The James H. Wilkinson Prize for Numerical Software honors the outstanding contributions of James H. Wilkinson to the field of numerical software. The prize is awarded every four years to recognize innovative software in scientific computing. The prize is intended to encourage researchers in the earlier stages of their career.
Dr. James Hardy Wilkinson spent most of his working life at the National Physical Laboratory and regularly visited Argonne National Laboratory and the Numerical Algorithms Group. In honor of his outstanding contributions to the field of numerical software, Argonne National Laboratory (ANL; Argonne, IL), the National Physical Laboratory (NPL; Teddington, Middlesex, England,) , and the Numerical Algorithms Group Ltd (NAG; Oxford, England), established the Wilkinson Prize for Numerical Software and sponsored the award every four years at the International Congress on Industrial and Applied Mathematics (ICIAM) beginning with the 1991 award. By agreement among ANL, NPL, NAG, and SIAM, the prize will be administered by SIAM starting with the 2019 award. The prize fund was established by generous donations in 2015 from ANL, NPL, and NAG.
The committee will be an ad hoc committee. On the advice of the SIAM Vice President at Large and in consultation with the previous committee members, the SIAM President will appoint five members from the scientific computing community. Committee members must be members of SIAM. The president will seek to ensure a diverse composition of the prize committee in research area, gender, geography, employment sector (industry, national laboratories, universities), and under-represented groups. Appointments should be made at least eighteen months before the award date.
Eligibility is limited to researchers who have worked in mathematics or science for at most 12 years after receiving their highest degree; candidates who have not worked continuously in the field are also eligible if they are at an equivalent stage in their career.
The prize will be awarded to the authors of an outstanding piece of numerical software, or to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to an existing piece of numerical software. In the latter case, nominations must clearly distinguish the personal contributions of the nominee and have that contribution authenticated, and the nomination must be written in terms of that personal contribution and not of the software as a whole.
The prize will be awarded to an entry that best addresses all phases of the preparation of high-quality numerical software. Selection will be based on:
- Clarity of the software implementation and documentation;
- Importance of the application(s) addressed by the software;
- Portability, reliability, efficiency, and usability of the software implementation;
- Clarity and depth of analysis of the algorithms and the software in the accompanying paper;
- Quality of the test software.
Rules of Operation
The prize committee will follow the ‘best practices’ set out in the SIAM document for Selection Committees. The prize committee will follow the SIAM rules for conflicts of interest as posted on the SIAM web site.
The prize committee will report its findings to the president at least seven months prior to the award date. The recommendation for the award must be accompanied by a written justification and citation of about 100 words that can be read at the time of the award. The president will report these findings to the executive committee of the council.
If the recommendation is not accepted, the prize committee may offer a second recommendation. However, this must be done so as to allow acceptance or rejection by the executive committee at least six months before the award date.
The Selection Committee has the authority to choose to abstain from giving the award if there is no acceptable individual. If the award is not given for this reason, a new selection committee will be selected for the next award cycle.
The president will notify the recipient(s) at least six months before the award date.
Prize Award Date
The prize is given every fourth year, normally at the SIAM Conference on Computational Science and Engineering (CSE conference). If no prize is awarded, the award date moves ahead four years.
Description of the Award
A $3,000 cash award and a suitable engraved plaque will be presented to the recipient(s). As part of the award, the recipient is requested to deliver a lecture at the conference where the prize is awarded. Should there be more than one recipient, one individual should be designated to deliver the lecture. SIAM will reimburse the travel expenses incurred by one speaker in attending the conference to accept the award and deliver the lecture.
The Award Presentation
The chair of the prize committee will announce the winner, read the citation, and present the plaque(s) to the winner(s).
The Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), National Physical Laboratory (NPL), and the Numerical Algorithms Group Ltd (NAG) established the Wilkinson Prize for Numerical Software and sponsored the award every four years at the ICIAM meetings from 1991 through 2015. In 2015, SIAM assumed administration of the prize to start with the 2019 award. Beginning in 2019, the prize will be awarded every four years at a meeting of the SIAM Conference on Computational Science and Engineering.
 An award decision will also be postponed to the next cycle if the number of nominations does not meet the required number to forward to the selection committee. See SIAM Prize Policy for more information.