Mathematicians are getting more and more involved in the development of industrial products, the design of production processes and the analysis of markets. A successful mathematician in industry is able to detect when and where mathematical expertise is needed, knows how to become and stay involved, possesses modeling skills to solve problems from practice and is open to the world of external mathematical knowledge.
The industrial mathematician cannot rely on mathematical expertise only. The ability to communicate with team members, to come to decisions, negotiate and persuade, is just as crucial. Moreover, for a mathematician in industry, mathematics is only one of the tools used to come to an appropriate answer. Mathematical contributions in industry are always made in the context of another field, and solutions to industrial problems must be given in that context. That is very much in contrast with the practice of a scientific mathematician.
Founded in 1987, the program Mathematics for Industry (MI) is one of the postmaster programs of the Stan Ackermans Institute (SAI) at the Technische Universiteit Eindhoven. The MI program qualifies its trainees for mathematics-oriented positions in industry. Students develop problem-solving abilities, with much attention in troaching trainee's personal care competences and writing reports.
Postmaster design programs were introduced mainly at the three Technological Universities in the Netherlands (Delft, Eindhoven and Twente) on the request of Dutch industry, as a result of the re-organization of the educational university programs in the 1980's. At TU/e ten designer programs were founded. MI was set up by the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science of TU/e. It is the only design program of a mathematical nature and operates on a broad scope involving a variety of mathematical disciplines. Throughout the years, it has gained a recognized position both in the Dutch academic and in the industrial scenery.