Speaker looks at beneficial uses of optimal control, a mathematical tool

The next speaker in the York U50 lectures in the Laboratory of Mathematical Parallel Systems (LAMPS) Colloquium Series on Mathematics & Interdisciplinary Science will discuss the power of using the mathematical tool optimal control to improve blood flow during standard CPR procedures and to slow the spread of rabies.

Suzanne Lenhart will deliver her talk, “The Power of Optimal Control: From Confining Rabies to Improving CPR”, Thursday, Sept. 10, from 2:30 to 3:30pm in the York Senate Chamber, N940 Ross Building, Keele campus.

Left: Suzanne Lenhart

The associate director for education, outreach and diversity for the US National Institute for Mathematical & Biological Synthesis, Lenhart will give two examples showing how the use of optimal control can have beneficial outcomes.

The first example will involve differential equations that model cardiopulmonary resuscitation with the goal of designing an external chest and abdomen pressure pattern to improve blood flow during standard CPR procedures.

The second example will look at an epidemic model for rabies in raccoons on a spatial grid with the intent of finding the optimal distribution pattern for vaccine baits to slow the spread of rabies.

A math professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a part-time researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, Lenhart focuses her research on partial differential equations, ordinary differential equations and optimal control. She works on a variety of applications, including population models and disease models, as well as resource management. She has over 100 research journal publications and is co-author of Optimal Control Applied to Biological Models (Chapman & Hall, 2007).

From 2001 to 2002, Lenhart was the president of the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) where she continues to do outreach. She is involved with organizing workshops for female post-docs and graduate students at national math meetings and she is a co-organizer of the new AWM teacher partnership program, which pairs teachers with mathematicians from colleges, industry and government. In addition, she works weekly with the Bearden High School math club and she is active in the national high school math society.

Lenhart is a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Mathematical Biosciences Institute. She was the director of the Research Experiences for Undergraduates summer program at the University of Tennessee from 1990 to 2005 and has been chair of the Mathematical Association of America’s Committee on the Undergraduate Program in Mathematics for the last five years.

Each LAMPS lecture features a leading expert in the field of mathematics and related multidisciplinary areas. The lectures are open to everyone and registration is free. The event is sponsored by the Faculty of Science & Engineering and the Department of Mathematics & Statistics.

For more information, visit the U50 calendar of events or click here.