With the rapid development of computer technology, mathematics is not only playing an increasingly important role in engineering technology and natural science, but penetrating economy, management, finance, biology, medicine, environment, population, transportation, and other areas in an unprecedented width and depth, thus mathematical modeling has become an important part of modern high-tech.
Absorbed in Abstract Mathematical World
LIU Shenquan takes learning math as granted. He worked hard at an early age, particularly good at math. As an saying goes, "Learn math, physics, and chemistry well, and you have nothing to fear in the world", thus he chose math as his major in college and decided to take math as his lifelong career. During his school years, he found the food in the southern part of China was delicate and diversified, so an idea to study and work in south China crept into his mind.
In 1998, he came to South China University of Technology (SCUT), located in Guangdong Province, to further his researches, which bound him tightly to SCUT Mathematical Contest in Modeling(MCM).
It is said that math ranks 3rd
in the top 10 diffcult disciplines according to the number of specialized courses and weekly lessons.
However, LIU believes that math is not so difficult as most of the students think, especially for those whose major is math. "As long as you are willing to learn, nothing is difficult, " he adds, "Learning math, as well as other disciplines, breaking down resistance to them is the psychological basis. "
In the view of LIU Shenquan, math is a very practical discipline, whether using mathematical methods to solve practical problems in the field of science and technology, or combined with other disciplines to form interdisciplinary. With the aid of computer, math generates a huge competitive advantage. "The abstract theory in math used to be obscure, " He mentions that, "but now, with the help of computer, combined with mathematical model, a lot of difficult experiments can be carried out. What’s more, it can be economic. "
Application Brings Brilliant Achievements
In 2004, LIU Shenquan was appointed as head coach of SCUT mathematical modeling team. Mathematical modeling, he thinks, is an important way to achieve practical utility of math, and, in turn, various aspects of social needs and its internal dynamics will result in the development and perfection of mathematical modeling. In addition to teaching and research, he devotes himself to the mathematical modeling contest, and makes notable achievements.
The American College Students' Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM/ICM), known as the founder of Mathematical Modeling Contest, attracts thousands of teams from five continents participating in it. In 2001, SCUT team of MCM was formed by three students of School of Electronic and Information Engineering: LIU Weiyang, Mei Jianhan and Wang Weikai. They won the top award, Outstanding Winner (special grade prize) in the competition, an unprecedented honor ever bestowed in the history of SCUT as well as South China. Through mathematical model, they predict that by 2050, traditional cars will drop to 490 million, while the number of electric vehicles will reach 1.95 billion, accounting for over 80% of the total.
Several months before the contest, LIU Shenquan, leading the mathematical modeling coach team, set about to select competitors to form a team and make other preparations. It was an extremely hot summer in Guangzhou. During the 20-day training, under the coaches’ supervision, the competitors wrote programs, typed codes, found indexes and drew graphics. In just 4 days, it was supposed to accomplish modeling, solving problems, examining and paper-writing and to perfect the originality of the solution, the reasonableness of the results and cooperation and communication of the team.
The splendid achievements cannot be separated from the support on the part of SCUT and diligence on the part of the students and teachers. To be well-prepared for the contest, the team led by LIU has developed a set of mechanism, including giving lectures, setting up courses, training etc. In the process of mathematical modeling, they need a variety of background knowledge of other discipline, or even the knowledge of uncharted waters, such as the problem of "reef pollution". In such case, LIU will acquaint himself in advance with the related background knowledge before training students.
Representing one of the "985 program" universities to compete in the contest, LIU admits the "pressure". He said with a smile, "participating in this contest on behalf of SCUT, we should try our best to get best results.” Therefore, when training students, he always cites the preceding scores to motivate them to strive for a new "breakthrough".
Time and again, they won provincial and national prizes, but there is still a long way to go. LIU says, "We have won the highest prize of ICM. If we can obtain MCM’s special grade prize, we can have a grand slam. " He hopes that college students should take part in mathematical contests in modeling, which will help develop them into all-round students.
Having devoted to the mathematical world more than 30 years, LIU not only made deep researches in his favorite field, but also inspired group after group of students to develop their interest in mathematics and mathematical modeling. Now his enthusiasm for math strong as before, he still prefers to use applied mathematics to solve various kinds of new problems, such as neural dynamics, mental calculation, and so on. When it comes to talent training, LIU says, "The journey of research is tortuous, many people have turned to “gold-digging", but I still advise that students should be goal-oriented and persistent in scaling the height of that field at home and abroad."
Edited by HU Nanping and XIE Ruizhen
From SCUT News Network