Ms Laila El Ghandour

AIMS South Africa 2010
Applying mathematics to renewable energies

Ms Laila El Ghandour, from Morocco, graduated from AIMS South Africa in 2010. “Through an AIMS review course I discovered mathematics applied to financial markets. This course really opened my mind to the possibilities of specialising in financial mathematics.” She went on to complete a Research Master’s in Financial Mathematics at Stellenbosch University as well as tutoring at AIMS South Africa for 6 months.

“It was because of AIMS that I was able to complete my Research Master’s and then be accepted into a PhD program at Herriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.” Her field of study is the application of financial mathematics to the energy sector, specifically to try to have a stock optimisation for a storage facility. In the United Kingdom, the government wants to meet the nation’s energy demand with at least 15% coming from renewable sources. Part of these renewable sources are produced by wind turbines, the problem with this source of energy is that the electricity produced by them, can’t be stored but have to be used straightaway. In these cases the only solution that has been found is to use the electricity produced at night to accumulate energy which can be later released into the system, in case there is a lack of renewable sources, so as to avoid blackouts in the system.

The object of the research team of which she is part of, is to develop a mathematical model which can be used to maximise the production and profits of these storage facilities. “My expertise is needed because renewable energies like stock-markets have the same unpredictable pattern.”

“I see renewables energies and specifically mathematics applied to it, as one of the best sources of development for the African continent. I know that my research and everything I learned at AIMS is going to have an impact. I am looking forward to contributing to the continent I love. I believe the work of AIMS has transformed my life and the lives of every exceptional student who has been fortunate enough to graduate from it. I hope the work of AIMS continues and expands to reach as many young talented scientists as possible. I am confident that because of AIMS, the next Einstein will truly be African!”

“There is a wide array of innovative aspects to the AIMS model and institute. If I could pick one it would be that AIMS doesn’t rely solely on point systems or marks. For AIMS the focus is on academic and personal development: learning how to think, solve problems, apply skills and gain confidence. This holistic approach to a student’s development and the continuous training of the students is a much better approach to pure educational attainment.”

Story and photo courtesy of Matteo Besana