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Study Group Workshops are organized with two main purposes. The first is to work toward solving mathematical problems arising in industrial
applications. The second is to search for areas of potential mathematically oriented collaboration and cooperation between academia and industry and
then to work toward realizing this potential. The first such workshop was held at Oxford University in 1968. Study Group Workshops operate as follows.
First, a broad research theme or area is selected. Then, with regard to this theme or area, a number of researchers from other fields, including people from
industry, present to a group of mathematicians particular unsolved mathematical problems that those researchers have confronted in their work. (These
problems are selected according to the criterion that they exhibit the potential to be cast as mathematical problems.) The participating mathematicians
then may choose to collaborate with any of the presenters to work toward solving their problem. Often, this work does not simply consist of applying a
pre-existing framework but, instead, first requires the construction of the proper mathematical formulation of the problem under consideration. Generally,
these collaborations last for approximately one week. In some cases, the proposed problems are solved during this designated period of collaboration. In
many other cases, however, only the first steps toward a solution are made during this period, and afterward, perhaps under a contract agreed to by the participating parties, a longer-term collaboration is entered into. Of course, there are also cases in which no concrete solution is reached. However, even
cases of that kind cannot be regarded as "failures." First, even if no solution is reached, this kind of collaboration provides mathematicians with valuable
first-hand experience in dealing with the problems confronted in industry and other academic fields. Also, for the researchers who propose a problem,
there is something gained if this problem can be posed in a well-defined mathematical form, even if a solution is not reached in the short term. Finally, for
participating graduate students and post-doctoral researchers, the opportunity to experience the process of searching for solutions to the wide range of
problems encountered in these collaborations allows them the chance to broaden the scope of their appreciation and interests, while also opening many
career paths for them. Since the first study group workshop at Oxford back in 1968, it has been followed up by a growing number of universities in the United States, Europe, Asia- Pacific Region and India. One reason
behind this trend is the growing view that Study Group Workshops and long-term internships are the main pillars of the effort to promote collaboration
between academic-based mathematicians and industry-based researchers – if not the main pillars of this collaboration itself.
Organizing committe by
Miyuki Koiso, Chair, Kyushu University
Yoshiyuki Ninomiya, Chair, Kyushu University
Masahiro Yamamoto, The University of Tokyo