Industrial Mathematics Clinic: Tackling Collaboratively Emerging Problems in Industry


July 24–26, 2017
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455

  • Final program
    Links to video of many of the sessions are included. Several were dedicated to smart transportation and to sharing economy.
  • Participants
    More than 100 participants, with 30 staying for the three-week clinic.
  • Industry Projects
    Several of these are on topics related to either transportation or sharing economy.

The workshop portion of the Industrial Mathematics Clinic: Tackling Collaboratively Emerging Problems in Industry was held on the campus of the University of Minnesota from July 24 to July 26, 2017. The program was sponsored by the National Science Foundation through the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) at the University of Minnesota. This unique event brought together more than 100 representatives from industry and academia to collaborate on challenging problems in industry with a focus on analytics. The organizers identified four application areas of particular interest:

  • Sharing economy
  • Smart transportation and logistics
  • Retail analytics and revenue management
  • Healthcare operations and medical decision making

The workshop featured presentations by several companies proposing research projects. Several of the proposed projects are related to transportation and sharing economy, including projects by Hourcar, Transdev, CH Robinson, and Ebay, among others.

group photo

2017 Industrial Mathematics Workshop participants

The event leveraged the experience of several leading academics in fields related to analytics (e.g., operations research, statistics, computer science, and economics) who have been involved in extended collaboration with industry or who have started companies of their own.

The goal of the event was to build a bridge between industry, senior academics, and junior researchers to work together on important and technically challenging problems with potential high impact on practice.

The event consisted of a three-day workshop with plenary presentations from both distinguished academics and industry leaders and breakout sessions along the above four themes. During these breakout sessions, selected representatives from industry described important problems (technical, operational, or business model-related) their companies face and outlined opportunities for collaboration with academics.

The three-day workshop is being followed by a three-week clinic (an intensive collaborative residency program) involving faculty and researchers (selected nationally and internationally) who will coalesce around different problems sponsored by industry. Thirty of the workshop participants are staying on campus for three weeks to collaborate on these projects. During the clinic, participants are working in small groups while maintaining close contact with the corresponding industry sponsor. This work will continue after the clinic and over the course of several months with a follow-up workshop to be held the following summer where clinic participants and their industry counterparts will report on progress they have and share their experience.

Invited organizations participating in the workshop and clinic were asked to propose a project to engage clinic participants, ranging from the general (with broad relevance to the participant's industry) to the specific (of most relevance to the participant's organization), enhanced where possible by access to data, including big data, and personnel. Expected outcomes for these projects include models, algorithms, data analysis, and recommendations for process design and process improvement, business-model recommendations, and managerial insights, among many others. More importantly, it is hoped that these projects lead to long-term collaboration among the involved parties.

For additional information, please contact one of the program organizers: