SIAM News Blog

Obituary: Roland Sweet

By Tom Manteuffel

Mathematician Roland Sweet passed away on April 15, 2019, with his family by his side.

Born on March 14, 1940 in St. Petersburg, Fl., Roland earned his Ph.D. in computer science at Purdue University in 1967. He was an assistant professor at Cornell University, and spent summers working at Argonne National Laboratory and Marathon Oil. Roland accepted a position with the Department of Mathematics at the University of Colorado in 1970, where he taught at the Denver campus and consulted at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. He received tenure in 1974. In 1980, Roland joined the National Bureau of Standards (NBS, now the National Institute of Standards and Technology) in Gaithersburg, Md. Two years later, he transferred to the NBS laboratory in Boulder, Co. Roland joined the Department of Mathematics at the University of Colorado Denver, in 1985; he became director of the Computational Mathematics Group in 1988.

Along with Paul Swarztrauber, Roland was one of the early pioneers of fast direct Poisson solvers using the methods of Fourier analysis and cyclic reduction. This resulted in the widely-used software package FISHPACK for sequential, vector, and parallel processors.

Roland retired for the first time in 1996 and spent two years sailing around the Caribbean with his wife, Linda Lindgren. After that adventure he worked in Seattle, Wash., for LizardTech, where he developed image processing software. He also worked for several companies in McKinney, Texas. Roland retired for the last time in 2008 and spent his final years in Boulder, where he became deeply involved in the Boulder Homeless Shelter and Earth’s Table, a community garden dedicated to eliminating hunger in its area.

Roland was a good friend and colleague. He had an easy smile, a quick wit, and a great sense humor. We will all miss him dearly.

More information on Roland Sweet is available online.

Tom Manteuffel is professor emeritus of applied mathematics at the University of Colorado Boulder.

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