Undergraduate students who receive instruction and experiences in mathematical modeling become better and more creative problem solvers and graduate students. This book series is being published to prepare and educate students on the topics and concepts of mathematical modeling to help them establish a problem solving foundation for a successful career.

Mathematical modeling is both a process and a mindset or philosophy. As a process, students need instruction and experience in understanding and using the modeling process or framework. As part of their experience, they need to see various levels of sophistication and complexity, along with various types of mathematical structures (discrete, continuous, liner, nonlinear, deterministic, stochastic, geometric, and analytic).As a mindset, students need to see problems that are relevant, challenging, and interesting so they build a passion for the process and its utility in their lives. A major goal in modeling is for students to want to model problems and find their solutions. Recipes for structured or prescribed problem solving (canned algorithms and formulas) do exist in the real world, but mathematical modelers can do much more than execute recipes or formulas. Modelers are empowered to solve new, open, unsolved problems.

In order to build sufficient experience in modeling, student exposure must begin as early as possible-definitely by the early undergraduate years. Then the modeling process can be reinforced and used throughout their undergraduate program. Since modeling is interdisciplinary, students from all areas of undergraduate study benefit from this experience.

The articles and chapters in this series expose the readers to model construction, model analysis, and modeling as a research tool. All these areas are important and build the students' modeling skills. Modeling is a challenging and advanced skill, but one that is empowering and important in student development. In today's world, models are often complex and require sophisticated computation or simulation to provide solutions or insights into model behavior. Now is an exciting time to be a skilled modeler since methodology to provide visualization and find solutions are more prevalent and more powerful than ever before.

I wish the students well in their adventure into modeling and I likewise wish faculty well as they use the examples and techniques in this book series to teach the modeling process to their students. My advice to all levels of modelers is to build your confidence and skills and use your talents to solve society's most challenging and important problems. Good luck in modeling!

 

October, 2011