CS&E: First of Many Firsts on SIAM's Agenda

October 21, 2000

From the SIAM President
Gilbert Strang

As the summer ends and the school year begins, there is a visible change in SIAM's activities. No more annual meetings on the beach, to the president's deep regret (you might guess that I am writing these words on Labor Day, the exact phase transition). Our conferences in the coming months are more focused on specific areas of applied mathematics. The SIAM Activity Groups play the central role in organizing these meetings, and I would like to thank the officers and program committees who make them successful.

By the time you read this, SIAM's first computational science and engineering conference will have taken place. Because the subject is so central to our society, I will not be surprised if this conference becomes a regular event. Tom Manteuffel, who will be the SIAM president as of January 1, will lead an open discussion of the possibility of an activity group in CS&E. Many of the invited speakers at this meeting are from outside SIAM, and they will be bringing new (and large) computational problems. Often a better algorithm can transform a whole area of computational science---which is part of our job!

The conference on applied linear algebra will be held in Raleigh, October 22-24. That subject has a long tradition within SIAM, because linear algebra is embedded in so many computations. Matrix factorizations are part of the language, and top-quality software is used everywhere. We are happy to be sharing this conference with the International Linear Algebra Society, and I look forward to it.

(I think it is extremely important that the areas of mathematics covered by SIAM continue to grow and develop far beyond any single topic. Our largest activity group meetings are now in dynamical systems---and the whole interest in most of those systems is their nonlinearity. I am really struck by the tremendous range of mathematics that SIAM includes, and I am certain that this is an extremely healthy way to develop. It must be part of the reason for our growth around the world. And there are areas of industrial mathematics just waiting for the improvements that must come.)

SIAM has more conferences on the calendar for 2001 than in any previous year! This will be our first year with a large meeting outside North America (next September in Berlin), and the data mining and life sciences and imaging science conferences will also be de novo. 2001 will also be the first year with our own representation in Washington! And we are thinking about a way to thank referees and reward their unselfish contributions to SIAM journals---we depend so much on referees and editors, why not do something in return?

I will write about these and other good things in the November and December columns. I hope also to say something more about my feelings and hopes for our society.

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