Saturday, July 24, 2004

Mathematics in Real World Applications!

Mathematics? In the real world? Well, besides at the groceries, sometimes its good to see interesting applications of mathematics outside the calculations of salaries and income tax!

I came across this website where they have proposed a new form of traffic management system at an intersection. The writeup is technical, as is the downloadable PDF document. But what is interesting are the simulations. They are all java applets. The 'Traffic Light' simulation is the one which happens every day. The 'Reservation System' is the crux of this whole paper that is published. It suggests that cars interact with the intersection in reserving a time during which it will pass the intersection and correspondingly adjusts it's speed. The idea is to use GPS, in-car navigation systems to decrease traffic congestion. This way, traffic lights are gotten rid off altogether. Once you've seen the simulation of 'Traffic Light', the simulation of the 'Reservation System' is really enlightening!

And don't forget the simulations are idealised! They don't consider a number of factors. But all the same, they are interesting to watch!

I was still wondering if a low cost alternative is possible.


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