Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Pioneering mathematician Gene Golub dies

The study of algorithms in continuous mathematics is called numerical analysis, used in virtually everything from building stability to stock picking to weather prediction.

But one couldn't predict that numerical analysis pioneer Gene Golub, a Turing Award nominee and numerical analysis guru, would succumb to leukemia at the age of 75 only three days after diagnosis.

Golub was the inventor of the SVD algorithm, commonly used in search engines and signal processing. SVD, which stands for singular value decomposition and works with matrices, has so many applications that many mathematicians consider it the Swiss Army knife of numerical analysis.

Mathematical algorithms? Practical applications? The Swiss Army knife? Maybe the government should be looking more into those types of weapons.

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