SIAM and CAIMS Join Forces in Successful Montreal Meeting

September 30, 2003

Each about to be honored at the CAIMS/SIAM award ceremony, Phillip Colella (left), Heinz-Otto Kreiss (middle), and Gilbert Strang prolonged a moment outdoors on a beautiful June morning in Montreal. Colella, with Lawrence Berkeley colleague John Bell, received the first SIAM/ACM Prize in Computational Science and Engineering (see "LBNL Researchers Bell and Colella Receive First SIAM/ACM Prize in CSE" for details). Kreiss, the 2003 John von Neumann Lecturer, gave his talk ("Parabolic Problems Which Are Ill-Posed in the Zero Dissipation Limit") the day after the award luncheon, delighting experts in the field with a look at some new results. The SIAM Prize for Distinguished Service to the Profession, awarded from time to time as appropriate, found a worthy recipient this year in Gilbert Strang; the long citation (commending him for many and varied contributions) is summarized in spirit by the last two sentences: "His warmth, charm, and wit have made him an extraordinarily effective spokesperson and a great leader. We thank him for his many contributions to the mathematics community and for making SIAM a warmer, more open, and more effective society."

The Montreal meeting, held the week of June 16-20, was a joint venture: the 2003 SIAM Annual Meeting and the 24th Annual Meeting of CAIMS/SCMAI (the Canadian Applied and Industrial Mathematics Society/Société Canadienne de Mathématiques Appliquées et Industrielles). Before the award luncheon, SIAM president Mac Hyman conferred with his Canadian counterpart, CAIMS/SCMAI president Ken Jackson of the University of Toronto (right) and Samuel Shen, CAIMS/SCMAI's past president (left).

It's the traveling salesman problem's combination of simplicity and seeming intractability, Bill Cook pointed out in his I.E. Block Community Lecture on the subject, that has made it so interesting not only to mathematicians, but also to computer scientists, operations researchers, biologists, psychologists, chemists, and physicists. The beautifully clear lecture would have kept the audience entertained even without the athletic leaps from the floor to the stage with which Cook periodically punctuated the talk. See James Case's article on some of the novel applications and recent developments described by Cook.

Ilse Ipsen of North Carolina State University was the U.S. chair of the organizing committee for the Montreal meeting; her Canadian counterpart was Jacques Bélair of l'Université de Montréal. Reporting on the meeting begins in this issue and will continue in upcoming issues of SIAM News.

A month later: Another great city, on another continent, drew applied and computational mathematicians to another impressive meeting. ICIAM 03, the result of four years of intensive work and planning, unfolded beautifully in Sydney, Australia, from the welcome by congress director Noel Barton on Monday, July 7, to the wrapup session on the afternoon of Friday, July 11. Look for highlights in upcoming issues of SIAM News.

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