Update on the analysis of facebook data about the EU Referendum.

The EU referendum about whether the UK should stay in or leave the EU is this coming Thursday. The polls are close and everyone is trying to guess what the decision of the electorate will be. A team of researchers in the Centre for Mathematical Sciences at Plymouth University has updated their analysis of facebook data about the  EU Referendum.

Julian StanderLuciana Dalla Valle and John Eales are members of the Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Plymouth University, where Andrea Baldino worked in 2015 supported by the Erasmus+Traineeships Programme. Julian Stander is associate professor (reader) in mathematics and statistics, Luciana Dalla Valle is lecturer in statistics and John Eales is associate head for teaching and learning in the School of Computing, Electronics and Mathematics. Mario Cortina Borja is chairman of the Significance editorial board, and professor of biostatistics in the Population, Policy and Practice Programme, UCL Institute of Child Health.



Dr Colin Christopher elected to University Senate

Plymouth University has recently reviewed its governance and decided
to enhance the role of the ‘academic voice.’ As part of this process a
body called the Academic Board was updated to form a Senate for the
University. Elections were recently held and we are pleased to announce
that Dr Colin Christopher , from the Centre of Mathematical Sciences,
was elected to serve in the newly formed Senate to represent the
Faculty of Science and Engineering.


Summer project on partial differential equations

Daniel Robertz has been awarded an LMS Undergraduate Research Bursary to fund an eight week long research project pursued by Edward Kitcher (a student who has just completed his second year) over the summer. Edward will study symmetries of differential equations and will perform computational experiments using the computer algebra system Maple to find exact solutions of certain systems of partial differential equations.

Extracting insights about the EU referendum from Facebook using R.

A referendum will be held on 23 June to decide whether
the  United Kingdom should remain a member of the European
Union or whether the UK should leave the EU.  This decision will have important implications for the future of the UK, so there is a lot of interest in the state of public opinion about the matter.

Julian Stander, Luciana Dalla Valle, and John Eales, from CMS, and their
collaborators, have published an article about their analysis
of the Facebook pages of the various sides in the debate.

You can follow their article on Facebook or Twitter.

New posters about our research in 3-5 Kirby place

If you walk into a typical mathematics or physics department you typically see on the walls many posters explaining a research topic, or an advert for a conference in some exotic location.

There are are some very professional looking posters on the walls of 3-5 Kirby place, where some of the people in the Mathematical Sciences Centre have their offices. However, many of the posters are old, and were produced by people, who have long left the University.

Spring is here, so it is time for a poster clean up! So there has been an effort, coordinated by Stephen Huggett, to update the posters in our building. The new posters are currently being printed. So soon a visitor to our building will get an up to date overview of our current research activities.

For our virtual visitors, they can look at the example below.


Presentation day for Operational Research and Monte Carlo Methods module.

Typically when business leaders are asked what skills that they would like students to have, they always mention, in addition to good mathematical skills, the ability to work in teams and to communicate well.

In the second year module: Operational Research and Monte Carlo Methods,  part of the assessment involves a group project on using a package called SIMUL8. The aim of the project was to study passengers trying to buy tickets at a railway station. There were various options, such as the number of cashiers and tickets machines, and the students were asked to investigate ways to minimize the queuing time to buy a ticket. The students worked together in groups of roughly 4.

Today all the different groups made short 15 minute presentations (including 5 minutes of questions) as part of the assessment for this part of the coursework.

The module lead for this course is Dr. Malgorzata Wojtys from the Center of Mathematical Sciences at Plymouth.