SIAM News Blog

SIAM Conferences and Programs Roar into the Twenties

By Richard Moore

January marks the start of a new decade and the end of my first year as SIAM’s director of Programs and Services. Both occasions inspire reflection on the success of SIAM conferences and programs over the last year, and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

The 2019 SIAM Conference on Computational Science and Engineering (CSE19), which took place last February in Spokane, Wash., had the distinction of being SIAM’s biggest-ever meeting with 1,895 attendees. The 2019 SIAM Conference on Applied Algebraic Geometry (AG19), held last July in Bern, Switzerland, and the 2019 SIAM Conference on Applications of Dynamical Systems (DS19), held last May in Snowbird, Utah, also experienced significant jumps in attendance. Indeed, the meeting commonly known as “Snowbird” has grown so large that its next iteration in May 2021 will take place in Portland, Ore., to better accommodate attendees. In addition to providing more hotel capacity and meeting space, the move to sea level from the high Utah mountains will allow individuals with altitude-related health issues to attend DS21.

Attendees of the 2019 SIAM Conference on Computational Science and Engineering—which took place last February in Spokane, Wash., and was SIAM’s largest meeting to date—mix and mingle between sessions. SIAM photo.
2019 also saw the quadrennial International Congress for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (ICIAM), which took place last July in Valencia, Spain. While this is not strictly a SIAM meeting, SIAM is a contributing society to its organization and supported ICIAM 2019 in various ways. SIAM organized the presentation of the Peter Henrici, John von Neumann, and AWM-SIAM Sonia Kovalevsky Prize Lectures, and administered a National Science Foundation grant that provided 63 student and early-career travel awards. SIAM Activity Groups also organized 48 minisymposia.

In 2020, SIAM will partner with other societies at two of its meetings: the 2020 SIAM Annual Meeting (AN20)—to be held this July in Toronto, Canada, in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Canadian Applied and Industrial Mathematics Society—and the SIAM Conference on Applied Mathematics Education (ED20), to be co-located with the Mathematical Association of America’s MathFest in Philadelphia, Penn., later that month.

Perhaps the most exciting event on our conference horizon is the launch of the new SIAM Conference on Mathematics of Data Science, whose first instantiation—MDS20—will occur jointly with the 2020 SIAM International Conference on Data Mining (SDM20) in Cincinnati, Ohio, this May. MDS20/SDM20 will include a career fair (in addition to the traditional career fair to be held at AN20), thus marking the increasingly important role of our conferences in developing our workforce and launching the careers of young scientists.

2020 will also bring about some changes to modernize SIAM conferences, including the discontinuation of full printed programs; instead, attendees are encouraged to use the mobile app or the continuously updated online program (at-a-glance programs will still be provided on site, and full program PDFs will be available for download). SIAM is also retooling its child care grants to make them more flexible and better aligned with conference duration. Lastly, adaptations to SIAM’s conference management system will accommodate requests by conference organizing committees more efficiently. Experimenting with scheduling and poster judging tools are on my to-do list for early 2020. 

As director of Programs and Services, I am also involved in the implementation of special programs old and new, such as those funded via a generous grant by Philippe and Claire-Lise Tondeur. One such initiative is the BIG (Business, Industry, and Government) Jobs Live Interview Series, during which graduate students in the mathematical sciences have the opportunity to interview mathematicians working in industry. The series launched in November 2019, and the second installment took place this January. The interviewers were selected by a committee based on video submissions and trained at WHYY-FM, Philadelphia’s public radio station.

A longer-standing program is the Gene Golub SIAM Summer School (G2S3), now entering its second decade. G2S3 2019 took place last June in Aussois, France, with a focus on high performance data analytics, and G2S3 2020—on the theory and practice of deep learning—will occur this July in Muizenberg, South Africa.

   Richard Moore is the Director of Programs and Services at SIAM.
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