Organizing Committee
Bob Anderssen (CSIRO, Australia)
Philip Broadbridge (La Trobe University)
Yasuhide Fukumoto (IMI), Chair
Naoyuki Kamiyama (IMI)
Yoshihiro Mizoguchi (IMI)
Konrad Polthier (Berlin Freie University)
Osamu Saeki (IMI)
Scientific Board
Hirokazu Anai (FUJITSU LABS. LTD.)
Yasuaki Hiraoka (Tohoku University)
Robert McKibbin (Massey University)
Ryuei Nishii (IMI)
Kanzo Okada (IMI)
Wil Schilders (TU Eindhoven)
Tsuyoshi Takagi (IMI)

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The Role and Importance of Mathematics in Innovation Synopsis

Innovation: a new idea, device, process or method; the act of identifying new ideas, devices, processes or methods.

Innovation is in fact the cornerstone of creativity in all human endeavours. It involves “seeing” things from an entirely new, sometimes quite elementary, perspective. This a direct consequence of the fact that complex structure are a compendium of simpler components. Innovation in mathematics is the bread-and-butter of mathematical creativity. Historical examples of mathematical innovation, which have had profound and lasting impacts on the subsequent development of mathematics, include the logarithm, complex numbers, non-Euclidean geometry and calculus. Equally important is the innovation in the performance of mathematics which can be disarmingly simple but have profound consequences. Examples include adding zero, multiplication by one, seeing a new interpretation which simplifies matters, etc. In supporting innovation in science, technology and daily life, mathematics plays two different key roles.

(i) Needs-Based. Once a need or an opportunity for innovation has been identified, the subsequent experimentation and/or lateral thinking utilizes mathematics to assist with sorting through the possibilities and putting matters on a more rigorous foundation. An example is the development of Wifi.

(ii) Idea-Based. After an idea for an innovation has materialized, mathematical models of the possibility implementations play a key role. An example is the design of the next model of an automobile that exploits recent developments in materials and technology. Being able to innovate comes from experiencing and understanding how innovation occurs in mathematics, science and technology. A practical example of innovative-in-action is the problem-solving that occurs at MinISG and MforISG. In fact, industry study groups, by working on problems coming from industry, are directly involved with stimulating and performing innovation.