There are a number of benefits to the project sponsors.
Foremost is the result of the investigations
of the student team. While participating in a new approach to higher education
in applied mathematics, the sponsor may obtain the solutions to problems that
demand time or expertise not available from permanent staff. The Applied
Mathematics Laboratory has the considerable resources of mathematicians in a
wide variety of mathematics and statistics, both pure and applied. In addition,
university computing facilities are available for team use. The Albert S. Cook
Library provides access to technical journals and the most advanced knowledge in
mathematics and related fields. Professors in economics, business, computer and
information sciences, chemistry and physics are available as consultants to the
team. Sponsors also benefit by having contact with some of Towson
University's brightest students as potential future employees. Additionally,
there is significant public relations value in supporting higher education.
The Applied Mathematics Laboratory expects that the
solution to the problem and the investigation of the project is useful to the
sponsor. It should not be critical to the organization, but neither should it be
frivolous and unimportant. Further it is important to remember that
the purpose of the Applied Mathematics Laboratory is student education in
mathematics. Potential sponsors should keep the following in mind:
the exercise is to be an educational experience for the students;
the Applied Mathematics Laboratory is not a professional consulting firm;
while our best students are selected, they are undergraduates and carry a
full load of other courses while they are participating in the research project;
the mathematician approaches a problem by extracting the salient
features, abstracting, making assumptions, sometimes generalizing and extending
and may provide less of the exact, practical solution to the original problem,
and more of the innovative approach in viewpoint or in technique to a larger,
more general problem.
The University, through the Applied Mathematics
Laboratory, supplies an honest, intensive effort on the part of its best
mathematical talent to study and fully report on the sponsorís project.
However, the Applied Mathematics Laboratory does not contract to solve the
sponsorís problem, but to study it and to provide a professional report on the
intensive investigation which may, but need not, lead to a complete solution.
Selection of Projects
The Applied Mathematics Laboratory Committee is best able to judge whether project is suitable for acceptance. The Committee maintains a roster of faculty who are willing to participate in Applied Mathematics Laboratory work and requires of the faculty that they specifically list their expertise. Usually, the sponsor personnel will meet with several representatives of the Committee to determine the likely approach to the problem. Subsequently, faculty most familiar with the subject at hand will meet again to redefine and sharpen the project specifics. At this time, if the decision is made to proceed, a preliminary proposal will be drafted by the likely faculty directors in consultation with the AML Committee. This is presented by the directors to liaison personnel and further refined, if necessary. This proposal is then presented to the Applied Mathematics Laboratory Committee for its final acceptance or rejection. The committee will use the following criteria in coming to its decision.
Faculty who are interested and skilled in the necessary area must be available.
Students who have the interest and the skills to join a team working on the proposed project must be available.
The project, or a self-contained part of the project, can be handled within the time constraints of the academic year (or term).
The solution to or the investigation of the proposed problem is both non-trivial and important to the sponsor.
The sponsor can commit the services of liaison personnel for about one hour a week (on the average) to the project.
The data are available or can be obtained by the team without having to spend a large part of the year in data collection.
The project is not defined solely as the provision of a product, such as a program or a system.
The project must require substantial use of the mathematical sciences at the advanced undergraduate level.
Since there is a fixed price for each project, the Committee must estimate whether the project would be too expensive, thereby exceeding the predetermined budget.
Projects which satisfy all the criteria except (1) or (2) may be filed for future use with the permission of the proposed sponsor. Naturally, should the project eventually appear feasible, the sponsor would be re-contacted and negotiations would be reopened.