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SIAM Activity Group on Linear Algebra

Minutes of the SIAG-LA business meeting

May 4, 2018 • Jen Pestana

The SIAG-LA business meeting was held 17:15-18:00, May 4 2018, at the SIAM ALA Meeting, Hong Kong Baptist University.


Jim Nagy (JN), SIAG/LA Chair, presented information about the SIAG/LA.

SIAM News.

SIAM News stories are always welcome. Although they require some work to write, these articles are essential, and reach a wide audience.

SIAG/LA Prize winners and SIAM Fellows.

JN congratulated Jiawang Nie (University of California, San Diego) and Alex Townsend (Cornell University), who received the SIAG/LA Best Paper Prize and Early Career Prize, respectively. This was the first time the Early Career Prize was awarded, and strong nominations were received.

Valeria Simoncini queried how the Early Career Prize submission process worked. JN clarified that announcements about the call for nominations had been sent to members. The nomination process itself is similar to that for the paper prize. However, the prize committee considers a nominee’s work as a whole rather than an individual paper.

JN also congratulated the 2017 & 2018 SIAM Fellows from the SIAG/LA.

SIAM ALA 2018.

There is a healthy number of participants at the SIAM ALA meeting in Hong Kong (approximately 425). JN thanked the conference co-chairs, local committee, local volunteers and scientific committee for making the meeting such a success.

Next SIAM ALA conference.

Following requests for proposals and location suggestions for the next SIAM ALA meeting, a single proposal was submitted by KU Leuven. Karl Meerbergen remarked that the estimated costs in the Leuven proposal were based on figures for the ILAS meeting held there in 2015, but that discussions with SIAM were ongoing and that costs may increase as a result of SIAM’s requests.

SIAM has reservations about the Leuven proposal, particularly because this would mean that two consecutive conferences would be held outside North America. Indeed, the SIAM Board is considering introducing a policy around this for all SIAGs. Linda Thiel stated that one reason for this concern is that long gaps between North American meetings are detrimental to American members, since there is no American applied mathematics society. Another aspect is the staffing and handling of meetings.

In SIAM’s view, an additional issue with the Leuven proposal is that Belgium has recently hosted other major linear algebra meetings (ILAS in 2015 and the Householder Symposium in 2014). Daniel Kressner commented that we should be grateful that Leuven has volunteered a proposal, while several members added that the ILAS meeting in Leuven was great.

Possible U.S. conference locations include Albuquerque, Boston, Chicago, Portland and Providence. Although conferences in Chicago and Boston would be expensive, registration fees should be broadly in line with fees for other SIAG meetings for the other options. It was noted that one advantage of holding a meeting in the U.S. is that SIAM can deal with much of the organisation. On the other hand, there may be less flexibility/scope for additional activities. Additionally, costs may be higher than at universities outside the U.S., where rooms are often cheap/free to hire. More generally, there was some concern over the higher registration fees of recent SIAM ALA conferences, relative to earlier meetings.

Discussion turned to the possibility of holding the conference in Providence. It was suggested that if the meeting was held here, it should be located in Providence itself, rather than a neighbouring town. Another suggestion was that ICERM (the Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics) should be involved.

SIAM will need to approve the SIAM ALA venue; this will occur some time after the 2018 Annual Meeting. Members were strongly encouraged to give feedback on their preferred venue to the SIAG/LA officers, so that this could be passed on to SIAM.

Upcoming meetings.

Upcoming meetings of note include the SIAM Annual Meeting, the 2019 Gene Golub SIAM Summer School, and the 2019 ICIAM conference.

Gene Golub SIAM Summer School proposals are always welcome, especially given Gene’s connection to the SIAG/LA community.

SIAM Membership.

Student chapter members can join both SIAM and the SIAG/LA for free. The number of members, particularly student members, is increasing, and JN thanked SIAG/LA members for encouraging their students to join.

In relation to the sizes of various SIAGS, Valeria Simoncini mentioned that attendees of SIAM CSE meetings receive a year’s free SIAG/CSE membership, which may increase the group’s membership.

Thomas Mach noted that there is a larger share of members in the US, and that this may be a reason to hold the next SIAM ALA meeting in North America. JN agreed, but also pointed out that holding the meeting elsewhere may encourage people to join SIAG/LA.

SIAG/LA Elections.

JN noted that the current officers will finish their terms at the end of 2018, and that elections for new officers will occur later in the year. Members were requested to think of possible nominations, and to look out for the nomination call.