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Stanford's Faculty Pioneers in Scientific Computing

Stanford has played a key role in the development of scientific computing, with a legacy that goes back to the 1950's. A number of major contributors to this fundamentally important area have spent significant portions of their careers at Stanford.

George Forsythe (1917-1972):

George Forsythe was the founder of the Department of Computer Science at Stanford University and an early proponent of the key role that numerical mathematics and computing would play in the scientific and engineering worlds.

Biography and Publications

An account of George Forsythe's life (written by Don Knuth): " George Forsythe and the Development of Computer Science " (by Donald E. Knuth). Communications of the ACM, Vol 15, No. 8, p. 721-726. This paper includes a full listing of all Forsythe's books, papers, and doctoral students.

A discussion of George Forsythe's contributions to Stanford.

To get a sense of Forsythe's vision and its effect on the world, see


An obituary for George Forsythe also appeared in  SIAM Journal on Numerical Analysis, Vol. 10, No. 2 (unnumbered pages for article written by A.S. Householder).


George Forsythe's mathematical family tree:

Joseph Oliger (1941-2006):

Joe Oliger helped develop the early use of high-speed computers for weather forecasting and mathematical research, and contributed a number of key ideas to the area of numerical solution of partial differential equations.


An obituary appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, January 22nd, 2006.

Obituary in SIAM News, March 24th, 2006:

Stanford memorial resolution in remembrance of Joe Oliger:

Blog in remembrance of Joe Oliger:


Mathematical family tree for Joe Oliger:

Gene Golub (1932-2007):

Gene Golub joined the Computer Science Department soon after its formation. He served as department chair 1981-1984, and founded the successful SCCM program, which paved the way for ICME.


The highlights of Gene's life were described by Chen Greif in the opening article of
"Milestones in Matrix Computation: Selected Works of Gene H. Golub, With Commentaries," by R. H. Chan, C. Greif, and D. P. O'Leary, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2007.


Stanford News Service announcement , November 21, 2007.

New York Times obituary , December 10, 2007.

Lloyd N. Trefethen. Gene H. Golub (1932-2007): Mathematician and godfather of numerical analysis , Nature, Vol 450, 13 December 2007.

Chen Greif. Gene H. Golub, 1932-2007 , originally posted in the December 2007 Newsletter and on the website of CAIMS, the Canadian Applied and Industrial Mathematical Society .

Dianne P. O'Leary. Gene Howard Golub, 1932-2007 , to appear in Linear Algebra and Its Applications, 2008.


A list of Gene Golub's publications was prepared by Dianne O'Leary for "Milestones in Matrix Computation: Selected Works of Gene H. Golub, With Commentaries," by R. H. Chan, C. Greif, and D. P. O'Leary, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2007.


Gene's Last Lecture.

Interview with Gene.

Gene's last Stanford Conference.

Charlie Van Loan's Dinner Talk to honor Gene's 75th birthday.

Videos of speakers at Gene's Remembrances Event on February 29, 2008.

The Gene Golub Graduate Fellowship Fund in Computational and Mathematical Engineering

Those of us who knew Gene well recognize that Gene was always greatly interested in helping students and took a particular interest in using his influence to further their personal and professional lives. In honor of remembering Gene and his contributions, the Gene Golub Graduate Fellowship Fund in Computational and Mathematical Engineering was estabilished in 2009.

This fund provides financial support, through fellowships or assistantships, for Ph.D. students in Stanford's Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering.

Financial aid resources to support Ph.D. students with interests in computational mathematics and scientific computing are more limited now than in past decades. We need your support so that a larger number of deserving students can have the same opportunity that many of Stanford's Ph.D. alumni with interests in the area have had.

If you wish to make a donation, you can do this online (using your credit card) or you can download a form to make a donation or pledge.

  • Make a donation online. You can either make an immediate credit card payment or set up a pledge payment that involves spreading your donation over multiple years (if the total amount pledged is $5,000 or more). Please designate the "School of Engineering" for your gift and "Gene Golub Fellowship Fund" in the Special Instructions on your gift.