News & Stories

From mathematics to design innovation

Three HIT students presented research and exhibited mathematically inspired design objects at a special international conference in Canada.


The students Paz Amsalam and Tair Uri Goldberg next to Dr. Gol

The students Paz Amsalam and Tair Uri Goldberg next to Dr. Shay Gol


The Bridges Conference deals with multidisciplinarity in mathematics and its relations to art, music and more. The conference was held this year at Dalhousie University, located in the Canadian city of Halifax in the province of Nova Scotia, and since 1998, deals with the connection and integration of mathematics with other fields. Annually, 400 participants from more than 30 countries attend every year. The conference includes invited speakers, lectures, practical workshops, exhibitions and artistic performances.


Paz Amsalem, Tair Uri Goldberg, and Milena Likhtriov, students in HIT’s Industrial Design department who also work in the Mathematics Design Laboratory under Dr. Shay Gol from the School of Mathematics, worked together to develop mathematical projects which incorporate design, art, and fashion perspectives. 

Paz Amsalem presented her research in a lecture about Dynamic Tiling, which employs an algebraic structure called ‘lattice’. This structure helps determine how the designer knows when dynamic movement is possible. In her lecture, Paz illustrated the point visually in the object that was later displayed at the conference’s mathematical exhibition.

"The experience was very special. When I started my design studies, I never thought that I would present my findings at a conference on the mathematical use of design tools. Then I realized that this opportunity was unique, and not something that is the norm during undergraduate studies. I was glad that had the chance to participate. It opened up a whole new direction which was very unexpected for me, and it's all thanks to the course I took with Dr. Shay Gol in the Mathematical Design Laboratory.


Paz Amsalem with her research work - Dynamical tiling

Paz Amsalem with her research work - Dynamical tiling


The application of mathematics to design is something that I will carry with me forever, " says Paz Amsalem, who also received a $750 scholarship from the conference organizers for the unique project and another scholarship from HIT.


Paz was the only person among doctoral students and senior mathematicians at the conference who is still a student. “Her lecture intrigued many viewers who later stayed to ask questions and expressed great interest in HIT and its activities," says Dr. Shay Gol.

Tair Goldberg also presented her math-inspired design object in the Exhibition which accompanied the conference. It is a single garment that can be used as both a shirt and pants by closing or opening only one zipper. The project is based on the ‘classification theorem’ in algebraic topology. "I was surprised that these mathematical concepts, which usually are the realm of mathematicians, can define innovation in fashion design," says Goldberg.


Another mathematics-inspired design object that received rave reviews is the "multi-dimensional shirt" based on the mathematical concept of ‘fractals’. Milena Likhtriov's project is a fabric that expands and contracts so that it can change dimensions according to the size of the wearer, therefore increasing sustainability by decreasing the need to purchase new clothes. Although unable to physically attend the conference, she noted that “kids grow up fast, and that leads to frequent purchase of clothing to accommodate the change in size. My garment solves this problem by using space-filling curves. My main idea is to use the characteristic of these tight curves that are usually used for flooring airplanes, to produce a single tank top that fits all," says Likhtriov.


Paz and Tair were accompanied at the conference by Dr. Shay Gol, who shared in the enthusiastic reception his students received. “The students were wonderful, and they amazed almost everyone who met them and saw their work.” 
The Mathematical Design Laboratory, led by Dr. Shay Gol, has been operational at HIT for two years and is part of the School of Mathematical Sciences. Mathematicians, designers, and future programmers work together in the laboratory and combine their abilities to try to solve complex problems and significant challenges in everyday life.