With only half a day left out of one week’s intense problem solving for four companies, the 24 European troubleshooters from DTU Mathematics etc are in excellent spirits. They have found reasonable solutions to most of the problems proposed.
Cameron Hall (University of Oxford, UK) is calculating on the blackboard.
Photo: Fionn Fitzmaurice (Trinity College, Dublin)
ESGI – or the European Study Group with Industry – is a recurrent event celebrating its 15th jubilee in Denmark this year. The idea behind ESGI is simple: the companies present a specific problem which they need help to solve. And the mathematicians – they put their thinking caps on from 9 in the morning till 9 in the evening for a whole week to find possible solutions.
The originators of ESGI in Denmark are the DTU Mathematics associate professors Poul G. Hjorth and Jens Gravesen. Even though they have to draw on their network at times to find company cases, they experience that many companies return when they have tried it once. Torben Amby from Siemens explains why they participate:
"ESGI is an intense way to get input to a specific problem from your everyday life.
The mathematics we have developed is reviewed and extended with lightning speed, but also challenged by a group of people who possess their individual mathematics toolboxes.
Throughout the years we have proposed various mathematics problems, and we have always come home with something new”, he explains and adds that he was very positively surprised how motivated and cheerfully this year's group of both students and teachers worked till late at night to find the complete solution to his company’s problem.
At this year’s ESGI four companies asked for assistance.
”It is a strong experience to be part of a week like this. Not least for the few selected PhD and master’s students who get the opportunity to join. And for the hardened mathematicians it is interesting to transfer the abstract tools from the world of mathematics to specific problems from the real world”, elaborates the DTU Mathematics associate professor Poul G. Hjorth.
Four companies – four tasks
This year Siemens asked for assistance how to wind up cables on a pipe to obtain a specific magnetic field inside the pipe. Another company, Flonidan A/S, wanted assistance to an advanced signal analysis of how long time it takes for an audio signal to move between two points inside a gas pipe.
The road analysis company Greenwood Engineering asked for assistance to combine GPS data with data from an accelerometer in the best possible way. The company will use this information to reconstruct exactly where they have been when collecting data from the roads around Denmark.
The last company was GoDevelopment, a completely new start-up company investigating whether you may store surplus renewable energy by pumping water into gigantic plastic bags below ground. ”An exciting and considerable challenge as they would like assistance to many of the fundamental design questions”, explains Poul G. Hjorth.