October 08, 2008

Agrawal to deliver keynote address at conference

by Tim Crosby

om agrawal

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- An engineering professor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will give the keynote address at a top mathematics conference later this week.

Om P. Agrawal, professor of mechanical engineering and energy processes, will give the speech on fractional calculus and its applications during the 28th annual Southeastern-Atlantic Regional Conference on Differential Equations. The conference is set for Friday and Saturday at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

The conference is aimed at promoting research and education in the field of ordinary and partial differential equations and numerical techniques and how they are applied to biology, engineering and physics, Agrawal said.

“I am honored to be selected by the organizing committee to present a plenary keynote speech at the conference,” he said.

Agrawal said fractional calculus is increasingly applied to areas outside pure mathematics.

“Many believe that this is a purely mathematical subject. However, it has now been applied to almost all areas of science, engineering, applied math, economics, and bioengineering.” Agrawal said.

Agrawal plans to introduce a new class of differential equations and present “finite element numerical technique” for a class of fractional variational problems during his presentation.

“Fractional derivatives provide additional parameters which can be varied to design better and more efficient controllers,” said Agrawal.

Several researchers around the world are studying Agrawal’s theories and problems.

“I expect my work to lead to two new fields: fractional variational calculus, and fractional differential equations,” Agrawal said.

Jerry L. Bona, of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Martin Bohner, of the Missouri University of Science and Technology, will join Agrawal on the speakers’ roster for the event. It also will feature 20-minute talks by a variety of contributors.

For more information, see the event Web site at http://www.ualr.edu/SEARCDE28.