SIAM News Blog

SIAM Announces Major CS&E Prizes

The following prizes will be awarded at the SIAM Conference on Computational Science and Engineering (CSE19), to be held February 25-March 1 in Spokane, Wash.

SIAM/ACM Prize in Computational Science and Engineering

Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee.
Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee (UT) will receive the SIAM/ACM Prize in Computational Science and Engineering. SIAM awards this prize jointly with the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) every two years for outstanding contributions to the development and use of mathematical and computational tools and methods for the solution of science and engineering problems. With this award, SIAM and the ACM recognize Dongarra for his key role in the development of software, software standards, software repositories, and performance and benchmarking software, as well as his community efforts to prepare for the challenges of exascale computing, especially in the adaptation of linear algebra infrastructure to emerging architectures.

Dongarra holds appointments as University Distinguished Professor of Computer Science in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department, and director of both the Innovative Computing Laboratory and the Center for Information Technology Research at UT. He is also a Distinguished Research Staff member in the Computer Science and Mathematics Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a Turing Fellow at Manchester University, and an adjunct professor in the Computer Science Department at Rice University.

“The list of people who have been awarded this prize is truly amazing, and to be included on that list is humbling and a great honor, as it validates the work we have been doing in a major way,” Dongarra said. “The work helps form the basic part of the fabric of computational science and high-performance computing. It can be directly integrated with many important technologies, which have uses in large-scale computations in medical and health sciences, high-performance computing for biomedical and biomechanical engineering, parallel computing in bioinformation and computational biology, modeling and simulation of materials sciences and processing controls, environmental sciences and physics, chemical and biochemical systems simulations, and other areas.”

The research that won the prize was developed with support from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy. Dongarra’s software is freely available to the community.

James H. Wilkinson Prize for Numerical Software

Jeff Bezanson, Stefan Karpinski, and Viral B. Shah of Julia Computing are the 2019 recipients of the James H. Wilkinson Prize for Numerical Software.

This prize recognizes innovative software in scientific computing developed by researchers in the earlier stages of their careers. To be eligible for the award, candidates must have worked in mathematics or science for no more than 12 years after receiving their Ph.D., allowing for breaks in continuity. The prize was established by Argonne National Laboratory, the National Physical Laboratory, and the Numerical Algorithms Group Ltd. in honor of James H. Wilkinson’s outstanding contributions to the field of numerical software.

The award recognizes Bezanson, Karpinski, and Shah for the development of Julia, an innovative environment for the creation of high-performance tools that enable the analysis and solution of computational science problems. Julia allows researchers to write high-level code in an intuitive syntax and produce code with the speed of production programming languages. The scientific computing community has widely adopted it for application areas that include astronomy, economics, deep learning, energy optimization, and medicine. In particular, the Federal Aviation Administration has chosen Julia as the language for the next-generation airborne collision avoidance system.

From left to right: Jeff Bezanson, Stefan Karpinski, and Viral B. Shah of Julia Computing.

Bezanson conducted his Ph.D. thesis work on Julia, after which he co-founded Julia Computing with Karpinski to continue pushing the ideas and abstractions behind the software into new domains and bring the benefits of Julia to industry and academic users worldwide. Julia began as a hobby for Shah but has grown into a full-time preoccupation. He is currently the chief executive officer of Julia Computing.

The recipients expressed their delight upon winning the award. “We are very excited on a personal level to receive the 2019 James H. Wilkinson Prize for Numerical Software, but even more so for the Julia community as a whole,” they said. “The prize is really a recognition of the community and accomplishments of the people developing amazing projects and libraries in Julia. The past winners of this prize have been a huge inspiration to us.”

Bezanson, Karpinski, and Shah conveyed their gratitude to Alan Edelman, who—while not eligible for the prize—is the fourth co-founder of the Julia Project. “Without Alan’s support and mentorship, Julia would have been extremely difficult to pull off,” they said. “And it was already a long shot.”

The trio also outlined Julia’s offerings to society at large. “Julia brings down the time and cost for trying new ideas, inventing new algorithms, and creating new products,” they continued. “Our community does research related to many of the grand challenges identified by the National Academy of Engineering, including climate change, affordable healthcare, clean energy, personalized medicine and education, and more. We stay attuned to our community and focus on building abstractions and capabilities in Julia that will help researchers achieve these greater goals. Enabling them and seeing the amazing things that they do with it gets us excited to work on Julia every morning!”

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