SIAM's 1999 Annual Meeting: A Nod to Tradition, A Focus on the Future

March 22, 1999


Of special interest to organizing committee co-chair Fan Chung Graham are the meeting's sessions on very new areas, such as the mathematics of dynamic graphs.
A reader who took the advice of SIAM president Gilbert Strang to heart (see his column) would have a pretty full travel schedule in the coming months, and well into the summer. The focused, special-interest meetings and workshops aside, SIAM News reminds readers of two major upcoming events of interest to the computational and applied mathematics community: ICIAM---the Fourth International Congress on Industrial and Applied Mathematics---to be held in Edinburgh, July 5-9, and the 1999 SIAM Annual Meeting, scheduled for Atlanta, May 12-15, immediately following the Sixth SIAM Conference on Optimization (May 10-12). (As in every ICIAM year, SIAM has moved the annual meeting to May from the usual week in July.)

In phone conversations with Fan Chung Graham and Jack Dongarra, chairs of the organizing committee for the Atlanta meeting, SIAM News requested some meeting highlights to pass along to readers. Along with "traditional SIAM themes," Dongarra says, the meeting will provide "some directions for the future, in terms of topics like Internet computing ("computing on the grid") and algorithms for data and information retrieval. Also of interest, he says, are some of the topics---like combinatorial optimization and graph theory---that will "bleed over from the adjacent optimization meeting."

Complementing the meeting's traditional themes, says Atlanta organizing committee co-chair Jack Dongarra, is an emphasis on future directions-among which he finds Internet computing particularly compelling.

Two joint invited addresses have been scheduled for the meetings. Olvi Mangasarian, whose work on linear programming in the diagnosis of breast cancer has appeared in SIAM News, will speak on optimization in machine learning and data mining. David Keyes will give a talk titled "Krylov, Lagrange, Newton, and Schwarz: Combinations and Permutations."

"The meeting will reflect the critical role mathematics is playing in capturing the exciting developments in information technology," says Chung of what she views as the "really strong program" the committee has put together. "The program covers a variety of current activities of great interest to mathematicians both in theory and in practice."

In her own area---discrete mathematics---Chung points to about a dozen "excellent minisymposia." Especially intriguing for being in a very new area, she tells SIAM News, is a session on the mathematics of dynamic graphs---graphs arising in the analysis of massive data sets. The question is, she says, "How will you run your graph algorithms? You don't have enough memory to run everything." It's here that graph theory comes into play: "One thing that's exciting is that the algorithms you need are different from before. With the traditional algorithms, you have the computer doing what you need. . . . How do you search a truly huge data set?"

One session designed to appeal to the broadest possible audience---conference participants and Atlanta residents alike---is Richard Tapia's I.E. Block Community Lecture. Tapia, who seems never to have met an audience he couldn't inspire, plans to focus not on mathematical modeling but rather on the use of simple mathematical principles to explain phenomena familiar to car and BMX bicycle racing enthusiasts. If the topic doesn't sound appealing, plan to attend just to watch him draw the audience in!

The John von Neumann Lecture, among SIAM's highest honors, will be given this year by Charles Peskin. Peskin was nominated for his contributions to the mathematical and computational analysis of physiological systems, notably the heart. His work has included the development of novel methods for solving equations of fluid mechanics with immersed, elastic boundaries.

Meeting highlights include John Guckenheimer's retiring president's address, "Beyond Simulation-Computing Dynamical Systems."

The complete programs for both SIAM meetings can be found on the Web at http://www.siam.org.

In addition to the talks of Olvi Mangasarian and David Keyes, the Atlanta program will feature the following invited talks and speakers:


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