Rose math alumnus profile page

Paul Nystrom
Segundo, California
B.S. in Mathematics, 1974
for The Aerospace Corporation



Profile
After graduation from RoseHulman, I entered a fellowship program at Old Dominion University to get a Master's degree in mechanical engineering. Since then, I've worked for several organizations (NASA, GTE, et al.) and have been at The Aerospace Corporation (www.aero.org) for nearly 25 years. I am out in California where very few have heard of RoseHulman. ;)
Mathematics (and engineering) are an important aspect of all of the projects I've have worked. Since that's my background, it is probably a misleading statistic. Many job applicants have computer science and application development skills but don't have the mathematics (or engineering) background  you can acquire the programming skills a lot easier than the mathematics (and engineering) discipline.
I have worked on a wide variety of engineering applications and have used statistics, root solving techniques, integration, differentiation, raysurface intersection algorithms, orbital dynamics, geometric transformations, et al.. Computers can crank out answers but it takes the person with the mathematics (and engineering) expertise to determine if the results and techniques are correct.
One of my current projects uses a Monte Carlo technique that includes a number of root solvers. When you may have to execute them hundreds of millions of times, they have to be correct, robust and hopefully efficient. Part of the efficiency comes from choosing the right root solver for the problem; setting up the problem so that you know the root exists; determining how close is close enough and which root to use.
Another key area is written and oral presentation  you have to be able to clearly communicate with your future employers, management, coworkers and customers.

