Program Choices Abound with Multiple Meetings Set to Converge in Zürich

December 22, 2006

Keeping the International Congress on Industrial and Applied Mathematics on track, the ICIAM board meets periodically during the four years between congresses. Shown here in Florence, in the spring of 2005, are, from left to right, Li Ta-tsien (officer at large), Reinhard Mennicken (president, ICIAM, 1994–1999), Rolf Jeltsch (congress director, ICIAM 2007), Ian Sloan (president, ICIAM, 2003–2007), and Olavi Nevanlinna (president, ICIAM, 1999–2003).

Rolf Jeltsch

The International Congress on Industrial and Applied Mathematics, held most recently (2003) in Sydney, returns to Europe in 2007: ICIAM 07 will take place in Zürich, on the downtown campuses of ETH and the University of Zürich, July 16–20. The organizers are putting together what promises to be an extremely interesting program, with something for everyone. As this article is written, at the end of September, 220 mini-symposium proposals have been submitted, and the organizers are hard at work distributing them to reviewers. The list of 27 invited speakers was finalized some time ago ( By the time this issue of SIAM News reaches your mailbox, we expect that some 600 contributed papers will have been submitted. We anticipate about 2500 delegates and hope that many will take advantage of the early-bird option, which requires registration before January 15, 2007. As to the ICIAM 07 venue, it offers a beautiful view over the old town, which, with its narrow streets and lively cafes and restaurants, is a few minutes away.

The ICIAM prizes will be awarded at the opening ceremony. Traditionally, the names of the recipients are kept secret until the ceremony. At its meeting in Shanghai this year, however, the ICIAM Board decided to make the announcements early. The ICIAM prizes that will be awarded in Zürich are the Pioneer Prize, jointly to Ingrid Daubechies, Princeton University, and Heinz Engl, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria, and the Austrian Academy of Sciences; the Collatz Prize, to Felix Otto, University of Bonn; the Lagrange Prize, to Joe Keller, Stanford University; the Maxwell Prize, to Peter Deuflhard, Free University of Berlin and ZIB; and the newly established Su Buchin Prize (for contributions to the promotion of mathematical research and education in developing countries), to Gil Strang, MIT.

As in Sydney, several meetings will be embedded within ICIAM 07. The largest such event in Zürich will be the annual meeting of GAMM, the International Association of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics. With applied mathematics covered by the ICIAM program, the GAMM meeting will focus on mechanics, with five invited lectures and five invited minisymposia. T. Pedley, a fluid dynamicist at Cambridge University who works on flows in medical and biological settings (e.g., blood flow in the giraffe jugular vein), will give the 50th Ludwig Prandtl Memorial Lecture, a GAMM tradition that commemorates the great fluid dynamicist Ludwig Prandtl (1875–1953). Also scheduled for the GAMM meeting is presentation of the Richard von Mises Prize to a young scientist for exceptional scientific achievements in applied mathematics and mechanics.

The European Society of Mathematical and Theoretical Biology will hold a two-day meeting on computational cell biology. The Chinese Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, CSIAM, will also hold a one-day embedded meeting with six invited speakers.

To open the floor to mathematicians from developing countries in the southern hemisphere, the African Mathematical Union and Unión Matemática de America Latina y el Caribe are both organizing one-day embedded meetings. As the ICIAM representative to the Developing Countries Strategic Group of the International Mathematical Union, Andreas Griewank of Humboldt University, Berlin, is organizing a roundtable session on mathematics in developing countries.

Seven "Industry Days" have been organized to bring industry into the program, with discussions each day to be focused on a specific industrial sector. In general, the speakers will be drawn about equally from industry and academia. Discussions will center on problems typical in the featured industry; some speakers will present problems for which concrete solutions are not currently known, and others will describe techniques that are common practice today. The Industry Days are designed to attract and foster communication between regular delegates at ICIAM 07 (and embedded meetings) who are interested in learning of problems in an industrial sector that are amenable to mathematical solution, and participants from industry who hope to learn of academic research developments that might be of interest in their industrial sector. The topics chosen are from industries relevant to Switzerland and neighbouring countries.

Industry Day topics include "Simulating Flows in Food Processing," which means calculating the flow of chocolate, organized by Erich Josef Windhab; "Risk Management in Financial and Energy Markets," clearly a hot topic in Zürich, organized by Erich Walter Farkas and Juri Hinz; "Predicting the Blockbuster in Pharmaceutical Design," organized by Gerd Folkers; and "Optimization of Telecommunication Infra-structure," organized by Martin Grötschel. Other industry day themes are transportation systems, computational electromagnetics, and optimization in aircraft design.

Several special lectures at ICIAM 07 will be given late in the day so that everyone can attend. The SIAM John von Neumann Lecture is scheduled for the first day, immediately preceding the opening reception. The Association for Women in Mathematics and the European Women in Mathematics together have established the Olga Taussky Todd Lecture, which is intended to become a regular part of ICIAM programs. The lecturer is to be a woman who has made outstanding contributions to applied mathematics and/or scientific computing. The lecture honours the memory of Olga Taussky Todd (1906–1995), whose scientific legacy is in both theoretical and applied mathematics; lecturers' work should exemplify the qualities of her contributions.

We will celebrate the tercentenary of the Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler, who was born in the neighbouring city of Basel in 1707, with a special lecture by Walter Gautschi of Purdue University (see article on other events planned for the Euler tercentenary). Finally, Ivar Ekeland of the University of British Columbia will deliver a public lecture.

As you will imagine, the organization of such an event is extremely complex. At certain times, we expect to have almost fifty parallel sessions in progress. To allow delegates to customize their schedules, we shall provide not only the classical program book but also a Web tool that will facilitate sifting through the huge volume of presentations. Wireless access to the Web will be provided, in addition to a large set of computers in separate rooms and distributed at several points throughout the venue. As usual, participants will be able to visit their favorite publishers, software producers, and organisations in the exhibition space. Far more could be written about ICIAM 07; the best way to stay informed is to check

The lake is clear and warm, and it is fun to swim down the river Limmat in the summer. Mountains for hiking are nearby, easily reached by train. In fact, you can start a hike to the Uetliberg directly from the conference venue. We encourage you to register and arrange your accommodations as early as possible. We have reserved space for all---those who travel economically, e.g., 15 USD a night, and those who prefer more luxurious accommodations. We look forward to seeing you in Zürich.

Rolf Jeltsch, a professor and head of the Seminar for Applied Mathematics at ETH Zürich, is the congress director of ICIAM 07.

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