fredag 17 februari 2012

Numerical Analysis vs Mathematics at KTH

The President of KTH Peter Gudmundson decided on Feb 15 to move Numerical Analysis NA from computer science to mathematics with motivation:
  • far-reaching cooperation between NA and math
  • joint Ph D program in applied math
  • joint new Bachelors program in Simulation Technology
and objective:
  • integration of NA and math in basic engineering education.
The President starts from a fiction (cooperation) and ends with a fiction (integration of NA as computational math with math as traditional analytical calculus and linear algebra).

The intention of the President is admirable but the goal will be missed, in the same way it was missed at Chalmers. The net result of the integration will be:
  • math courses will remain the same as before integration
  • NA courses will simply disappear, because they have already collapsed to trivialities.
This will be the end of NA at KTH following the same fate as NA at Chalmers.

A successful integration requires non-trivial modern uptodate NA. This is offered by BodyandSoul Mathematical Simulation Technology MST.

But the President killed MST last fall in a media smear campaign. Integration of MST with math would transform math substantially, and this is why the math department opposes MST. The math dept is only capable of delivering the same calculus as always, and views MST with fear, for good reasons.

The current plan for the new Bachelors program in Simulation Technology is apparently standard calculus + standard trivial NA. It is not correct vs the students to invite to a new modern program and then simply serve old dishes which do not taste. The students will not be happy when understanding and the crucial recruitment will suffer. In fact, the program is not sold at all, as if the expectation is to get 0 applicants, in which case nothing will have to be delivered and everybody will be happy, at KTH.

Is the President interested in now seeing realities rather than fiction?

I ask him to comment this post, if he has anything to say, and will report, if there is anything to report on.

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