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Gazprom Neft to support the development of a new faculty at St Petersburg State University

Press-release Partnership

St Petersburg State University is to open a Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science under a strategic partnership with Gazprom Neft.

Students will study all aspects of modern mathematics, with lectures and seminars being led by university faculty members, including academics from St Petersburg State University’s Chebyshev Laboratory. Gazprom Neft, Yandex, JetBrains and other technology companies will be involved in teaching courses on data analytics, machine learning and other aspects of computer science, with students able to study technologies and undertake class projects under the guidance of practicing specialists.

The teaching staff at this faculty will comprise a core team involved in running three bachelors’ programmes: “Mathematics”, “Modern Programming” and “Mathematics, Algorithms and Data Analytics”. Students were admitted to the first two programmes from 2015 and 2018, while the third is a new programme, developed in conjunction with employees at Yandex. Students will be able to continue their education under a masters’ programme, “Modern Mathematics”, opening this year with the support of Gazprom Neft. This masters programme will bring together talented students from Russia, Eastern Europe and Asia, with Gazprom Neft creating a scholarship for gifted students.

Stanislav Smirnov, Fields Medal winner and Academic Supervisor at the Chebyshev Laboratory, St Petersburg State University, commented: “These new programmes are based around mathematics. There may be some cross-over between these programmes on initial courses, while students are studying mathematical disciplines. Thereafter they will specialise in whatever field they have chosen — with some studying algorithms and data processing, others — machine learning or applied mathematics, and others pure research projects: our theoretical understanding of machine learning is currently substandard, and specialists here are in considerable demand.”
Stanislav Smirnov Academic Supervisor at the Chebyshev Laboratory

As well as supporting the masters’ programme Gazprom Neft plans to invest in a pure research and development programme based within the faculty — the company’s objective here being to develop new algorithms and modelling tools to improve efficiency in geological prospecting and oil production.

Alexander Dybal, member of the Gazprom Neft Management Board, commented: “Optimising mathematical algorithms allows us to process massive volumes of data, from various production processes, efficiently — from oil fields to refineries. We continue to invest in joint research, as well as developing a grant-aid programme and scholarships for students and young academics, which has proved its effectiveness during our seven-year collaboration with St Petersburg State University’s Chebyshev Laboratory. New digital solutions, developed in conjunction with mathematicians at St Petersburg State University, are already helping us create digital models of actual fields and production facilities.”
Alexander Dybal
Alexander Dybal Member of the Gazprom Neft Management Board
Elena Bunina, Director of HR and Educational Programmes, Yandex, added: “Knowledge today is built up not just in academic institutions and research centres, but also within technology companies. We are very glad that St Petersburg State University will have a faculty in which academics and practitioners can work together and train the next generation of programmers and researchers, who will be creating new technologies.”
Elena Bunina Director of HR and Educational Programmes, Yandex

State-funded places on the bachelors’ “Mathematics”, “Modern Programming” and “Mathematics, Algorithms and Data Analytics” programmes will be available for 55, 25, and 20 people, respectively, in 2019, with a further 25 places available on the “Modern Mathematics” masters’ programme. Places will also be available on a paid-for basis. Enrolments on these programmes will be based on Unified State Examination results, as well as the outcomes of “Olympiads” (mathematics competitions), with the best applicants able to rely on stipends from strategic partners to the university.

Notes for editors

Gazprom Neft has been a partner to St Petersburg State University’s Chebyshev Laboratory under its Home Towns corporate social investments initiative, since 2013. Gazprom Neft, together with the Chebyshev Laboratory, has been implementing a Russia-wide project — “Mathematical Progression” — to support gifted young people since 2015.

Talented mathematicians receive support at every stage of their studies — high school students receive invitations to university; students — personal stipends and the opportunity to attend lectures from distinguished mathematicians; young academics — grants and secondments in Russia and abroad; and scientific and research teams — funding for fundamental studies. The “Mathematic Progression” programme involves more all-Russia Olympiad winners and runners-up than any other in the country.

As well as enhancing the country’s mathematic potential, the project also successfully addresses practical business tasks. Academics at the Chebyshev Laboratory together with ITSK and the Gazprom Neft Science and Technology Centre are developing effective tools and modelling algorithms used by oil technicians in their work.