Digital Economy USRG

Southampton Mathematics wins almost £1m in grants for underpinning research in Digital Economy and Energy

October 11, 2010
by Graeme Earl

Two teams led by mathematicians from Southampton’s School of Mathematics have been successful in the recent EPSRC call ‘Mathematics underpinning digital economy and energy’ with grant awards close to £1m.

Ranking first in the Mathematics and Digital Economy section, the project ‘Coarse geometry and cohomology of large data sets’ received just under £700,000 and Professor Jacek Brodzki from the School is the Principal Investigator. His team consists of members of the School of Mathematics (Joerg Fliege, Jon Forster, Ben Macarthur), the School of Electronics and Computer Science (Les Carr and Nigel Shadbolt) and Durham’s Energy Institute (Janusz Bialek).

New tools for data visualisation and analysis

Starting in April 2011, this research will study geometric and analytic structure of large data sets, which are ubiquitous in digital economy, and will develop new mathematical tools for efficient data visualisation and analysis. Among the main motivations and potential applications of this research are IBM’s Smarter Planet initiative, web science and the UK Government’s Open Data drive, giving the team the opportunity to influence these exciting developments. The project will last 3.5 years.

A further award of over £239,000 will fund 2.5 years of research from August 2011 into ‘Mathematical analysis of nanostructured electrochemical systems for lithium batteries and solar cells’ and is a joint research venture between Oxford University (who have received a separate grant) and the University of Southampton involving the companies Nexeon Ltd of Abingdon, and TIAX of Massachusetts.

Design of organic solar cells

The team includes Professor Colin Please from the School of Mathematics, working with Professor John Owen (School of Chemistry) and Dr Giles Richardson (School of Maths). It will develop novel mathematical model to guide development of enhanced charging and discharging rates of lithium batteries, and design issues in the manufacture and electrical efficiency of novel organic solar cells.

The research will develop mathematical ideas common to the two areas and is motivated by the need for efficient energy storage such as for vehicles and for creating inexpensive solar panels. The work draws on interaction previously funded by the Southampton based SYMBIOSIS grant. Both projects arise from the Southampton Initiative in Mathematical Modelling (SIMM) which was launched in January 2010 to build on the work carried out within the School and to foster new collaborations across the University.

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