SIAM Introduces Interdisciplinary Journal on Multiscale Science

March 2, 2002

Thomas Hou

Thomas Hou, the founding editor-in-chief of SIAM's newest journal---Multiscale Modeling and Simulation---points out that multiscale modeling is highly interdisciplinary, "with developments occurring independently across fields."

Not surprisingly, given his interest in hydrodynamic instability (see accompanying article), turbulent fluid flow is prominent among his examples of the broad range of scientific and engineering problems that involve multiple scales. He also mentions materials science, where "small defects or microstructures can affect the macroscopic properties," and biology, where "phenomena on the molecular level affect those on cellular scales." In fact, he says, such problems "pervade the spectrum of central national concerns, including the Internet, global climate modeling, environmental studies, and oil prospecting. In all of these phenomena, dynamics on fine spatiotemporal scales are a determining factor in overall coarse-scale behavior."

Systematic modeling and simulation approaches need to be developed for these problems, says Hou, who describes recent advances as "exciting" but "problem-specific." Multiscale science is fragmented, he says, in methods, analysis, and applications. "Breakthroughs in specific domains could be applicable in a broader context, but remain isolated."

The "domain journals," SIAM executive director James Crowley points out, are often results-oriented, with details about the methods presented in cursory fashion or not at all. The result, Hou says, is that "multiscale descriptions are nowhere near their potential level of impact, including in education and industry."

The new journal has been created to remedy the fragmentation, serving as a single, broad, authoritative source for new results in this area. Publication of the first issue of Multiscale Modeling and Simulation is tentatively scheduled for early 2003.

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