Sparse Matrices for Scientific Computation:
In Honour of John Reid's 70th Birthday

15 - 16 July 2009
Cosener's House
Abingdon, Oxfordshire


The aim of this meeting was to bring together leading numerical analysts from the UK and abroad in honour of John Reid's 70th birthday. John is an eminent UK numerical analyst who, over a career spanning five decades, has made many important contributions, particularly in the development of sparse matrix technology. His main contributions include: conjugate gradients as an iterative method, Markowitz' pivoting for sparse matrices, estimating sparse Jacobians, factorizing and updating linear programming bases, steepest-edge simplex algorithm, the multifrontal method for sparse linear systems, using 2x2 pivots for sparse symmetric indefinite matrices, and ordering sparse matrices for small wavefront and profile.

Since 1969, John has been a member of the Numerical Analysis Group that began at the Harwell Laboratory and moved to the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in 1990. One of the key activities of the Group and one for which it is internationally renowned is the HSL mathematical software library (formerly called the Harwell Subroutine Library). Amongst its best known packages are those for solving sparse linear systems, optimization, and sparse eigenvalues. Over the years, John has contributed to all these areas and many of his algorithms and packages are widely used today. A brief biography of John Reid, together with details of his many publications, is available here.

The meeting was be held over two days. All talks were by invitation.

On Day 1 (Wednesday), the talks were related to the areas of numerical analysis that John has been involved in over his long career. These include optimization, sparse direct methods, numerical linear algebra, iterative methods, and automatic differentiation.

Day 2 (Thursday) concentrated on algorithms and software for large-scale systems. It included talks by leading experts on the history and importance of mathematical software libraries, and looked to the future and to new challenges for such libraries. Particular emphasis was placed on software for sparse problems that has been developed by the Numerical Analysis Group and is used to solve practical problems from a range of application areas.

A celebratory dinner was held on the evening of the first day.

We are very grateful to the LMS and IMA for providing financial support for this conference.

Conference organisers:
     Jennifer Scott (Chair)
     Sue Dollar
     Jill Snowdon (Administration)