A personal and historical view of computational mathematics

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Tony Chan, President, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology


Computational mathematics has a millennium long history but its modern incarnation started after the advent of electronic computers about 80 years ago. Scientifically, it lies in the intersection between mathematics, a subject with a long history, and computer sciences, a relatively new discipline. Its motivations, approaches and practitioners have derived from different fields, and it has also had to evolve and adapt to new tools and opportunities. My own scientific career overlaps quite a bit with the field’s modern evolution and in this talk, I’ll give a personal, as well as a “historical” view of the field.

Brief Biography

President Chan assumed his role as the third president of KAUST in September 2018 after nearly a decade as president of The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). HKUST's global visibility and recognition significantly increased during his leadership.

Before joining HKUST, President Chan was Assistant Director of the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate at the US National Science Foundation from 2006 to 2009.
He taught Computer Science at Yale University before joining UCLA as Professor of Mathematics in 1986 and was Chair of the Department of Mathematics in 1997 and later Dean of Physical Sciences.

He was a co-founder of the US NSF funded National Math Institute IPAM.
He is on the Board of Trustees/Directors of Hong Kong Academy of Science; IPAM, UCLA; KACST, Saudi Arabia; Skolkovo, Russia and Yidan Prize Foundation, Hong Kong. He is also on the Advisory Board/Committee of the Academic Ranking of World Universities, China; KFUPM, Saudi Arabia; KAIST, Korea; NEOM, Saudi Arabia; RIKEN, Japan; SUSTech, China; University of Vienna, Austria.

He received his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Engineering from Caltech and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford University, and he pursued postdoctoral research at Caltech as Research Fellow. He holds an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Strathclyde. He is a member of US National Academy of Engineering.