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University of Ruhuna Reforms Math Syllabus Using Mathematica

October 16, 2000--With the help of a Wolfram Research academic grant, the University of Ruhuna has become the first university in Sri Lanka to implement a Mathematica license program and offer a degree program centered around the use of Mathematica.

The University of Ruhuna is located in Matara, Sri Lanka, near the country's southernmost point and is considered the top higher education institution in the southern region. A government-funded institution, the university offers fully subsidized undergraduate degrees to approximately five thousand students each year in the sciences, humanities and social sciences, agriculture, medicine, and engineering.

University of
Ruhuna

As part of an effort to learn new mathematical techniques that can be used to address regional industrial problems, the University of Ruhuna Senate recently approved plans to implement new undergraduate mathematics programs on campus. The first proposal of its kind from any higher education or research institution in the country, this initiative called for reform of both the general and the special science degree courses, the latter of which are offered to a select group of students based on their performance during the first two years as undergraduates.

"Mathematica will be used as the main tool to deal with most of the subject matter," says Dr. Janak R. Wedagedera, Head of the Department of Mathematics, of the general and special degree courses being offered. These courses will include Mathematical Analysis, Statistics, Algebra, Applied Analysis, Applied Algebra-Coding Theory, Industrial Mathematics, Information Theory, Neural Networks, and Mathematical Statistical Mechanics.

In the new mathematics syllabi a new degree program called Applicable Mathematics, which focuses on teaching students to solve industrial problems, was added. This new program is comprised of several Mathematica-based courses, including Foundation Math with Mathematica, Numerical Methods with Mathematica, Algebraic Methods with Mathematica, Statistical Methods, Graph Plotting, and Using Mathematica in Analysis.

According to Dr. Wedagedera, Mathematica was chosen as the main technical computing tool for this initiative because of the "previous experience of the staff members and its ease of use." In support of their efforts, Wolfram Research awarded the University of Ruhuna a grant for a 40-process Mathematica Network License for Linux to be used by students and faculty on campus.

For more information on making Mathematica available at your organization, send email to info@wolfram.com or visit http://www.wolfram.com/solutions/highered.