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Careers in Math - Essay Example

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The average national price of gas in May 2005 was approximately $2.10 per gallon (This Week in Petroleum 2005). The national average rose steadily for the next two months, and then dropped off slightly on July 25, 2005, when it reached about $2.27 per gallon (This Week in Petroleum 2005)…
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Careers in Math
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Download file to see previous pages This change in gas prices has been attributed to many things, including the war in Iraq, and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. This is a real life example of the pre-calculus concept of functions. The problems with modeling this situation are obvious. There are so many factors that could be involved it is difficult to tell which is the actual cause of the change, and then there is the difficulty with the rate of change. Finally, there is the pesky problem of the spot price and the difficulties with assessing how spot prices affect retail prices. Retail prices usually follow the spot price shifts, but they sometimes lag behind (This Week in Petroleum 2005). These are the sorts of issues that must be analyzed and solved by mathematicians working out in the real world.
One person who designs and runs numerous mathematical models for decision making purposes is Amanda Peterson, who works in the Operations Research department of the Dynamic Research Corporation. Often, decision problems can be solved using mathematical equations, but there are "cases when the situation is too detailed for a math model alone or the customer prefers a more visual product" (MAA Online 2005). Then she writes a computer program called a simulation model to simulate the different aspects of the problem. Decision makers can use this model to test different scenarios. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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