The Study Group Mathematics with Industry (SWI) is a combined industrial–academic workshop where mathematics is used to tackle problems presented by companies and other organisations outside academia. Roughly between fifty and eighty mathematicians, both from industry and academia, gather during the week to collaborate intensively on industrial problems.
The format follows the original Oxford model, dating back to 1968, which is used worldwide in similar study groups. Six companies present each present their problem on Monday. The participants devote the entire week to solving these problems in smaller groups. During the week groups maintain contact with the problem owner to ensure that their efforts stay targeted at the problems posed by the companies. All groups present their work on Friday morning. Reporting after the week is done through popular proceedings (written by a professional technical writer and targeted at a general audience) as well as scientific proceedings (written by the participating mathematicians and targeted at a technical audience).
Once a problem has been agreed, problem presenters will need to prepare a written problem description to go on this website and in the booklet issued to participants. The description is usually one or two sides of A4, but can be longer if required. On the first day of the workshop, the problem presenter will give a presentation on their problem, usually lasting around 30 minutes, including time for questions from the audience.
A crucial aspect of the Study Groups is the interaction between the mathematical modellers and the problem presenters.
The modellers will largely be coming at the problems cold, and so are likely to have lots of questions to ask the presenters as they try to understand what is important to consider and what is not. It is therefore important that the problem presenters are in attendance for most of the meeting. In particular, the presenters must be present for the first day, in order to present the problem and answer any immediate questions when the groups first meet.
In summary, companies may benefit from participating in a study group because it
- almost always lead to new insights for the company or confirmation of company insights by experts
- allows companies to become acquainted with students and evaluate them for future employment.
The formula of setting aside a week for intensive study of a few real world problems originates in Oxford in 1968 and has since spread around the world. Further information on this broader perspective may be found on the International Study Groups website Mathematics in Industry.
Instances of the SWI have been held almost annually in the Netherlands since 1998:
SWI 1998 in Leiden , SWI 1999 in Eindhoven , SWI 2000 in Twente, SWI 2002 in Amsterdam , SWI 2003 in Leiden, SWI 2004 in Delft, SWI 2006 in Eindhoven, SWI 2007 in Utrecht , SWI 2008 in Twente, SWI 2009 in Wageningen, SWI 2010 in Amsterdam , SWI 2011 in Amsterdam, SWI 2012 in Eindhoven, SWI 2013 in Leiden, SWI 2014 in Delft, SWI 2015 in Utrecht, SWI 2016 in Nijmegen, SWI 2017 in Amsterdam, SWI 2018 in Eindhoven, SWI 2019 in Wageningen, SWI 2020 in Tilburg, SWI 2021 online, SWI 2022 in Twente .
SWI 2023 will be held at Groningen University. More information and a full programme will be made available through https://www.swi-wiskunde.nl/swi2023/
SWI is sponsored by