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Faculty Pioneers

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.

Trailblazers in Computational Mathematics

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: "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.

Read about George Forsythe's contributions to Stanford and get a sense for Forsythe's vision and it's effect on the world

George Forsythe's mathematical family tree


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).

Joseph Oliger (1941-2005)

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.


Obituaries appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle and in SIAM News

Stanford Memorial Resolution and a memorial blog

Joe Oliger's mathematical family tree

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.

Biography and Publications

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.

A list of Gene Golub's publications was prepared by Dianne O'Leary for "Linear Algebra and its Applications, 2008.

Gene Golub's mathematical family tree

Stanford Memorial Resolution


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 in Linear Algebra and Its Applications, 2008


Interview with Gene Golub

Gene's last Stanford Conference

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

National Academy of Sciences Biographical Memoir of Gene Golub by Dianne P. O'Leary

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 contribute to the Gene Golub Graduate Fellowship Fund, you may make a donation online via a one-time gift or a recurring gift or pledge. Please designate the "School of Engineering" and "Gene Golub Fellowship Fund" in the Special Instructions on your gift.