Continuing India’s Contribution to the Field of Mathematics

October 30, 2010
School of Business, Coimbatore

Sudhakar Menon AchathIndia has a long history of contribution to the field of mathematics. It is now generally accepted that many mathematical concepts like zero and Pi, originated in India. In Kerala, Madhava of Sangamagrama, founded the Kerala School of Astronomy and Mathematics in the 14th century, contributing many discoveries in algebra, trigonometry and calculus.

It is said that this work eventually led to the development of mathematical analysis, a branch of pure mathematics. From mathematical analysis, developed several sub-branches, such as Stochastic Programming.

“Stochastic Programming or SP, models problems of optimal choice under constraint where uncertainty could be involved in both choice and constraint,” explained Prof. Sudhakar Achath, Professor at the Amrita School of Business in Coimbatore. “Most real-world problems and decisions almost always have elements of risk and uncertainty, and probability theory helps us to parameterize that in our models.”

It is true that not all randomness one observes in nature can be correctly modeled or even understood. Yet, SP sees diverse applications in finance, transportation, supply chain and logistics network optimization, behavioral ecology, modeling of energy demand and supply and power system grids.

Recently, Prof. Achath traveled to Nova Scotia in Canada to attend the 12th International Conference on Stochastic Programming at Dalhousie University, Halifax.

He presented two papers at the conference that he co-authored with Shankar Jayaraman from Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., Bangalore.

B-SchoolThe papers titled Stochastic Programming for Asset and Liability Management Using Iterative Aggregation-Disaggregation and Open Source Software for Stochastic Programming: Using Python 3.0 and Sage 4.2.2., introduced new explorations in SP.

“The aim of our paper on stochastic programming for asset and liability management was to create a model for wealth management systems as well as public distribution systems,” he shared.

“Our second paper on open source software for stochastic programming emphasized that free open source support and algebraic modeling support for SP had not been significantly explored,” further elaborated Prof. Achath.

In addition to presenting these papers, Prof. Achath also chaired a technical session on Financial Optimization at the conference.

This international conference was organized by the Stochastic Programming Community, a global network of researchers committed to the development of models, methods and theory for decisions regarding uncertainty. The community organizes a major conference once every three years to review the leading research in stochastic programming.

Amrita is proud to have participated. Prof. Achath’s work is yet another example of India’s rich contribution to the field of mathematics that continues to this day.

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