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Operations research analyst to deliver Veterans Day talk 

BY CAMYLE CRYDERMAN 
MANAGING EDITOR

As Veterans Day approaches, it is important to find ways to respect those who have served in the military. By offering a specialized speaker on Veteran’s Day who focuses on mathematics in regards to cost of war, Schoolcraft is combining both honor and education.

IMAGE COURTESY OF SCHOOLCRAFT COLLEGE Come engage in the details of mathematics and war with Chris Sommers at his Veteran’s day speech.
IMAGE COURTESY OF SCHOOLCRAFT COLLEGE
Come engage in the details of mathematics and war with Chris Sommers at his Veteran’s day speech.

On Wednesday, Nov. 11, from 4:45 to 5:45 p.m., all are invited to attend this free event at the Biomedical Technology Center in room 350 on this topic.

The featured speaker, Chris Sommers, is the operations research analyst specializing in cost and systems analysis at the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) in Warren, MI. Systems analysis is an important duty that utilizes aspects of physics, economics, mathematics and psychology to solve a variety of problems in the military that are deemed to have no known solution. Since stepping into this position in 2008, Sommers has gained great amounts of experience in applied mathematics that he is eagerly willing to share with attendees.

“I’m excited to get the chance to explain to Schoolcraft that believe it or not, math is actually used in the real world,” said Sommers. “Attending this talk will give people a chance to ask me any questions they may have about these topics.”

Prior to his career at TACOM, Sommers acted as a volunteer math and statistics tutor at Schoolcraft’s Learning Assistance Center. With his experience on the subject of math applied to war, his eagerness to inform others and his overall passion, this presentation will leave attendees enthralled.

“Some people might be reluctant to come to a math talk because they think it’ll be hard to understand, but Chris uses colorful slides to give an overview of his techniques, instead of getting too bogged down in the technical details,” said Schoolcraft mathematics professor Randy Schwartz.

Thanks to its sponsor of the Math and Physics Club and co-sponsors, Veterans’ Services and the Mathematics Department, this event will be interesting and informative.

The United States Army, with the help of people like Sommers, use applied operations research to solve and prevent problems, such as maintaining navy fleets or military tanks. Attendees will learn about the methods of applied math and statistics that the Army utilizes to estimate these costs of war. Such methods include topics taught in Schoolcraft mathematics courses like optimization and linear regression, as well as new topics such as the Monte Carlo simulation and Beta distribution.

“Any students who are interested in entering the fields of mathematics, statistics, data analysis or in helping serve our country will benefit from this insider’s view of the Army’s white-collar workforce,” said Math and Physics Club President Joe Pepper. “In addition, we would be honored to have any veterans, individuals in active service, or anyone who is curious about how the U.S. Army operates, to come and hear from someone working hard behind the scenes to support those on the front lines.”

Aside from these math related topics, Sommers will also be speaking on the topic of the Army’s white-collar workforce and the white-color work environment.

Not only will this presentation provide viewers with information on mathematics, but it will also help increase awareness to what really goes on in the military. For all people, young, old and even past military workers, this speech will give an insight into the workings of war. By relating real-life applications of math to the upcoming Veterans Day, practicality and respect will coincide at this informative event.