No Problems at the Boundaries for an Increasingly International SIAM

April 9, 2001

Talk of the Society
Thomas Manteuffel and James Crowley

Research in applied mathematics and computational science is a global enterprise, and SIAM has been evolving in several directions to reflect the international nature of what we do. Consider the SIAM membership. The proportion of our members who live and work outside the U.S. has grown from about a fifth during the 1980s to more than a third today. The SIAM Council now has three members (Nick Higham, Nick Trefethen, and Henk van der Vorst) from outside the U.S., and last fall's elections brought to the Board of Trustees a new member from Europe, Paul Van Dooren. (As editor-in-chief of SIAM Journal on Matrix Analysis and Applications since 1996, Van Dooren is also part of a similar trend for the SIAM journals.) This increasing globalization is reflected in many of SIAM's activities. Some, like our journals, have always been very global; others are still in the process of becoming international. A few examples follow.

Journals. We've seen an increasing representation of people from outside the U.S. among editors and authors of SIAM journal papers. Ten members of the SIAM Journal on Mathematical Analysis board, for example, are from outside the U.S. Countries represented on the SIMA board include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, and Switzerland. Roughly half the authors of papers published in recent issues of the journal are from outside the U.S.

SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing is a similarly international effort, with ten members of the editorial board from outside the U.S. (represented are Australia, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, and the UK, among others); again, about half the authors are from outside the U.S. Overall, approximately 34% of the members of SIAM journal editorial boards come from outside the U.S.

The SIAM journals reflect the global nature of research, accepting---as expected---the best papers, based on quality.

Conferences. Conferences are a bit more difficult to establish on a truly international basis, as time and expense for distant travel limit attendance somewhat, especially for students and junior faculty. Nevertheless, SIAM is seeking to serve its members outside North America in various ways.

For example, SIAM has established several regional sections outside the U.S. (in the United Kingdom and Ireland, East Asia, and Mexico). The UKIE Section, established in 1996, holds conferences for its members that have come to be anticipated annual events (see Andy Wathen's report on this year's conference, SIAM News, March 2001).

Another approach is to hold conferences in cooperation with other societies. An especially exciting example is coming up later this year. Applied Mathematics in Our Changing World, organized jointly by the European Mathematics Society and SIAM, will be held in Berlin, September 2-6, 2001. The organizers have put together an outstanding list of invited speakers, who will focus on medicine, biotechnology, materials science, environmental science, finance, traffic, and communication, among other themes.

To round out the program, program committee chair Peter Deuflhard encourages people to pick up on the themes of the invited talks and organize minisymposia. Minisymposia should follow the usual format---two organizers, four 30-minute talks; the deadline for submission of minisymposium proposals is May 15.

ICIAM, the well-known international congress held every four years, most recently (1999) in Edinburgh, is another form of international cooperation on conferences. CICIAM, which sponsors the ICIAM meetings, is an international organization of some 17 societies interested in applied mathematics; SIAM was one of the founding members and continues to be a strong supporter of the congresses. The next ICIAM will be held in Sydney, Australia, July 7-11, 2003. While ICIAM 2003 is still in the preliminary planning stages and further details will be posted as they become available.

SIAM News. SIAM News is always looking for ways to reflect the interests of the entire SIAM membership. Given the global nature of research in our field, news about research trends, ideas, and people in one country affects all of us.

In this issue, readers will find an article by Antonio Fasano on work done by his group in Florence in part for an Italian company; it was Renato Spigler of the University of Roma Tre, as a member of the SIAM News editorial board, who brought the article to SIAM News. (Among other results of his energetic efforts is an upcoming article by Alfio Quarteroni, who will be giving an invited talk on mathematics and medicine at the EMS/SIAM conference mentioned earlier.) SIAM News encourages readers in other countries and regions of the world to take a cue from these writers and editors---help SIAM News report on research and issues of interest to the entire SIAM membership. All suggestions welcome: siamnews@siam.org.

The SIAM leadership continues to look for ways to serve our worldwide membership. If you have specific ideas about how this can be better accomplished, please feel free to contact either of us.


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