The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council in the U.K. has awarded a £1.6 million ($US 2.5 million) grant to two researchers at University of York to study mathematical theory with applications in electronic communications, including the efficiency of wireless networks. The EPSRC grant will fund the work of York mathematicians Sanju Velani (pictured right) and Victor Beresnevich, who conduct research in number theory and pure mathematics.

The research at York will focus on the theory of Diophantine approximation, a branch of number theory that dates back to the ancient Greeks and Chinese to accurately predict the position of planets and stars. The theory in today’s world is tied to ergodic theory, which involves statistical mechanics and dynamical systems.

These concepts in turn, have practical applications in electronic communications, antenna design, and signal processing. Advances in the Diophantine approximation, says the university, have been used to investigate the potential of multiple-input and multiple-output technologies that have gained followers in wireless communications for their high efficiency and reliability.

Velani calls the proposed research program ambitious. “The novel nature of the proposed research,” says Velani, “will build upon the Diophantine approximation expertise in the UK and enhance the U.K.’s leadership in the field.”

EPSRC says similar or related research is underway elsewhere in Europe, as well as the U.S. and India. David Delpy, EPSRC’s chief executive says the grant “will help the University of York attract outstanding researchers and extend its research network, hopefully leading to enhancements in number theory.” The agency says many researchers plan to visit York in support of the intellectual aims of this program.

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