The Mathematics Consultation Clinic
The main objective of this course is to provide opportunities for students to consolidate their mathematical knowledge, and to obtain a perspective on the meaning and significance of that knowledge. This course is unlike any other at LSU, as students are exposed to a role played by mathematicians in industry and how mathematical thinking can be used to solve real-world problems.
Other objectives include
- Understand the nature of the problem to the extent that there is some idea of what mathematical paradigm it fits and what tools might help to solve it.
- Build a mathematical model that covers the crucial features but yet can be implemented easily.
- Implement the model so that the end user can easily enter and retrieve data.
Students who normally enroll in this course are students who are majoring or minoring in mathematics or computer science. Students are required to have some previous knowledge and experience in working with computer applications. This means knowing how to use various mathematical software, and their capabilities and shortcomings. Students extensively use mathematical software such as MATLAB, Maple, Mathematica, Excel and OPL Studio.
Students work in teams under guidance of LSU faculty or graduate students. Faculty and graduate students at LSU have supervised teams of students on many significant projects, including projects that involve control theory and other important areas. You can read more about some of the teams here and at the Projects by Semester links on this page. During the Spring 2016 semester, the focus in the Clinic was on 3D printing and 3D scanning. The emphasis in Math 4020 is on the success of the teams and students' contributions to them. Students often meet with clients who visit to give feedback, and then team members give oral presentations. This gives students a unique opportunity to communicate results to people who are interested in the end product more than the technical details. Problems and projects come from refineries, hospitals, security agencies, banks and other departments and industries.