Industrial Mathematics Program

UIC Program in
Mathematical and Information
Sciences for Industry (MISI)

Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science

September, 1996


We propose establishing a new program in industrial mathematics called Mathematical and Information Sciences for Industry (MISI) within the Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science at UIC. The MISI Program will offer an integrated interdisciplinary curriculum combining mathematics, computer science, and communication skills. The MISI two year Master's Program will be based upon a core curriculum and train students by having them participate in projects with practical deliverables. The program will place special emphasis on applications in science, engineering, and business. Projects are selected by an industrial advisory board.

Rationale for the Program

The importance of computer science in science, engineering, and business requires no justification. On the other hand, the role of mathematics is arguably as important, but not nearly as well understood or appreciated. Broadly speaking as the complexity, difficulty, size, or structure of a problem grows, mathematical analysis assumes increasing importance. An interdisciplinary program combining mathematics and information sciences is an research area that is critical to science and technology and in which UIC can build a research program of national significance.

Our two year MISI Master's Program will be structured so that graduates will have developed three overlapping skill sets:

1) their knowledge of mathematics will allow them to contribute to the solutions of complex problems requiring sophisticated analysis;

2) their knowledge of computer science will allow them to develop algorithms and software so that the solutions can be realized in practice; and

3) their facility with oral and written communication skills and project management will allow them to insert new technology into an organization. For this reason, our program will be interdisciplinary and place equal emphasis on mathematics, information sciences, oral and written communication skills, and project management.

Our approach is to focus on core courses together with a project-oriented curriculum so that the students leaving the two year Master's Program will have worked as a team member on one or more projects with practical deliverables. We expect that the majority of Master's students will take jobs in industry and that this particular combination of disciplines combined with a practical project orientation will provide them with a significant advantage when looking for jobs. We use an industrial advisory board to ensure that the projects we select and the students we graduate are of interest to industry.


1) to provide a focus for the computational research activities within the department;

2) to provide students with a two year Master's Program which is matched to their needs and interests and consistent with the current and intermediate term job market and

3) to provide a solid foundation for MSCS students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in computational mathematics and information sciences and to offer these students a program which provides training for those interested in non-academic careers.

Nature of Program

The UIC Program in Mathematical and Information Sciences for Industry is unique in providing

1) a curriculum balancing discrete mathematics, continuous mathematics, and information sciences, and

2) projects which provide students an opportunity to build their skills in oral and written communication, and to work as a team on an advanced development and research project.

An Interdisciplinary Curriculum. To successfully model complex scientific, engineering and business problems, students need a knowledge not only of discrete mathematics, including algorithms, combinatorics, data structures, and programming, but also classical topics in applied mathematics, including differential equations, numerical analysis, mathematical modeling, and analysis. In other words, the curriculum must balance both the discrete mathematics that now forms the foundation of a computer science curriculum with the continuous mathematics that has been traditionally been used to model complex scientific, engineering, and business problems. In addition, a firm foundation in software science is required as the computer simulation emerges as a third paradigm in science, augmenting experimental observation and theoretical analysis. One of the basic strengths of the program is a curriculum which balances discrete mathematics, continuous mathematics, and software science.

Project Based Curriculum. Each student is required to complete a major project in his or her area of specialization and minor project. Projects provide an opportunity to work in depth on a problem of interest, to learn to work in a team, and to practice communication skills. Projects also provide some opportunity for students to see research, particularly in new and emerging fields and those fields with a strong computational component. Relevant projects are also important for students seeking employment in computing related fields, especially for those students coming out of a mathematics program.


A Master's degree requires the successful completion of 12 courses and a Major Project. The Major Project serves the same functionality as a Master's Thesis. The first year consists of required three core courses and three electives. During the second year, students takes three more elective courses, and three courses from within a Track. In addition, each student completes a major industrial mathematics project called the Major Project.

Requirements for the M.S. degree with an area concentration in industrial mathematics

The Department's requirements for the M.S. degree in Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science earned with an area concentration are:
  1. earn (a minimum of) 32 semester hours of graduate credit (excluding thesis research), 12 of which must be in the Department's 500-level courses. Of the remaining 20 hours, at least 12 must be in the Department's courses.
  2. earn the grade of A or B in each course used to fulfill the 12 hour 500-level requirement of 1).
  3. satisfy the core course requirement of the area of concentration. Those of Industrial Mathematics are as follows:
  4. write and successfully defend a major project.

Core course requirements may be waived for students who have completed equivalents elsewhere.

The Major Project

The major project must be successfully completed and defended, within one year after completion of 32 credit hours applicable to the degree. Before the major project defense can take place, all other degree requirements must be satisfied.

Programs of study leading to the M.S. degree earned with an area concentration in industrial mathematics are given below. We give a glimpse into the nature of the various area programs beyond the formal requirements listed above.

Industrial Mathematics

The M.S. degree with a concentration in Industrial Mathematics is designed for students who have a bachelor's degree in mathematics, computer science, engineering, or in the physical or biological sciences and have a good background in undergraduate mathematics. In addition to the Industrial Mathematics courses recommended for the program, students are encouraged to take related course in applied mathematics, control & information theory, pure mathematics, computer science, and probability & statistics.

Recommended Elective Courses

Students are encouraged to make their selection of six electives from the following courses in consultation with an industrial mathematics advisor.
  1. Discrete Mathematics (DM): This includes algorithms, data structures, complexity, combinatorics, graph theory, and related topics.
  2. Applied Mathematics and Computational Science (ACS): This includes differential equations, modeling, numerical computing, symbolic computing, optimization, and related topics.
  3. Software Science (SWS): This is a project based course covering program design, operating system concepts, data management, parallel computing, and introducing modern programming practices and software project management techniques. Tentative courses:
  4. Applied Probability and Statistics (APS): This includes probability distributions, random variables, sampling distributions, estimation, confidence limits, hypothesis testing, Markov chains, Poisson processes, linear regression, model building, analysis of variance, and quality control.
  5. Industrial Problem Workshop (IPW): This course builds skills communicating technical material, technical writing, oral presentations, working with team members, and related topics, with the focus on industrial problem analysis, modeling and solution. Tentative courses:


In addition, each student is required to complete a Major Project and three courses in one of the following tracks:

Semester Schedule

Fall 1996 Industrial Mathematics Track and Core Courses (Click Here)

Program Resources

Laboratory for Information and Control

Laboratory for Advanced Computing

National Scalable Cluster Project

MSCS Computing Resources

Related Courses in Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science

Related Courses in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Related Courses in Information and Decision Sciences

Nonacademic Careers for Graduate Students Committee
and Program Faculty

Robert Grossman (Chair)
Floyd Hanson
T. E. S. Raghavan
Charlie Tier
Stephen S. T. Yau

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