Why does one car have more air resistance than another? How can the frequency of the electric power smart grid be kept constant under external disturbances?
Applied Mathematics is concerned with the development and application of mathematical tools for the analysis and design of dynamical systems that appear in modern technology. Mathematical modelling of the problems appearing there plays a basic role, followed by (numerical) analysis, (computer) simulation, and design of controllers to make the systems behave according to the desired specifications. Interaction with other disciplines and with specialists in the fields of application is essential.
During your 2-year Master's programme you will be embedded in
one of the Applied Mathematics research groups of your choice. Your
research project you will be supervised by staff members. The
research project can be taken in the form of an internship in the
research division of a company as well. The Master's degree
programme in Applied Mathematics offers two tracks.
This track is concerned with the analysis, design and optimization of complex dynamical systems. In particular it deals with the mathematical tools behind large scale networks, like electric power networks, water distribution networks, the internet, platoons of cars, formations of robots, and networks of systems in general. A central issue is the design and synthesis of controllers and protocols to make these networks behave in an optimal way. The specialization Systems and control deals with mathematical systems and control theory, and the emphasis of this specialization is on the mathematics behind various technological applications, rather than on the applications themselves.
The computational sciences have revolutionized the process of scientific discovery by adding a new mode to it, the virtual laboratory, often complementary to theoretical, observational, or experimental means. The mathematical contributions to this research methodology are twofold -- a computational model of the phenomenon of interest needs to be constructed, and secondly, algorithms for solving the governing equations are to be developed. The master track Computational Mathematics focuses on both mathematical aspects, computational modeling and numerical algorithms. The main application area is fluid dynamics. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) has a rich tradition in the Netherlands, which has led to a strong chain from basic research to application.
Studying ice caps
Leo wanted to do practical work after graduating in Applied Mathematics. He spent two years with Alten, a technical and engineering consultancy, where he developed software in Fortran and C++ for Shell. Last year he set a new course and he now works at Utrecht University where he is studying the changes in the Greenland and Antarctic ice caps using climate models.