MathIndustry 2021

August 3-27, 2021

Together with our partners, PIMS is excited to offer a 4-week virtual MathIndustry workshop for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the mathematical and statistical sciences to gain the industry skills needed for success in their careers.

This workshop has two main objectives:

  1. To build technical skills in programming and computational workflows
  2. To build business skills for effective teamwork and technical report writing

Attendees will gain hands-on experience as part of a team working on a real-world problem posed by an industry partner. Potential industry partners can also contact us to learn more or propose projects.

Applications will close on July 16 at 5 pm Pacific. Participants will be notified of their acceptance to the program no later than July 20, 2021, and will be expected to accept their registration immediately (no later than July 26, 2021).


August 3 to August 27, 2021 (gala August 26)

Meet the Teams


Kristine Bauer

Effective Teams Instructor


Ian Allison

Jupyter Instructor


Jolen Galaugher

How to pitch a Solution Instructor


Laura Gutierrez Funderburk

Ethics in AI Instructor


Lorena Solis

Ethics, Diversity and Inclusion Instructor


Marie-Helene Burle

Git and GitHub instructor


Rob Baecker

Entrepreneurship Instructor


Samantha Jones

Ethics Diversity and Inclusion Instructor


Tom O'Neill

Effective Teams Instructor

MathIndustry Editions

Explore the projects and reports from previous editions of MathIndustry


MathIndustry 2021

We are currently accepting proposals for new projects. Please contact us for more information.

MathIndustry 2020

Projects, reports, team members and other details are available on the MathIndustry 2020 page. .

  • Aerium Analytics Inc.
  • ATCO Ltd.
  • BC Financial Services Authority
  • Cenovus Energy Inc.
  • The Divi Project
  • Environmental Instruments Canada Inc.
  • Fotech Solutions
  • IOTO International Inc.
  • McMillan-McGee Corporation
  • Ovintiv Inc.


Training Bootcamps

Certified training programs

Tech Skills Training

Agile software development, virtual collaboration, open source toolchains

Business Skills Training

communication skills, project management, effective teams & ethics



Equity Diversity and Inclusion

This workshop is intended to help students learn how to define equity, diversity and inclusion, engage in meaningful dialogs about challenges in these areas and explore solutions for creating more diverse and inclusive spaces.

Essentials of Productive Teams

This course will be taught in two sections and will explore team dynamics and effective team behaviour

Ethics for Data Scientists

Participants will explore some of the pitfalls of artificial intelligence when it is used to make decisisons which will impacting people and also how to design ethical models.

Git and GitHub

Participants will receive instruction on using git and GitHub for version control software development and collaboration.

Skills of Communication

Participants will examine tools and techniques to improve their communication skills at work and in life in general

Startups and Entrepreneurship

Participants will receive basic instruction on principles for defining, launching, structuring, and building a promising technical venture, and experience in doing a few of the initial steps

Using Jupyter and Python for Data Analysis

Participants will use python and jupyter to explore real world datasets and extract insights from them.



CSTS Healthcare

Cancer is a disease that affects 14M people each year. While we have had some success with specific cancers, many patients are put on a roller coaster of emotion through cycles of remission and relapse. There is abundant scientific evidence which tells us cancer is driven by multiple genes working in concert. CSTS Healthcare has developed a computational system which identifies personalized cancer therapy for every cancer patient given their unique set of DNA and RNA. In practice, the therapy a patient actually receives may not exactly match what our system has identified as the best therapy. In this project we will develop therapy similarity measures to allow us to compare our therapies with those actually given by to a patient by their oncologists.

IOTO International

Performance metrics in sports have seen remarkable growth and development. What if we turned some of these mathematical tools on political performance? Building on last year’s M2PI project, the goal of this year’s project is to analyze data related to the activities of legislators in Canada and the USA with a view to developing engineered features which might reflect political performance. These engineered features should be granular enough to significantly inflect during the course of a parliamentary or legislative session, providing quantitative and comparative performance insight.

Serious Labs

Realtime simulators in virtual reality are a leading-edge technology to provide standardized training and evaluation that contribute to heavy-equipment operator safety. They aim to reduce accidents due to operator inexperience by training an operator in scenarios before they are expected to perform these same tasks in reality. To satisfy the high frame-rate requirements of real-time simulation, algorithms to solve these models must be extremely efficient and yield predictable and reproducible results.

The simulation of heavy equipment involves simulating both physical bodies in motion and hydraulic pressures. The goal of this project is to develop an approach to the simulation of fluid pressure volumes that can be interfaced with a position-based dynamics (PBD) simulation, improving performance and providing a more realistic experience.


Among the renewable and clean energy technologies, wind energy is one of the most efficient, costing 1–2 cents per kilowatt-hour after the production tax credit by governments. While natural wind speeds over various continents in the world span from 0 to 20 m/s, Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (VAWT) placed on highway medians make it possible to utilize consistently higher wind speeds due to vehicle motion. Additionally, the energy generated by these wind turbines is reported to increase multi-fold due to the shearing winds generated on both sides of the medians by the on-going traffic. In this project, we will seek to optimize the positioning of turbines to achieve optimal results using criteria determined to be important, such as output power, ease of installation/repair, proximity to consumers, additive effects from positioning etc. We will use real-life traffic, geographical and weather data, and subsequently investigate economic feasibility of implementation of this technology.

City of Winnipeg - Insect Control Branch

The City of Winnipeg’s Insect Control Branch (ICB) of the Public Works Department provides services to Winnipeg residents to control insects, including mosquitoes. The mosquito control program is based on an environmentally mindful insect control strategy, and includes: (1) A larviciding program that is 100% biological and uses four larviciding helicopters, (2) Monitoring and treating over 31,500 hectares of water area on an ongoing basis based on weather conditions, and (3) Monitoring for adult nuisance mosquitoes in New Jersey Light Traps beginning early May.

In this project, we will examine some of the key challenges facing the ICB such as (1) Predictive modelling of adult mosquito populations subject to changes in rainfall/soil moisture content and wind speed (2) Preditictive modelling of larval development subject to changes in spring and summer temperatures.

Mcmillan Mcgee

McMillan-McGee have developed induction heating technology for in-situ soil remediation. As such, we have developed heater casings, work coils, and inverters which generate high frequency alternating current. We have also developed a great amount of the analytical work for engineering this equipment.

An important aspect of our inverter design (or for that matter any high frequency inverter in general) is to have a good understanding of the electrical properties (resistance and inductive reactance) of the DC bus bar that supplies current to the high speed switching devices (IGBTs and SiC Mosfets). Knowing this would allow us to design a suitable bus bar system that can absorb energy caused by switching transients from these semiconductor devices as a result of commuting current through the work coil. The problems in this project centre on solving certain boundary value problems involving Maxwell’s equations and linking these to the laws of thermodynamics.

NRCAN - Canadian Forest Services 1

Insect dispersal is often divided into two classes: local and long distance. Local dispersal is the most common dispersal mode and because many individuals disperse this way, it is well described by dispersal kernels. Long distance dispersal is more stochastic and difficult to model using dispersal kernels because only a small proportion of insects are thought to disperse long distances. For the mountain pine beetle for example, most individuals disperse between five and fifty meters from where they were born but about 0.2 percent of individuals end up above tree canopies where they can be pulled upwards by updrafts and then transported laterally by higher wind speeds in the lower atmosphere.

Long-distance dispersal is likely the dominant determinant of the speed of mountain pine beetle invasions, but estimation of invasion speeds using standard mathematical approaches are impeded by the strong Allee effect. In this project, we will explore theoretical dispersion distributions and models to better estimate mountain pine beetle invasion speed.

NRCAN - Canadian Forest Services 2

Existing techniques for insect mark and recapture studies can result in unnatural dispersal patterns. We have developed a new technique for marking insects as the emerge from which offers a much more natural dispersal pattern.

The technique involves coating trees with a special paper which glows under ultra-violet light. The insects are marked with paper dust as they chew through the paper to emerge. Following recapture, they can be examined for traces of the paper under ultra-violet light.

In this project we will work with images of insects marked using this technique and control images of unmarked insects. The problem is to conduct batch analysis of the images and classify them as marked and unmarked to validate the new technique.


Producing food and other goods sustainability is the greatest challenge of our generation. To produce food sustainably there are many factors to consider including the types of crops, the inputs, organic vs. non-organic, use of fertilizer, food waste, transportation to market and other factors. The goal of this project is to develop a model which can take into account factors end-to-end in the food supply chain to inform decisions on methods (organic, traditional, vertical, etc.) and sustainability indicators (green house gases, etc.).

Aerium Analytics

Roads are a vital component of today’s society. They not only connect us to different cities, towns, provinces, and countries, but they also provide of a means of transporting goods and services. Typically, roads are constructed using materials such as concrete, or asphalt. Between the cold winter temperatures and hot summer temperatures, as well as settling earth, cracks and potholes are bound to occur on roads.

Alberta spent over 1.6 billion dollars in transportation related needs in 2020-21. Over 26% of this money went towards road construction and maintenance related expenditures. Roads undergo regular inspection; a detailed Surface Condition Rating occurs every two years in Alberta. This helps determine the priority in which maintenance should occur on roads in the province. One method of conducting these inspections could be done via aerial imagery. While an individual could go through these images to inspect the roads for cracks and potholes, is there a way that machine learning and computer vision could not only detect cracks but also classify their severity?

Cenovus Energy

This project concerns the transportation of heavy oil via pipeline, and the impact of congestion in transportation on pricing. Using stochastic transport optimization can we model and answer the following questions: When there are documented disruptions in the transport system, can we predict how large the congestion surcharge was and how prices responded to the disruption? Can we predict the occurrence of congestion by perturbing input factors in the system? How do shape and connections in the transport network contribute to the propensity for frequency of the congestion and magnitude of congestion surcharge?

ATCO - Optimized Scheduling

Due to the outbreak of Covid-19 around the world, and government policies implemented as a response to the outbreak, many corporations have chosen to let their employees work from home to prevent the spread of the disease. In order to safely re-open the economy, one of the recommendations from health authorities is to allow only a limited percentage of workers in the workplace at any specific time. Given these constraints, it is useful for companies to arrange flexible work schedule so the employees go to offices during reasonable working hours, and at the same time reduce their commute time to improve their productivity. In this problem, you will help a model business to design and optimize their employees’ working-at-office schedule using a combination of criteria which you deem to be important, and real-life data such as traffic, limitation on work schedule hours, commuting time and others.

Divi Project

The main limitation of blockchains is storage requirements, which would be alleviated if one could reversibly compress the data in a blockchain or in its underlying transaction graph. Determine to what extent a transaction graph can be compressed (for later decompression) or what obstructions exist to its compression. What compression ratio can you achieve for an ordered sequence of cryptographic hashes? Pure Mathematics skills and experience with mathematical proof-writing are essential skills for this project. Knowledge of undergraduate-level cryptography or Python programming skills would be assets, but are not required.

BC Financial Services Authority

The goal of this project is to develop a housing price estimate/forecast using publicly available data to inform evidence-based decision making for the benefit of government regulators, industry practitioners, and concerned citizens. Students will be expected to use Python 3.X for data acquisition, cleaning, organization, and manipulation. Working experience with libraries such as Pandas may be useful. Previous experience with other programming languages such as Matlab or R is useful but not required.

Environmental Instruments Canada

Environmental Instruments Canada (EIC) produces a Radon Sniffer which is used to find radon entry points. One method of determining the ratio of Radon 222 to Radon 220 (thoron) in the air is by implementing sampling and counting sequences and observing the change in the alpha count over time. The goal of this project is to develop an optimized sampling and counting sequence that results in the best statistical accuracy. Understanding radioactive decay and the coupled differential equations describing a decay series would be useful. A team with statistical expertise would be essential. Some familiarity with spreadsheets such as Excel would be helpful.

Fotech Solutions

Consider a distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) system monitoring a fibre optic cable deployed along an active roadway. The goal of this project is to use data collected from the DAS system to develop a detection and tracking method capable of identifying individual vehicles and reporting their position and velocity as they move along the road/fibre. Once the position and velocity are determined, various metrics for traffic flow could be determined, allowing for prediction and optimization of traffic congestion.

Ioto International

Performance metrics in sports have seen remarkable growth and development. What if we turned some of these mathematical tools on political performance? The goal of this project is to analyze data which are related to the progression of a bill into law in the US. A background in statistics or graph theory would be helpful. Some background in computer programming or data science may be helpful, but not necessary.

Mcmillan Mcgee

The goal of this project is to develop a reasonably accurate and affordable design tool to model the performance of McMillan-McGee’s patented induction heaters, which are used for thermal conductive remediation of contaminated soil. A good design tool would be useful to assess the feasibility and cost of using different heater lengths, diameters, and materials. Working knowledge of Maxwell’s equations, vector analysis, boundary value problems, Green’s functions, complex variables, contour integration, residues, integral transformations and differential equations would be essential background for this project.


In March 2020, the WTI futures contract settled below zero for the first time in the contract’s history. Many market participants apply the Black 76 model or a variation of this model to calculate the value of the options on this futures contract. However, Black 76 requires positive underlying market prices. The goal of this project is to identify alternative models which can accept negative underlying pricing, and assess the suitability of the alternatives. People interested in quantitative finance, commodity training and marketing, and bridging the gap between quantitative experts and non-experts would be excellent team members for this project.

Aerium Analytics

Standard procedure for building training sets for some machine learning models involves an individual going through hundreds of images and creating 2D binary matrices which reflects where the region of interest is in each image. Depending on the type of images, can we use RGB information or some other method to automate this process? The goal of this project is to develop a method which creates a mask of an image depicting where monochromatic objects occur in an image automatically and with limited user input.

The Opportunity

MathIndustry (Math to power industry) is a professional development school positioned to benefit Canadian industry because:

  1. Recent PhDs and Postdocs in the mathematical sciences are a national resource that is poised to be underutilized.
  2. Ideas from the mathematical sciences are vital to Canada’s industry sectors and are especially important during and after the pandemic.
  3. A cohort-based training and job placement program focused on key industry sectors will help advance Canada’s economy.

The drastic decrease in economic activity caused by the pandemic combined with cost explosions in other governmental programs will lead to significant cuts in higher education budgets. Reductions in the capacity of universities to hire new faculty and postdocs will essentially eliminate a career pathway for a generation of young researchers. This talent pool should be effectively redirected toward activities that drive Canada’s economic recovery.

The important role that mathematical scientists play in defining government policy responses to the pandemic is analogous to the role these experts should play across Canada’s industry sectors. Governmental decisions regarding when or how to optimally implement policies to flatten the curve rely upon predictive models, data analysis, and other mathematical insights. Effective business decision-making similarly requires expertise in modeling, computation, statistics, optimization (mathematical sciences). Studies by Deloitte have revealed the enormous impact the mathematical sciences have on the UK Economy and the Dutch Economy. Goals for the MathIndustry include economic stimulation during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, placement of recent mathematical science PhDs into jobs in western Canada, and an ongoing improvement to Canada’s Business Enterprise Research and Development capacity.

The Plan

The Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (PIMS) and partners are offering a virtual rapid response program to train and place young mathematical scientists into jobs in important industry sectors in western Canada (agrifood, energy, forestry, health care, mining). This program will start with a training bootcamp (software best practices, business, communications, project management), group collaborations with industry partners, and create a funnel leading to job placements in industry.