Postdoc in Numerical Linear Algebra on Extreme-scale Computers at RAL

We are inviting applications for a postdoctoral position in the Computational Mathematics Group at STFC-RAL in Oxfordshire, UK.

The successful candidate will join the Numerical Linear Algebra for Future and Emerging Technologies (NLAFET) project funded by the European Commission involving Inria, Umea University, University of Manchester and STFC-RAL. The position will focus on the design, implementation, and evaluation of parallel algorithms for numerical linear algebra with regards to extreme-scale challenges. The research at RAL will principally be on sparse direct solvers that are highly scalable and thus suitable for future and emerging large scale computers. The algorithms developed will be validated on several applications targeted by NLAFET, such as power systems, computational fluid dynamics, and astrophysics. The research will be done in close collaboration with established researchers in the Computational Mathematics Group as well as with other partners in NLAFET.

Candidates should have a PhD in applied mathematics or computer science and expertise in numerical linear algebra and high performance computing. The candidate must have a visa to work in the UK which automatically includes any UK or EU citizen.

This post offers a full-time research appointment until the end of the project on 31 October 2018.

Informal enquiries may be made to: Iain Duff <iain.duff@stfc.ac.uk>.

To apply or to find out more details about the position, please go to the STFC recruitment portal at: http://topcareer.jobs/Vacancy/irc242252_7364.aspx

The deadline for applications is 24th September 2017 but I encourage people to
apply well before that date. The appointment can begin at any time after
the job offer and ideally the post should start on or before 1st November 2017.

[Posted on behalf of Iain Duff.]

Research Posts in Inverse Problems+Computational PDEs+U.Q.

Fixed term position for 12 months (2 posts available)

Applications are invited for a number of postdoctoral research fellow positions to work on the £2.6m EPSRC-funded Programme Grant EQUIP (Enabling Quantification of Uncertainty for Inverse Problems). Posts will be based at the University of Warwick or at Imperial College.

EQUIP tackles a number of key methodological and theoretical challenges arising in the solution of statistical inverse problems, primarily driven by applications in subsurface inversion such as groundwater flow, oil and gas reservoirs and carbon sequestration but researchers with interest in the solution of inverse problems arising in other application domains, such as biology, medicine and the social sciences are also encouraged to apply.

The EQUIP team comprises Charlie Elliott (Mathematics, Warwick), Mark Girolami (Statistics/Mathematics, Imperial College), Gareth Roberts (Statistics, Warwick). There is also the possibility of spending part of the postdoctoral appointment at Caltech working with Andrew Stuart who is a co-investigator on the grant. Applicants with expertise in the areas of inverse problems, numerical analysis, computational partial differential equations, computational statistics and theoretical statistics are encouraged to apply.

You should apply directly to the institution where you wish to be based, although if you are flexible you are strongly encouraged to apply to both Imperial College and Warwick.

Your application should include a CV and list of publications. You should also send a research statement by email to Ann Hume, Departmental Secretary, Mathematics Institute, University of Warwick at MathematicsPA@warwick.ac.uk and ensure that your 3 referees send their references to the same email address by the closing date.

Interviews for all posts are expected to be conducted at the University of Warwick during September 2017 (date to be confirmed).

The 27th Biennial Conference on Numerical Analysis

The 27th Biennial Conference in Numerical Analysis took place at the University of Strathclyde, 27-30 June.

The series began at St. Andrews University in 1965, then spent many happy years at the University of Dundee, and finally moved to Glasgow in 2009. A full history, up to 2005, can be found on Alistair Watson’s website, and comments on the 50th Anniversary Meeting can be found on Nick Higham’s blog.

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Pens from the 20th, 21st, and 22nd biennial conferences on Numerical Analysis.

The conference has a traditional feel in that, whereas many meetings of its scale are held at hotels and conference centres, this one is entirely organised by academics, and hosted on a university campus. This traditional feel contrasts with a modern focus: through its twelve plenary talks, fifteen mini-symposia, and numerous contributed talks, the Biennial Conference reflects the many recent innovations in numerical analysis.

The plenary talks are at the core of this meeting, which opened with Christian Lubich (Tubingen) presenting recent developments in dynamic low-rank approximation, and Valeria Simoncini’s talk on methods for large-scale Sylvester equations (and related problems). David Keyes kept the focus on (extremely) large-scale problems, exhorting the numerical analysis community to develop algorithms that keep pace with modern hardware. The (now) classical roots of numerical analysis, and their influence on current trends were the focus of, for example, the Fletcher-Powell lecture, given by Philip Gill (San Diego). And that was all on Day 1, which concluded with a civic reception hosted by The City of Glasgow in the spectacular City Chambers.

 

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Donald Estep (Colorado) making the case for computational measure theory

Wednesday’s plenaries were delivered by Donald Estep (Colorado), Ilaria Perugia (Vienna), and Gerlind Plonka-Hoch on, respectively, “computational measure theory” (with applications to modelling extreme weather events), completely discontinuous finite elements, and sublinear sparse FFT methods.

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Anna-Karin Tornberg (KTH) on Quadrature by expansion (source: Heather Yorston)

Anna-Karin Tornberg (KTH; above) opened Thursday’s sessions. She was followed by Endre Suli (Oxford) who married the classical and modern, where he outlined the analysis of finite element approximations for viscous incompressible fluids, accompanied by a live demonstration with tooth-paste.

Through out the meeting, it is clear that the distinctions between numerical analysis and computer science are becoming increasingly blurred, particularly in the field of networks, where algorithms for graphs and matrices are of core importance. This featured in the A.R. Mitchell lecture, delivered by Andrew Stuart (Caltech). He discussed machine learning and for classification algorithms applied on large graphs.

That evening the conference dinner was hosted in the remarkable Trades Hall, which was designed and built between 1791 and 1794. The after dinner speech, which was both humorous and thoughtful,  was given by Ivan Graham (Bath).

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View from the top table (source: David Gleich)

Arguably, the best was saved until last. In Friday morning’s first plenary lecture, Francoise Tisseur (Manchester) made a compelling case for the use of tropical algebra in
numerical analysis, with the applications to incomplete factorisations being particularly compelling. She was followed by David Gleich (Purdue), who explained the motivation and methods for locating motifs (such as triangles) in networks.

Of course, there was much more to the conference than the plenary talks and receptions. There were 15 minisymposia on topics ranging from “M1” on non-local problems (such as the en vogue fractional differential equations) to “M15” on Chebfun, as well as contributed talks. In particular, there were numerous presentations by student participants. Three of these were awarded prizes by the UK and Ireland section of SIAM:

  • Denis Devaud, ETH Zurich, Switzerland, “Exponential convergence in
    H^1/2 of hp-approximation for parabolic equations”
  • James Rynn, University of Manchester, UK, “Using Surrogate Models to
    Accelerate Bayesian Inverse Uncertainty Quantification”
  • Florian Wechsung, University of Oxford, UK, “Shape Optimization with
    Geometric Constraints Using Moreau-Yosida Regularization”

The judging panel was Ivan Graham (Bath), Natalia Kopteva  (Limerick) and John Mackenzie (Strathclyde).

To conclude, the 27th conference was at least as successful as the previous 26. For that, the numerical analysis community owes its gratitude to the University of Strathclyde’s Numerical Analysis and Scientific Computing Group and, in particular, Philip Knight, John Mackenzie and Alison Ramage.

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The conference dinner took place in one of Glasgow’s historic buildings: the Glasgow Trades Hall.

A Student Perspective of AN17

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Between 10th and 14th July 2017, Alex Mackay and I attended the international annual meeting of SIAM in Pittsburgh, as the representatives for the Cardiff SIAM-IMA student Chapter. The meeting featured diverse and interesting lectures in a multitude of parallel sessions spanning all areas of applied and pure mathematics, physics, engineering, statistics and operational research, reinforcing the message that these fields are intertwined and can and should contribute to each other.
If I had to choose, I have two personal highlights of the trip. The first was a panel discussion with Dr. Christine Darden, a former ‘human computer’ for NASA, featured in the book ‘Hidden Figures’. The story around this book and film is fascinating, and I would recommend both to everyone. The second was a lecture given by Henry Segerman on Visualising Mathematics with 3D Printing, in which he spoke about using 3D printing to aid education. Visualisation of concepts like hyperbolic surfaces and complex geometries is made possible using his designs, and I personally would have loved to have had these resources available as an undergraduate!
On the second day, Alex attended the student breakfast organised for the Chapter representatives. Even though the breakfast started at 7am and there were several bleary-eyed attendees, it was a great experience to share ideas and discuss the rôle of students in enhancing the SIAM community. We intend to implement many of the ideas which arose from the discussions in our institution over the coming months as we continue to grow as a Chapter.

 

Throughout the conference, we felt valued members of the delegation and I personally feel that the conferences organised by SIAM offer some of the best opportunities for students to attend and contribute. There were many events and social evenings organised, the hospitality of the venue was outstanding and we made great friends and potential future collaboration partners from all over the world. A huge ‘thank you’ is necessary for the administration teams and fellow members of SIAM who organised this this conference and made it such a great success.
All in all, the Pittsburgh experience was great, and it was the perfect setting for an excellent conference. I would highly recommend the city, and of course the next annual meeting of SIAM – to be held in Portland, Oregon next July.
We would like to thank SIAM for providing me with a Travel Award to enable my attendance at this conference, and for providing Alex with the Chapter representative funding. We are extremely grateful for their support in all we do as a Chapter.
Scott Morgan
Cardiff SIAM Student Chapter President

‘Full STEAM Ahead’ for Cardiff SIAM-IMA Student Chapter

On June 28th, the Cardiff SIAM-IMA Student Chapter organised the one-day ‘Full STEAM Ahead’ event, open to secondary school and FE College students, PhD students and staff.

The event consisted of three workshops aimed at inspiring students to engage in STEM subjects, and opened with a short address by Sian Ashton of the STEM Ambassador scheme. This scheme is a national endeavour to inspire young people to continue into STEM careers and anyone aged over 17 can join. Being a member of this scheme would enhance both PGR students’ experiences (by enabling them to have varied teaching practise), and school students’ experiences (by delivering exciting, cutting edge topics into their lessons) and the Cardiff SIAM-IMA Chapter will continue to work very closely with Sian and her colleagues going forward. The workshops on the day were delivered by a combination of PGR Students and industry experts, and consisted of:

Robotics (Led by Emotion Robotics)

Using advanced humanoid robots, Pepper and NAO, we delivered a workshop based around artificial intelligence and automation. This part was run by Carl Clement of Emotion Robotics, who provided the robots for the event. Everyone was captivated and there were plenty of amazed faces in the crowd – they really do need to be seen to be believed!

Physical Computing with Raspberry Pi (Led by Luke Smallman)

Bridgend College, in partnership with Sony UKTec provided Raspberry Pi computers and Pi cameras for the event, and with resources from the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s ‘Picademy’, we ran a simple introduction to programming hardware devices with Python.

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3D Printing (Led by Alex Safar & Danny Groves)

Students had the opportunity to design and print their own 3D fidget spinners using the freely available browser-based software ‘Onshape’. There was a prize for the best design, submitted on the day and printed later by our colleagues in Engineering. Each student also received a 3D printed ‘gyro’ keyring memento of the event to take away with them.

While the workshops were delivered primarily by Mathematics PGR students, I truly believe that this was a cross-curricular multi-disciplinary event, and embraced the heart of the ‘Applications of Mathematics’. I believe it is fundamentally important to appreciate the wider applications of our subject, and I feel that we definitely succeeded in our goal to inspire a future generation of STEM practitioners. The feedback collected on the day was extremely positive, and building on this event, we look to expand in future years and develop the links with our partner institutions further.

 

We are extremely grateful to the IMA for providing us with an Education Grant to help this day succeed, and to the Cardiff University Widening Access Fund for covering the cost of lunch. I personally would like to thank my fellow members of the SIAM-IMA Student Chapter committee; Alex Mackay, Danny Groves and Alex Safar, as well as Luke Smallman for delivering a first-class workshop on physical computing with Raspberry Pi. Huge thanks to our friends and partners in Bridgend College and Emotion Robotics, without whom, the event would not have been possible, and also to Debbie Syrop of Cardiff’s Engineering department for all her advice on room bookings, lunch and event management.

Scott Morgan
Cardiff SIAM-IMA Student Chapter President

University of Reading SIAM-IMA student conference update

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On Friday 16th May, the University of Reading SIAM-IMA student chapter hosted their annual conference. Over 40 staff and students attended from a variety of institutions, including the University of Bath, the University of Oxford, Imperial College, London and Brunel University London.

Keynote talks were given by Dr Melina Freitag (University of Bath) on saddle point formulations for data assimilation and Dr Tim Rogers (University of Bath) on how to explain collaborative behaviour as a result of evolution using stochastic noise.

Student talks were given on a broad range of topics within applied mathematics, with applications including meteorology, finance and neuroscience. The prize for the best talk, judged by conference attendees, was given to Tom Bendall of Imperial College, London. Florian Klimm, from the University of Oxford was the runner-up.

The poster session provided another opportunity for students to present their work in an informal setting over lunch. Prizes were awarded to Dan Derrick and Nicola Thorn, both from the University of Reading.

The event concluded with a conference dinner, which was a great chance for everyone to relax and reflect on the day. The organising committee would like to thank all of the speakers, presenters and attendees as well as SIAM, the IMA and the University of Reading who all supported the event.

Scientific Software Engineer at Roxar, Oxford

Roxar, part of the Emerson group of companies, produces software for the oil and gas exploration and production industry. Our software is used worldwide to calculate flows of fluid underground and along the wells, and to assess the uncertainty when developing an oil or gas field.

The growing use of Roxar’s Tempest MORE reservoir simulator means we are expanding the development team in Oxford. We are looking for a skilled scientific software engineer to research and develop numerical schemes to simulate underground fluid flow, build and test the code, and support end users in running the final commercial program.

The successful candidate will work as part of the development team on a range of projects. Possible projects might be to simulate advanced wells, improve the performance of the core solvers, or modelling more advanced physical processes such as carbon dioxide injection.  In all cases an efficient, parallel implementation of the ensuing algorithms is critical to take advantage of parallel hardware and emerging computing architectures, as is the ability to write clear and maintainable code.

The successful candidate will have:

  • Strong physics, maths or engineering skills at PhD level, possibly with some post-doctoral experience
  • Excellent programming skills in a high-level language such as C++
  • Aptitude for software engineering as part of a development team
  • Interest in helping real-world engineers

In addition, experience in the following areas would be advantageous:

  • Modelling fluid flow in porous media
  • Working on large or commercial numerical codes
  • Parallel architectures and libraries (e.g. MPI, multi-threading, CUDA)
  • Software development lifecycle and testing

For more information please contact Kari Hansen karirosnes.hansen@emerson.com.

For more details on Roxar visit www.roxarsoftware.com

Closing date: 31st July 2017.

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