Increased efficiency in food production is vital to the development of a society. From the days of the ancients, people understood that better knowledge of nature and mathematics helps ensure secure food supplies.
Archimedes(Greek, 287 BC – 212 BC) was considered the first “mathematical physicist.” He was able to relate known mathematical concepts to physical objects. His treatment of the lever, pulley systems, and screws shares the same core concepts as modern techniques used in the design of agricultural machinery. Later scholars such as Newton were able to elaborate on Archimedean concepts to develop modern science.
Archimedean treatment of the lever
Today, agricultural efficiency is improved not just by better machines but also by working with biological processes, including genetics.
Andrey Andreivich Markov (Russian, 1856-1922) developed mathematical (statistical) methods to model the interaction among elements of complex organizations or processes. Genetic scientists have used a variation of his method called the Hidden Markov Model (HMM) to decipher the mappings and interactions within the genomes of living organisms.