Thiagarajar College (autonomous), Madurai, has the distinction of being the only arts and science college among the 16 institutes across the country selected by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development for establishing centres for training and research in frontier areas of science and technology. According to college principal A. Thamaraichelvan, the ministry had sanctioned an initial amount of Rs. 1 crore for establishing a National Centre for Excellence in Statistical and Mathematical Modelling on Bio-resources Management in the college. The centre would be jointly coordinated by D. Pandiaraja of the college’s department of mathematics and N. Arun Nagendran from the department of zoology.

The coordinators said that mathematical modelling in biology was a broad interdisciplinary science that uses mathematical and computational techniques to tackle problems in life sciences. The complex task of maintaining a balance between human consumption and natural regeneration could be accomplished only using the multidisciplinary approach of integrating mathematics and computer science with biology, they said.

Though there were separate institutes in the country for studying bio resources and mathematical modelling, there was none that integrated both. The new centre would enhance the use of mathematical tools in biological research and provide communities with the information they needed in order to attain sustainable self-sufficiency.

The centre would achieve its objective by offering academic programmes, involving itself in research activities and conducting short-term training programmes.

The aim was to offer to generate skilled human resources and enhance base-line data which could be used for framing and execution of conservation strategies, the coordinators added.

Mohamed Imranullah