthogonal Polynomials and Special Functions, is the 14th in the OPSFA series and the first one to take place in the UK.

For further information see https://blogs.kent.ac.uk/opsfa/

The deadline for early-bird registrations is 23:59 BST (GMT+1) on Saturday 20th May. To register please go to

Peter Clarkson