​Research and Innovation Achievements: Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics


After five years of sustained efforts, the Department of Mathematics has grown to a respectable size of about 20 faculty members. Since its beginning, the Department has been offering courses in Mathematics to students from various other programmes of the university. Our bachelor’s programme in Mathematics and Applied Mathematics will see its first batch of graduates in August 2021, while our first master’s programme will be launched this September.


A delegation of MAT lecturers and students visiting Xiamen University in April 2019

Fun and challenges

To promote youth’s interest in mathematics, we have organised various mathematics competitions for undergraduates and high school students. We have also trained XMUM students for international mathematics competitions such as Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM) and Simon Marais Mathematics Competition, where our students rank top among Malaysian participants.


Participants of XMUM at the Simon Marais competition 2019. In the center are the Top Performers Zhou Zhidan, Liu Xuan (Best Pair Entry) and Hong Khay Boon (Best Individual).

Selected Research

As diverse as the cultural background of the Department’s staff are their research topics,which range from number theory to geometry and analysis, from graph theory to algebra, from mathematical physics to stochastics, statistics and data analytics, from the foundations of mathematics to applications in science, engineering, finance and big data, etc. The Department has successfully applied for 15 XMUMRF grants and 3 FRGS grants. Below are a few of them. 

Zeta functions 

One of the FRGS grants was secured by Prof. Teo Lee Peng, who is investigating Ruelle and Selberg zeta functions. This is an abstract yet fascinating topic, combining the discrete and the continuous, the number theory and complex analysis. Prof. Teo strives to understand certain sequences of numbers by analysing certain functions in the complex plane, and in this case, the numbers originate from certain surfaces – so-called Riemann surfaces. By looking at certain geodesics one wants to understand these surfaces, thus relating the continuous surfaces with a discrete sequence of numbers, which is then analysed by a continuous function, and going from the continuous to the discrete back and forth.

Aperiodic structures

Two other FRGS grants have been awarded to Dr. Darren Ong and Dr. Peter Zeiner, who aim to understand aperiodically ordered structures. The most famous aperiodic structures are quasicrystals, which were first found in 1982. They are highly ordered structures, but not as perfect as periodic crystals. They lie in between the perfect order and the unordered, whence understanding their properties is not only of interest to physicists, but also to mathematicians. Aperiodic tilings do not only inspire scientists but also artists and the general public because of their beautiful patterns. Even music based on aperiodic patterns has been composed. 


An aperiodic Escher-style picture based on a rhombus Penrose tiling, featuring orangutans and banana leaves by Darren C. Ong (www.drong.my).

Mathematical Physics

Several of our colleagues work on problems of Mathematical Physics, including the geometry of manifolds, the properties of condensed matter, particle physics and gravitation. The properties of black holes is also a research focus, which have attracted huge media coverage when the first photo of a black hole was published. Dr. Lim Yen Kheng is an expert in this field, who regularly gives talks on his research to other researchers as well as the wider public. He also motivates undergraduate students to participate in scientific researches.


Xiamen University Malaysia Campus

A Glance at XMUM