The University of York is teaming up with networks solutions provider Nortel Networks to create organised chaos in a bid to revolutionise telecommunications traffic management, writes Tim Greenhalgh.
The 12-strong Networks and Nonlinear Dynamics Group at York is using modern mathematics, including chaos theory, to find innovative ways of controlling and managing all types of traffic, from internet data to voice.
Maurice Dodson, research group leader, said: "The group applies mathematics to practical, real-world problems, studying intermittent and apparently unpredictable variations in the performance of sophisticated communications equipment."
The research is urgently needed as the growing use of the internet has disturbed typical telephone traffic patterns. Calls to the net are much longer than traditional personal telephone calls.
Malcolm Carter, a Nortel Networks product assurance adviser, said: "This distortion to telephone traffic flows will be further complicated when mobile phones become linked to the internet. To prevent communications disruptions or slowdowns, the company is looking for ways to improve traffic management."
The appliance of mathematics to real-world problems yielded surprising and innovative results, said Mr Carter.
"Nortel Networks is increasingly attempting to recruit mathematicians because their insight complements the practical contribution of our engineers. This is part of our long-term commitment to investing in education, training, research and development."
Nortel Networks has commissioned more than Pounds 300,000 of research from the group in the past two years.