CÉLINE, 30 years old
Technical Union for the Automobile, Motorcycle Industries (UTAC).
How she became a mathematician
“After receiving my scientific diploma from high school, I did a DEUG MIAS (general academic studies degree in applied maths and computer science). Then, I decided to pursue a master’s degree in mathematical engineering. I completed my training with a master of advanced studies in statistical engineering. When I started out, I wanted to become a professor of mathematics; I did some private tutoring during my studies, but I finally abandoned this plan. I discovered probability and statistics through a unit required for my degree. My position at UTAC is actually my first job; I started as an intern during that portion of my master of advanced studies. After the interview, an opportunity materialized for a paid position with an indefinite contract.”
How mathematics comes into play in her job
Inspections involving automobile studies and trials make up the core of the job, with different types of variant analysis as their complement. The engineer–statistician evaluates the reliability of automotive vehicles.
“My role is to provide our business with mathematical and statistical support. Practically speaking, this activity is organized around three focal points: monitoring inspections conducted at the national level; calculating the repeatability and accuracy of trial methods in order to evaluate and accredit them; and last, but not least, performing various calculations as required by the UTAC trial laboratories.
“As regards inspections, I carry out statistical studies on the data transmitted to me by different testing centres. On the one hand, I evaluate the quality of the data transmitted; on the other hand, I study the condition of our vehicles currently in circulation, in order to assess the impact of our inspections on the reliability of these vehicles. I also attempt to model the profile of the population that does not present its vehicles for inspection or that is late in doing so, in order to identify and understand the different reasons for this neglect. These studies are then sent to our supervisors in the Ministry of Transportation, to the heads of the inspection centres, and to automobile and parts manufacturers.
“When it comes to calculating reliability, I perform variance analysis. I determine the scatter of the results gathered from trials (passive safety, soundproofing, electromagnetic compatibility, emissions, aerodynamics, and photometry) performed in the six UTAC laboratories. My goal is to ensure the coherence of the results; that is, to verify that they yield values that are relatively stable from one trial to another, according to the stipulated trial conditions.
“I also calculate accuracy. Since certain trial methods have a normal value, we have to ensure that the average of the results we have received is as close as possible to this normal value.
“Calculating integrals, solving systems of nonlinear equations… my job can lead me to perform, correct, or validate all sorts of mathematical calculations demanded by the trial laboratories, all based on physical, mechanical, or chemical data.”
What are the qualifications?
Bac + 5, master’s of mathematics with a focus on statistics, diploma from the ENSAI or the ISUP.
Translation: David Kramer