A Taxing Question By Dr Robert Leese

How does the Government currently attempt to boost the UK’s investment in Research and Development? One key policy has been the availability since 2000 of R&D tax credits to UK companies, which help to reduce the cost of investing in research. Unfortunately, the R&D tax credit system is no longer in step with the needs of the modern economy, in large part because of its inequitable treatment of mathematics.

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How to build a topic-based search engine By Georg Maierhofer

Retrieving relevant information from a large collection of data, for instance using a search engine, is a difficult task. On the one hand we want to be able to use the efficiency of computers to obtain results quickly, on the other hand we would like search results to be as relevant as possible. The discipline Topic modelling can be used to address this problem...

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An Insight to the Smith Institute, 2015 By Judy Reynolds

Did you know that our founder, Dr Bruce Smith CBE, was working at Bellcom Inc in Washington D.C. in 1965 in a team selecting the landing site for the first manned moon mission, when he got the idea to create a system engineering company back in the U.K. We now work across ten sectors including aerospace, defence, security, telecommunications, energy and environmental risk, and most of our projects use mathematical models, interrogation of large sets of data and algorithms.

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Improving seasonal forecasts to make sure we all get fed By Christopher Nankervis

Our world’s population is projected to grow. This has sparked international food strategies to support new crop technologies that improve crop output efficiency. Yet limited land available for farming in the UK has been compounded by evolving land use. Weather Logistics, aims to tackle food production issues through better management of UK agricultural risks, by producing fine scale predictions on 25km space-scales at challenging 1-6 month ‘seasonal’ timescales...

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How Many Fish in the Lake (or Sweets in the Bag)? By Dr Robert Leese

Hannah and her sweets have been a hot topic of discussion over the last few days, since the following question appeared on a GCSE mathematics paper, sat by 500,000 teenagers last Thursday: "There are n sweets in a bag. Six of the sweets are orange. The rest of the sweets are yellow. Hannah takes at random a sweet from the bag. She eats the sweet. Hannah then takes at random another sweet from the bag. She eats the sweet. The probability that Hannah eats two orange sweets is 13. Show that n2-n-90=0." Why were the sweets so sticky?

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Playing by the rules: getting auctions right By Dr Robert Leese

Since 2007, together with colleagues at the Smith Institute, I have spent a good deal of time working with clients around the globe on auctions for radio spectrum licences. Bearing in mind that auction outcomes can shape a country's mobile telecommunications industry for a decade or more, the tasks of getting the auction designs right […]

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