Who will be Leading the Knowledge Economy?

JULY 25, 2011 12:07 AM| no comments

So it’s goodbye to Vancouver and ICIAM 2011. The WebsEdge team has been here all week making tv programs about the latest developments in applied mathematics.  11 university profiles, 15 interviews and 10 news packages later I think we must have interviewed some of the smartest people on the planet. Not that much of it has rubbed off on me though. Watch them all here!

It’s been a great event in more ways than one. The subject matter appears at first sight to be quite difficult. But you soon realise the answer here is in the title – it’s applied mathematics. So our discussions covered everything from climate change and cancer to wave theory and quantum computing, real cutting edge stuff. Because many of the applications have serious commercial implications – just think algorithms and Google.

And in many ways it’s meetings like these that lie at the heart of business. In cities like Vancouver we may no longer be able to compete on cost of labour and other inputs but we certainly can still lead the knowledge economy. You just have to look at some of the excellent work being carried out by local universities to realise that.

But the location of this event just adds to the symbolism. Vancouver Convention Centre is right on the Pacific Ocean. Ships come here from many different countries but it seems a good number of them are from China. Vancouver is clearly where East meets West.

The ICIAM conference itself takes place every four years. And, you guessed it, the next one is in Beijing in 2015. I just wonder by then who will really be at the heart of the knowledge economy.

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