SIAM News Blog

Meet SIAM’s Newest Leadership

Following SIAM’s recent elections, we are pleased to announce our new Board of Trustees members and Council, as elected by the SIAM membership.

The Board is responsible for the management of SIAM, including financial aspects such as budgets, funds, and investments, while taking into account the professional and scientific policies and objectives of the organization. The Council reviews and formulates the scientific policies of SIAM, monitoring the organization’s technical activities, proposing new activities, and recommending actions to the Board as appropriate. The newly elected Board of Trustees members and Council will serve January 1, 2021 through December 21, 2023.

Thank you to the entire slate of outstanding candidates for your willingness to serve the SIAM community in this capacity, and to the SIAM members who cast their votes.

* indicates incumbent 

Board of Trustees

Liliana Borcea, Department of Mathematics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Candidate Statement: In our world of rapidly developing technological discoveries a modern and interdisciplinary approach to science is crucial for dealing with the ever-growing scope and complexity of problems. Most areas of science, engineering and medicine are becoming dependent on mathematical and computational methodologies and they require a versatile generation of scientists that can move easily between disciplines. SIAM has played a key role in applied mathematics through its journals, activity groups and conferences. It has important activities such as the student chapters, dissertation and best paper prizes that encourage students to be engaged in research and to pursue careers in applied mathematics. 

I have been a SIAM member since graduate school, and it has been a privilege to serve in the council, editorial boards and committees. It would be an honor to continue serving the SIAM community as a member of the board. I am particularly interested in the involvement of SIAM in education, from the undergraduate to postdoctoral level. I believe that more can be done to attract undergraduate students to pursue a career in applied mathematics, through summer research programs, internships and special sessions at SIAM conferences. I would also like to see SIAM play an even stronger role in raising awareness about interdisciplinary research, career, research and education collaboration opportunities in industry and labs.

Jan S. Hesthaven, Institute of Mathematics, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), CH

Candidate Statement: The COVID-19 health crisis has shown us the importance of collaborations, not only nationally and between government, universities, and the private sector, but also on a global scale. SIAM is uniquely positioned worldwide to take leadership and highlight the importance of industrial and applied mathematics in addressing many of the challenges that lie ahead of us, and the critical importance our disciplines play in modern societies. This is also a unique opportunity to emphasize the importance of maintaining and strengthening education and research in traditional and emerging areas, anchored in industrial and applied mathematics. It would be a pleasure and a privilege to be part of this effort.

Esmond G. Ng, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory*

Candidate Statement: I have been a SIAM member for forty years and have benefited a great deal from this fantastic international professional society for applied and industrial mathematics. The SIAM conferences and workshops provide great venues for networking with fellow researchers and exchanging ideas with peers. The SIAM journals and books are among the top in applied and computational mathematics.

Like many organizations, SIAM is now facing new challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March 2020, most of the SIAM conferences and workshops have been cancelled or postponed while others have gone virtual. This situation may continue into the foreseeable future and will potentially impact the operation of SIAM for some time. Balancing operational expenses will be a challenge. When registration fees are waived, cost incurred for setting up and running virtual conferences and workshops cannot be recovered. Lack of in-person interactions during these events will likely impact new membership recruitment. In addition, sales of SIAM publications may be affected due to reduced opportunity to advertise and promote SIAM books at conferences and workshops. These are just some of the issues. We should also examine other services SIAM offers to its members as they become impacted. As the Board of Trustees is responsible for the management of SIAM, if re-elected as member, I will continue to work with the Board and SIAM to ensure that proper financial and operational decisions are made to overcome these challenges.

Council Members-at-Large

Elizabeth Cherry, Georgia Institute of Technology

Candidate statement: It is an honor to be nominated as a candidate for the SIAM Council. I have been a member since I organized my first minisymposium in 2000, and throughout my career I have been proud to call SIAM my professional home where I have found guidance together with new colleagues and research activities. I want SIAM to play that same role in the lives of new as well as established practitioners in applied and industrial mathematics and adjacent fields. Thus, it would be a privilege to serve SIAM in new ways, both in helping it to maintain its prominence as a global leader and to help it address new challenges and opportunities. 

With the current global pandemic, we face a situation unlike any in recent history. New paradigms for education, collaboration, and professional interactions and networking are developing in real time. One of the main challenges SIAM will face is identifying new needs for connecting applied mathematics community members as well as developing and implementing creative supporting approaches and technologies. 

By addressing the challenges of maintaining and extending connections, SIAM can continue to strengthen its position as a global leader. First, as has been increasingly acknowledged, engaging the community worldwide is of paramount importance. Talent and passion know no geographic boundaries, and SIAM should continue to increase its global membership, co-sponsor international conferences, and partner with similar organizations around the world. Second, SIAM appeals to a range of disciplines beyond mathematics. Many engineers, computer scientists, physicists, and other scientists have interests that intersect with applied mathematics. SIAM can include these neighboring disciplines in discussions for future directions and further promote interdisciplinary research and collaboration. Third, broadening participation in the applied and industrial math community has never been more urgent. Thoughtful engagement with communities traditionally underrepresented in STEM can help us make our mathematical and scientific communities reflect and benefit from the diversity of the world around us. While some of this can be done through engagement of the global community, targeted partnerships to increase the interest of K-12 and undergraduate students will be needed as well. All of these activities can benefit from new tools and approaches for outreach that we will need to cultivate intentionally as we continue to deal with the global pandemic.

Hans De Sterck, University of Waterloo

Candidate Statement: As the main international professional society in the area of applied and computational mathematics, SIAM plays a crucial role in the professional life of our research community, and in shaping the influence of mathematics throughout society. This is especially true in the current age of the data revolution, where quantitative understanding and prediction increasingly permeate all aspects of life. 

If elected as a member of the SIAM Council, I seek to dedicate my skills and energy to help shape the directions of SIAM in terms of its scientific policies and activities. Since the landscape of research and applications in computational and applied mathematics keeps on evolving rapidly, there is no shortage of topics that will require the council's specific attention over the coming years. As part of this, I would be happy to contribute to setting SIAM's directions and initiatives in the quickly developing and interdisciplinary area of data science; for example, I am currently actively involved in SIAM's initiative to establish an activity group on Data Science. Similarly important topics for SIAM are the evolving environment for publishing scientific research, including SIAM's positioning with respect to open access publishing and reproducibility; how to effect real change in improving equity and accessibility to education and research careers for underrepresented groups; and effective conference formats in a pandemic and post-pandemic world. I hope to be able to make useful contributions to these discussions, aided by my broad international experience with academic positions held in Belgium, USA, Canada, and Australia; my interdisciplinary view on research; my long-time experience serving on the editorial board of one of SIAM's journals; and my experience as an officer of SIAM activity groups and as a co-chair of a large SIAM conference.

It goes without saying that SIAM, with its leading journals and conferences, is a great asset to our scientific community. I would be honoured if I could contribute to further building out the reach and effectiveness of the society as a member of the SIAM Council.

Alicia Dickenstein, University of Buenos Aires and CONICET

Candidate Statement: It is a great honor to stand for election to the SIAM Council.

My mathematical path began in pure mathematics and I studied and have always worked in Argentina. Thus, I joined SIAM in 2011 on the occasion of the first SIAM Activity Group Conference on Applied Algebraic Geometry, when the Activity Group on Algebraic Geometry was created. Our Activity Group  grew rapidly, generating a very interesting and fruitful community membership atmosphere and supporting members' professional development at different stages of their careers. This friendly and inclusive sense of community seems to be distinctive to all SIAM Chapters and Activity Groups and is one of the assets of the SIAM membership. All my experience with the Society has been very satisfactory. In particular, my interactions with the efficient SIAM publishing staff as one of the inaugural corresponding editors of SIAGA, the new SIAM Journal on Applied Algebra and Geometry.

Other Activity Groups have joined more recently, demonstrating that SIAM is open to adapting to changes in our discipline. This capacity will be more necessary to get out of the current situation due to the pandemic. In addition to the many challenges related to funding, underrepresentation, publishing, industry engagement, education and outreach, we will have to incorporate the experiences and new scientific developments that emerged from the COVID-19 outbreak. While nothing can replace the personal interactions that naturally lead to the free flow of ideas at a scientific conference, and we all look forward to getting back to them, virtual meetings allow broader communities of scientists to stay connected and expand participation to those in trouble due to small children or other family responsibilities, financing or other commitments. Besides all those challenges and the role of applied mathematics in new areas, we could explore the desirability of hybrid versions of interactions and networks.

If elected, I will be delighted to serve the SIAM community and contribute to the continued success of SIAM.

Laura Grigori, INRIA France*

Candidate Statement: I would be honored to continue to serve as a member of the SIAM Council. The last two and a half years spent as a member of the Council were very instructive and inspiring for me and I would be delighted to continue to focus on three aspects I am particularly attached to. First, I believe SIAM should continue to attract new generations of researchers and make a difference in their career.  Programs that allow junior researchers from all over the world to attend conferences and summer schools are particularly effective means in achieving such goals. These programs allow to educate on highly relevant topics, but also create an environment conducive to generation of creative ideas and fruitful long-term collaborations. The Gene Golub SIAM Summer School is such a program and I was pleased to co-organize its 2019 edition in France, which showed that progress in some of the objectives I value: attracting junior researchers to SIAM and increasing diversity, can be effectively made. As a member of the Council, I will continue to encourage and support such efforts. Second, diversity in its many forms remains an issue that needs to be addressed continually. We need to improve diversity in applied mathematics in multiple areas, such as participation to conferences and summer schools, but also increase the diversity of editorial boards, plenary speakers or prize recipients. We need to broaden discussions about the lack of minority representations, give voice to the minority members of SIAM, in order to find effective actions to counter that trend. Third, the open-access era is changing the way we disseminate our research. SIAM is directly affected by this issue and sustainable models for implementing open-access are needed. Input from the community is needed to allow SIAM to be an example of high quality open-access dissemination.

Lois Curfman McInnes, Mathematics and Computer Science Division, Argonne National Laboratory*

Candidate Statement: SIAM is the leading international professional society for advancing the principles of applied mathematics as well as computational science and engineering (CSE), while fostering the vibrant exchange of ideas among a community of applied mathematicians, computer scientists, engineers, and domain scientists from academia, industry, and research laboratories. SIAM should continue to play a prominent role in advancing next-generation interdisciplinary strategies for applied mathematics and CSE in light of recent trends—including significant broadening of application fields and industrial opportunities, dramatic growth of computational power, the increasing role of data science, and recognition of the importance of flexible software as a cornerstone of long-term collaboration as we work toward truly predictive CSE. SIAM also has an opportunity to promote dialogue on strategies to address the growing demand for an international workforce with skills in applied mathematics as well as computational and data science. 

I would be honored to serve a second term as a member of the SIAM Council. A key issue from my perspective is exploring and expanding the use of technologies to support SIAM community interaction, even while we are socially distanced. Leveraging such technologies could enable the SIAM community to re-imagine events and outreach to incorporate hybrid elements that fully support remote participation, and thereby expand participation in ways that we’re only beginning to fathom. Other important topics include broadening interdisciplinary education and research; extending connections among the academic, industrial, and research laboratory segments of the SIAM community; and promoting broader engagement in SIAM from under-represented groups. SIAM’s activity groups, conferences, journals, career fairs, student chapters, visiting speaker program, and online presence are important avenues for community engagement on these crosscutting issues.

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