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    Fixing the Coast Guard with math

    Fixing the Coast Guard with math

    Photo By Lauren Laughlin | First Class Cadets Tim Letarte, Olivia Calabro, Madeline Chafin, and Matt Statkus pose...... read more read more

    “Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas.” – Albert Einstein

    This April, the Coast Guard Academy hosted more than 30 of the service academies’ brightest cadets and midshipmen for the 2018 Service Academy Student Mathematics Conference.

    During the conference, students from the Coast Guard Academy, U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Air Force Academy present their senior research project to an audience of their peers.

    Not only do their projects fix real world problems using math, the students benefit from exposure to the research areas of other students, enriching their mathematical background.

    Research topics include environmental engineering, propositional word problems, organ transplant, cyber terrorism, hockey, physical fitness, the male rape myth, stock market, the brachistochrone problem, redesign of the force structure model, cutter operations, aircraft inventory costs and training assignments.

    Cadets in the Coast Guard Academy Department of Mathematics Operations Research and Computer Analysis program are given problems that once solved will have an impact on the Coast Guard.

    “For their capstone problems, the Coast Guard Academy cadets differ from the other service academy students because they are given Coast Guard centric problems from operational units,” said Cmdr. Ryan Hamel, an instructor in the ORCA program. “Each year we solicit problems from operational units then assign the problems to our ORCA teams. The cadets are solving problems that relate to the Coast Guard and can help the Coast Guard.”

    The Operations Research and Computer Analysis major provides graduates with a background in mathematics, statistics, and computers. The primary focus of the ORCA major at the Coast Guard Academy is to enable cadets to conceptualize and describe reality using the tools of mathematics and statistics, develop appropriate models, derive solutions using computer technology, apply the solutions to specific Coast Guard and other real world problems and to effectively communicate solutions.

    While the ORCA major emphasizes the practical application of mathematics, statistics, and computer techniques to “real world” problems, the central thrust of the program continues to be the understanding of mathematical concepts. In addition to courses concentrating on the tools of operations research, the Department of Mathematics offers numerous other courses covering the fundamentals of mathematical reasoning and analysis. Use of the computer as a tool in the analysis of data is essential to the major. The graduates have a strong background in computer programming as well as experience utilizing a number of software packages including Microsoft Access, Microsoft Excel, Minitab, ProModel, and Mathematica, along with other statistics, forecasting, optimization, and simulation packages.

    ORCA applications abound in the Coast Guard and every other complex organization. They are present in resource allocation decisions, policy analysis, equipment replacement determinations, personnel assignment processes, tactical operational decisions, and nearly every facet of Coast Guard operations. Within every complex organization, and particularly in the Coast Guard, the tools of Operations Research are absolutely necessary for continuous improvement and effective decision-making.

    Capstone Senior Design Projects allow students to gain real world experience during their final semester. Each student group takes on a Coast Guard operations research problem and provides solutions that will have a substantial effect on the service. Some examples of Capstone Projects are:

    • Fast Response Cutter Home Port Analysis

    • Analyzing U-boat detection methods during WWII to simulate and make recommendations to improve the Coast Guard’s search for self-propelled semisubmersible vessels carrying narcotics

    • Using optimization techniques to create aircraft patrol patterns for fisheries enforcement in the New England area



    Date Taken: 05.10.2018
    Date Posted: 05.10.2018 08:19
    Story ID: 276480
    Location: CT, US

    Web Views: 220
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