CAIMS Prize Award 415

Prize Award year: 
2008
Prize Winner: 
citation: 

Prof. J. Alan George is a world-renowned researcher in numerical linear algebra. A pioneer in the field of sparse matrix computation, his innovative and transformational research has made a tremendous impact on the field and continues to strongly influence how the field evolves. Prof. George, of the Cheriton School of Computer Science at the University ofWaterloo, has been one of Canada's leading numerical analysts for more than three decades. Prof. George's work has focused largely on the direct solution of large sparse systems of linear equations, for which most of the elements in the coefficient matrices are zero. His seminal paper on the Nested Dissection Algorithm, written early in his career, revolutionized Sparse Numerical Linear Algebra. His later papers on the Minimum Degree Algorithm and Sparse Linear Least Squares Problems also had a major impact on the field.

Prof. George is not just a theoretician. His development of SPARSPAK, a library of Fortran sparse Numerical Linear Algebra routines, made his research, and that of others, accessible to scientists and engineers, allowing them to solve important problems that were previously considered intractable. Moreover, he has also been a leader in the education of a whole generation of numerical analysts.  Several of his doctoral students have gone on to illustrious careers themselves. His books are widely used in the numerical linear algebra community. Furthermore, much of this work was done while Prof. George held key university administration positions, through which he has helped shape Canadian higher education over the past quarter century.