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Forty years of Engineering Science celebrated

Media Release
26 August 2008

Forty years of Engineering Science celebrated

A commemorative book celebrating forty years since the first graduates of Engineering Science were capped at The University of Auckland has been released.

The commemorative book, titled TAM to DES (Theoretical Applied Mathematics to Department of Engineering Science) and Beyond was written by Mervyn Rosser, who founded the Department in the 1960s with colleague Cecil Segedin (deceased). The book will be launched at a celebration dinner for alumni on Saturday, August 30.

Head of Department Professor Andrew Pullan says Engineering Science, which started as a mathematics arm of engineering, has quietly grown into one of the highest performing research departments in New Zealand.

“Engineering Science is about harnessing the power of mathematics and computers and combining it with human intelligence to solve every day problems. Our 40th anniversary is an opportunity to recognise the contribution that Engineering Science has made to high-technology aspects of New Zealand engineering,” Professor Pullan says.

The department’s operations research expertise is widely applied in industry. Its optimisation models are used for scheduling Air New Zealand crews, optimising electricity generation, and improving ambulance response times. The department’s simulation software has also been used in America’s Cup yacht design.

Its graduates include Peter Hunter, who pioneered computer modelling of the human heart, and now leads Auckland’s Bioengineering Institute; and the founders of several important technology companies, including Orion Health and Optima Corporation. Mike Chunn, the bass player in Split Enz, is also an Engineering Science graduate.

“Although much of our growth can be attributed to improvements in computing, the world is experiencing an increasing appetite for clever mathematics applied to engineering problems, and this is driving the need for graduates who have the ability and training to contribute to this growth,” Professor Pullan says.


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