Mathematician receives Humboldt Award

Jinchao Xu, professor of mathematics, has received the Humboldt Award for Senior U.S. Scientists from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Bonn, Germany, in honor of his achievements in computational-mathematics research and teaching. The award cites Xu as "one of the most renowned scientists in the field of numerical mathematics in the world," and notes that "his work also has had a significant impact on numerous other fields of research."

Xu studies numerical methods for partial differential equations, especially fast iterative methods for solving large-scale algebraic systems that arise from the process of making models mathematically discrete in science and engineering. One major research interest is the theoretical analysis, algorithmic development and practical application of multigrid methods. These methods combine classical iterative techniques with multiscale structures obtained from a given application to yield a class of optimally efficient methods that are far superior to the classic iterative techniques alone.

Xu has been invited to present a lecture at an upcoming meeting of the International Council for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (ICIAM). The ICIAM Congress, held every four years, is the largest international conference for industrial and applied mathematics. Xu has presented invited talks at professional conferences and academic institutions worldwide, and has presented several special lectures and short courses, such as the Numerical Analysis Summer School held in the United Kingdom in 1996 and in France in 1997. He presented the Barret Lectures at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville in 2001, and has presented special lectures in mathematics at Peking University from 1998 to 2005.

He also has been an organizer for many scientific conferences in the United States and abroad, including the International Conferences on Domain Decomposition Methods from 1993 to 2005; the Conference of Chinese Young Numerical Analysts in Scientific and Engineering Computing in 1993; the International Symposium on Computational and Applied Partial Differential Equations (PDEs) in 2001; the International Conference of Computational Methods in Sciences and Engineering in 2004; and the International Conference on Computational and Mathematical Methods in Science and Engineering in 2004.

Xu has published more than 85 scientific papers about his research and, according to the Institute for Scientific Information's (ISI's) Highly Cited Authors in Mathematics, is among the most highly cited mathematicians in the world. He serves on editorial boards for most major journals in computational mathematics, including Mathematics of Computation, Numerische Mathematik, Mathematical Modeling and Numerical Analysis, Mathematical Models and Methods in Applied Sciences, the Journal of Computational Methods in Applied Sciences and Engineering, Advances in Computational Mathematics, Journal of Computational Physics in China, the International Journal of Numerical Analysis and Modeling, and the Journal of Selected Articles from Chinese Universities: Mathematics. He is a managing editor for the Journal of Computational Mathematics. He was an editor for the Journal on Numerical Analysis of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) from 1993 to 2002, and has served as editor for several conference proceedings.

Xu earned his bachelor's degree at Xiangtan University in 1982 and his master's degree at Peking University in 1984, both in China. He earned his doctoral degree at Cornell University in 1989. He joined Penn State in 1989 as assistant professor of mathematics. He was promoted to associate professor in 1991 and to professor in 1995. He is the director of the Penn State Center for Computational Mathematics and of the Institute for Computational and Applied Mathematics at Xiangtan University in China. He is a member of the American Mathematical Society and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

In 1995, Xu's research accomplishments were recognized with the first Feng Kang Prize for Scientific Computing from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Xiangtan University in China. He received a Schlumberger Foundation Award in 1993 and the Natural Science Award from the National Academy of Science in China in 1989.

He currently holds the Chang Jiang professorship at Peking University and the Furong Professorship at Xiangtan University in Hunan, both in China. He also has held visiting professorships at a number of universities in the United States and at several institutions abroad, including Xian JiaoTong University and Hunan University in China; the Academia Sinica and the National Central University in Taiwan; Central University of Lyon in France; the University of Science and Technology in Hong Kong; the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Switzerland; the University of Oslo in Norway; the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences in the United Kingdom; and the University of Stuttgart, the University of Heidelberg, and the Max Plank Institute in Germany.

Last Updated November 18, 2010