SIAM News Blog

New: SIAM Activity Group on Applied and Computational Discrete Algorithms

SIAM recently created a new activity group, SIAM Activity Group on Applied and Computational Discrete Algorithms. This activity group fosters research on the computational solution of combinatorial problems in areas including combinatorial scientific computing, algorithmic computer science, algorithm engineering, algorithmic differentiation, combinatorial optimization, and emerging applications. Drawing from academia, the national research labs, and industry, the activity group will bring together mathematicians, computer scientists, statisticians, scientists, and engineers to promote research in applies and computational combinatorics. 

Alex Pothen, SIAM Activity Group on Applied and Computational Discrete Algorithms Chair

The SIAM Activity Group Chair, Alex Pothen, answered a few questions highlighting the new activity group: 

Q1: What is the importance of this new activity group for professionals, academia, and other groups?

A1: Graphs, networks, and combinatorial models are ubiquitous in contemporary science, engineering, information science, the social sciences, etc. 

This SIAM Activity Group on Applied and Computational Discrete Algorithms (ACDA) will bring together researchers who design and study combinatorial and graph algorithms motivated by applications. This community works on: the formulation of combinatorial problems; theoretical analyses; design of algorithms; computational evaluation of the algorithms; and deployment of the resulting software to enable applications. Several subcommunities are expected to join the activity group. Among these are combinatorial scientific computing (CSC), algorithmic differentiation (AD), parallel computing, algorithm engineering, combinatorial optimization, as well as researchers interested in combinatorial aspects of existing and emerging domains such as machine learning, security, computer systems, data analytics, network science, quantum computing, bioinformatics, etc. The goal is to form a community united by the mathematical and algorithmic techniques employed rather than fragmented by the specific application areas where the algorithms are used.

Q2:  What do you hope the new activity group accomplishes in 2019?

A2: Our first task is to grow the ACDA community by getting the word out, bringing a number of subcommunities together. One way to accomplish this is to have an advisory committee consisting of researchers from the various subcommunities joining us.

We will plan the organization of the first SIAM Conference on ACDA in 2021 by putting together specifics on how the meeting should be run. The meeting would be a hybrid SIAM conference model, with refereed proceedings and also contributed talks selected from abstracts. We expect to have a program committee for the conference representing the  various subcommunities by summer of 2020.

A longer term goal is to have a journal venue for publishing longer papers on ACDA than the typical conference paper would allow (10 to 12 pages usually).

Q3: Does the SIAM Activity Group on Applied and Computational Discrete Algorithms leadership have plans for any upcoming activities?

A3: The activity group leadership team for a two year term is: Blair Sullivan (North Carolina State University); John Gilbert (University of California, Santa Barbara); Cynthia Phillips (Sandia National Laboratories); and me.

We now have a list-serve for regular communications within the activity group membership. Dr. Bora Ucar (ENS, Lyon) and Dr. Cynthia Phillips will serve as the initial moderators. We welcome contributions from all who have news to share (research results, conferences, job postings, etc.).

We have organized minisymposia at the SIAM Conference on Computational Science and Engineering (CSE19) in February; will have minisymposia at ICIAM in Valencia, Spain in July; some of the members of our activity group will also organize the SIAM Workshop on Combinatorial Scientific Computing (CSC20) in February 2020.

There are new meetings being organized with the co-operation of the activity group, such as SIAM-ACM Symposium on Algorithmic Principles of Computer Science (APOCS20), collocated with ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms (SODA20).

We also plan to organize a reception and talk on algorithms motivated by applications at SODA20.  

Q4: How do you plan to engage the student members of the activity group?

A4: We are asking students on how best we can be of help to them. Here are some ideas:

  • Have the list serve post job announcements
  • Have slots assigned to students for conference presentations
  • Connect them to colleagues working in industry, and provide mentoring opportunities
  • Help them organize local and regional meetings

Q5: What are you most excited about doing first as the activity group chair? Or have already done?

A5: We had contacted a number of colleagues interested in joining the activity group to submit a petition to SIAM. Several of these are SIAM members already, but several are not. We look forward to engaging with them as we put together the SIAM Conference on ACDA and growing our community.

Please see the answer to question 3.

Q6: What’s one thing you want the public and SIAM members to know about the new activity group?

A6: The strength of SIAM is its members, who come from academia, industry, government labs; from various countries; and at all stages of their careers. We invite new and existing SIAM members who share our interests in ACDA to join the activity group. We (Blair, John, Cindy, and Alex) look forward to ideas from members on how we can grow and sustain a thriving activity group.

Learn more about the SIAM Activity Group on Applied and Computational Discrete Algorithms and learn how to join here.

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