Over the years Modeling Weeks have become very popular among students; in this respect, we refer to the article in SIAM News (1998, November issue). In 1999, the postgraduate program Mathematics for Industry of the Technische Universiteit Eindhoven decided to organize a Modeling Week each year in order to train its own students in mathematical modeling and team work and in order to assess new candidates for the program. The Modeling Week March 2010 is the 16th in a row and will take place from Monday the 22nd of March until Monday the 29th of March 2010. The objectives of this modeling week are threefold. It is a workshop for the trainees of the program, training them in working in teams, communicating with a problem owner and carrying out the first steps towards mathematical modeling. It is also an assessment for new applicants to the program, so that they can show that they have the right attitude and mathematical qualities towards problem solving by mathematical means. Finally, it is a means to attract new candidates for the program.
During the Modeling Week students from all over Europe come together to work, in teams of four or five, on a project: modeling a real world problem. The project is brought in by a group of problem owners, who are representatives from a particular company. The projects are screened by the Modeling Week's organizing committee to ensure that the problems are appropriate for the various purposes aimed at. In particular, the problems must be amenable to being "modeled" using mathematical relations. In order to comply with the range of the students' mathematical background and field of specialization, it is necessary that the problems are of a varied nature having links with, for instance, continuum physics, control theory, signal processing, statistics, combinatorial optimization, etc. This modeling week, the projects are brought in by Dow Benelux B.V.
Dow represents a major European chemical complex located in Terneuzen, The Netherlands. In 2002, 2225 Dow employees and on average 1000 contractors resided at this 440 hectares site of 33 operating units producing approximately 800 products. The sales for 2001 were approximately 3.8 billion Euro, which resulted in a net income of about 26 million Euro. At the Terneuzen site more than 200 R&D experts support the range of products through process research and application development. This activity is made possible through a comprehensive infrastructure of resources, from analytical laboratories, physical testing, Computer Aided Design and a library to large-scale processing equipment and pilot plants.
Dow Benelux BV in Terneuzen is the second largest site outside the USA of The Dow Chemical Company and the largest production facility in Europe. With approximately a third of the 7900 Dow Europe employees, the site is responsible for nearly half of the total Dow Europe sales and represents about 15% of the sales of The Dow Chemical Company. The range of products manufactured includes polystyrene, ABS, SAN, polycarbonate and blends, polyolefins, polyurethanes, hydrocarbons (e.g. ethylene, propene, styrene etc.), ethylene amines, polyglycols and carpet latex.