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In March 2021 a masterclass event on networks and their applications was organized by the NETWORKS program at the Technical University of Eindhoven and in Leiden University. This event was intended for secondary education students and teachers who want to broaden their scientific horizons by having a glimpse into state of the art mathematical research. All the material has been gathered in a self-contained booklet, which can be used by teachers in the classroom, or by students who want to have a glimpse into networks science!

Below we give a short description of the topics discussed during this masterclass. 

Youri Raaijmakers – Queueing theory – Preventing queues growing large 

In this talk Youri discussed how a mathematical model of a queue can be constructed and analysed. Some typical everyday examples of queues can be found in supermarkets, industrial production systems and hospitals. In a supermarket customers arrive to the counters, they may have to wait in the queue until their turn comes, they are served and then leave the supermarket. But an important question is, can we change the policy serving the customers to serve them faster? 

Rens Kamphuis – Graph theory – Finding the optimal route in a road traffic network

In this talk Rens showed how graphs can be used to represent networks, and how algorithms can be constructed to solve questions about networks. For instance, what is the shortest route from one location in a network to another? This is a question that we ask our favourite route planner on a daily basis.

Janusz Meylahn – Complex networks – Learning how synchronisation works

In this talk Janusz gave a glimpse in how synchronisation works. Synchronisation is the coordination of events to operate a system in unison. Simply put, multiple parts work together to produce one whole. Think of phenomena like fireflies flashing in synchrony, neurons ringing in the brain,  the gravitational synchronisation of meteors or an audience clapping after a concert.

The aim of the events is to introduce secondary school students with an interest in mathematics to mathematics education at a university and to provide them further deepening in their mathematical knowledge. The previous masterclasses “NETWORKS goes to school” were a big success. All the material will be gathered in a self-contained booklet which can be used after the masterclass by teachers in the classroom or by students who want to have a glimpse into networks science! The booklet will be distributed to the students at the masterclass. The material from the previous masterclasses can be found below:

Booklet from NETWORKS goes to school 2018

Booklet from NETWORKS goes to school 2019

Booklet from NETWORKS goes to school 2020 – 2021

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About the NETWORKS program


NETWORKS is a 10-year program funded by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science through the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research.

NETWORKS is hosted by four research institutions:

  • University of Amsterdam (UvA)
  • Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)
  • Leiden University (UL)
  • Center for Mathematics and Computer Science (CWI)

The program started in the summer of 2014 and covers a broad range of topics dealing with stochastic and algorithmic aspects of networks. The aim of the program is to address the pressing challenges posed by large-scale networks with the help of stochastics and algorithmics. The focus is on modelling, understanding, controlling and optimizing networks that are complex and highly volatile.