Dr Nico Wilke

Dr Nico Wilke

South Africa

University of Pretoria

Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering

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Work and Research

Specialisation in discrete element based granular flow design optimisation applications. In particular, developing interactive design optimisation frameworks and AI application layers that utilise efficient numerical implementations of granular flow analysis capability. AI application layers includes developing feature extraction, classification or regression models based on experimental and simulation based data to allow for quantitative description, control or causal inference of an underlying model. This naturally extends towards simulation based Just-In-Time learning platforms to obtain in depth understanding of processes and design modifications. New Book Release - Snyman and Wilke, Practical Mathematical Optimization, Springer, 2018 - https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319775

Fields Of Expertise

Optimisation and Machine Learning
Granular Media and Discrete Element Modelling

Research Profiles

Lets talk about free education and how to unleash the greatest resource of Africa.

The complementary roles that free online learning and paid contact learning can play towards realising free tertiary education in Africa.

Imagine a secondary schooling system that prepares learners for independent development within a resourceful rich world as we found ourselves in modern society. The benefits of such a functional secondary schooling system would allow for the success of free education. We tend to think of free tertiary education in the traditional sense of on campus education at our tertiary institutes, which becomes a difficult financial problem to solve. A more sensible problem to solve might be how to make a free online learning platform functional for the majority of learners. In addition, the entire free online learning platform can be subsidised by the tertiary institutes to create and maintain content, assignments and examinations. The financial cost of such a model is then limited to examination and certification which could easily be limited to an only first examination free policy i.e. second and third examination opportunities are paid for by the learner. Distance learning universities (e.g. UNISA) have mastered the logistics behind large scale examination for years now. This model would also ensure that tertiary learning institutes, which are scarce resources in Africa, are utilised to their full potential i.e. students that do not cope within a free online education system are students that then pay for a contact learning opportunity at tertiary institutes. In addition, as Artificial Intelligence (Machine Learning or Statistical Learning) progresses the benefits of a free online education system grows as it will allow for adaptable content customised for each learner and their respective learning styles. The longer term benefit is that such an education system will prepare its learners to be independent, dynamic and life-long self-learners, unleashing Africa's most precious resource, its people.

This is my dream for Africa!

PS: Although data suggests that Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have limited success - it should be understood within in the context that learners that enrol into these MOOCs cannot complete a degree, they merely receive participation certificates.  The advent of certified online learning platforms on which you can complete a degree demonstrates the potential success, just as distance learning universities have demonstrated over decades.