Department History

The Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics traces its origins to the fall of 1946, when an undergraduate curriculum in industrial engineering was first introduced in response to requests from returning military veterans.

In 1947, the Department of Mechanical Engineering appointed Robert H. Roy ’28 as an associate professor and tasked him with developing a program in industrial engineering.

With the demand for engineering and business graduates remaining high, the 1950s witnessed rapid growth in the department. By the end of the decade, the number of faculty had increased to seven, with their specialties extending from industrial organization and management to statistics and accounting.

In 1964, the department was renamed as the Department of Operations Research and Industrial Engineering, reflecting the increasing importance of operations research in the academic program, and two years later it became part of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. During the 1960s, the department continued to grow steadily under the leadership of Roy, who served as chair until 1972.

 

timeline

 

In the 1970s, the department expanded dramatically, becoming one of the largest in the University, with 19 faculty members by the decade’s end. The department was renamed the Department of Mathematical Sciences in 1973, emphasizing the use of mathematical methods to solve the problems raised across science, engineering, medicine, and public policy.

The department changed its name to Applied Mathematics and Statistics in 2004, reflecting its focus on the application of mathematics to other disciplines. A master’s program in Financial Mathematics was added in 2008 to prepare students to understand and navigate today’s rapidly evolving, world-wide economic and financial landscape. Maintaining its concentration on modern applied mathematics to the present day, the department has developed major training and research areas in probability and statistics, operations research and optimization, discrete mathematics, financial mathematics, and applied analysis and computational mathematics, leading to advances in medical imaging, social network analysis, bioinformatics, and turbulence.

Since Roger Horn left the chairmanship of the Department in 1979, there have been six successors: William H. Huggins, 1979-1980; Robert J. Serfling, 1981-1984 and 1986-1988; Alan F. Karr, 1985; John C. Wierman, 1988-2000; Edward R. Scheinerman, 2000-2004; Daniel Q. Naiman, 2004-2014; and Laurent Younes, 2014-present.

 

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