SEOUL, April 27 (Korea Bizwire) – Striving to craft a new growth strategy, South Korea said Wednesday it will pay more attention to mathematics for industrial use.
In a science policy meeting, the government decided to push for the “industrial math” campaign aimed at promoting interaction between the study and businesses, according to the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning.
“We have a vision of using math as a new growth engine for the creative economy,” Lee Jin-kyu, a senior ministry official, told reporters. It’s expected to help enhance the competitiveness of local industries and create jobs, he added.
Lee cited the success of some U.S. tech firms as an example, which includes the top search engine Google and Ayasdi, a machine learning and big data analytics software operator.
He called the trend the “Renaissance” of math, saying the importance of the basic study has grown in the era of the so-called fourth Industrial Revolution.
Many point out that mathematicians here have been sidelined in South Korea’s traditional economic development.
Students spend day and night learning math just to get scores for entering colleges.
Only 1.8 percent of South Koreans with a PhD in math advance into the industrial world, with most of the remainder staying in academic circles, noted the ministry.
It plans to raise the ratio to 20 percent by 2021.
For that, the government plans to create a system for close communication between mathematicians and companies, encourage businesses to resolve pending problems via a math-infused approach, train elites in industrial math and create math-based new businesses and work.
It will also support the establishment of the Industrial Math Center in colleges, just like that at Seoul National University launched in March.
“We are in consultations with budget authorities to secure funds needed for the project,” said another ministry official Lee Jae-heun.