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Numerical Linear Algebra Group Activities 2018

The Numerical Linear Algebra Group, many of whom are in the October 2018 photo below, had a busy year. This post summarizes what we got up to. Publications are not included here, but many of them can be found on MIMS EPrints under the category Numerical Analysis.

As well as the new group members mentioned below, Stephanie Lai joined the group in September as Executive Assistant to Nick Higham. Stephanie, who holds an MMath degree from the University of Manchester, helps to maintain this website, which launched this autumn. Martin Lotz left the group in August 2018 and is now an Associate Professor at The University of Warwick.



Together with Jack Dongarra’s team at the University of Tennessee the group is one of the two partners involved in the development of PLASMA: Parallel Linear Algebra Software for Multicore Architectures.

PhD students Weijian Zhang, Steven Elsworth and Jonathan Deakin continued to develop Etymo—a technology for developing knowledge graphs, including Etymo Scholar, a discovery engine for AI research.

We make our research codes available as open source, principally on GitHub; see the repositories of Connolly, Fasi, Higham, Liu, PraneshRelton, Sego, Tisseur, ZhangZounon.

We also put MATLAB software on MATLAB Central File Exchange and on our own web sites, e.g., the Rational Krylov Toolbox (RKToolbox).

PhD Students

We welcomed new PhD students Michael Connolly, Xiaobo Liu, and Conor Rogers.

Weijian Zhang successfully defended his PhD on Evolving Graphs and similarity-based Graphs with Applications in October 2018.

Postdoctoral Research Associates (PDRAs)

Theo Mary joined us in January 2018 to work jointly on the ICONIC project.

Mawussi Zounon, who was working on the Parallel Numerical Linear Algebra for Extreme Scale Systems (NLAFET) project, moved over in November 2018 to the position of KTP Associate in a three-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership with NAG.

Jakub Sistek returned to the Czech Academy of Sciences after the completion of the project Programming Model INTERoperability ToWards Exascale (INTERTWinE).

Prashanth Nadukandi completed his Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship in September 2018 and is now a Technical Advisor in Advanced Mathematics at the Repsol Technology Lab, Móstoles, Spain.

Maksims Abalenkovs completed his work on the EPSRC project SERT: Scale-free, Energy-aware, Resilient and Transparent Adaptation of CSE Applications to Mega-core Systems.

Presentations at Conferences and Workshops

UK and Republic of Ireland Section of SIAM Annual Meeting, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, January 11, 2018: Blanchard, Nadukandi.

Waseda Research Institute for Science and Engineering Institute for Mathematical Science Kickoff Meeting, Waseda University, Tokyo, March 6, 2018: Higham.

SIAM Conference on Parallel Processing for Scientific Computing, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan, March 7-10, 2018: Hammarling, Higham, Mary, Zounon.

Conference on Scientific Computing and Approximation, Purdue University, March 30-31, 2018: Higham.

SIAM Conference on Applied Linear Algebra, May 4-8, 2018, Hong Kong Baptist University: Elsworth, Güttel, Zemaityte.

Structured Matrix Days 2018, May 14-15, 2018, ENS Lyon, France: Mary, Tisseur.

Mathematical Modelling, Numerical Analysis and Scientific Computing, Kácov, Czech Republic, May 27-June 1, 2018: Higham, Tisseur.

International Conference on Approximation and Matrix Functions, May 31 and June 1, 2018, Université de Lille, France: Güttel.

Bohemian Matrices and Applications, University of Manchester, June 20-22, 2018: Higham.

International Supercomputing conference (ISC18), Frankfurt, June 24-28, 2018: Hammarling, Zounon.

10th International Workshop on Parallel Matrix Algorithms and Applications (PMAA18), June 27-29, 2018, ETH Zurich: Zounon.

6th IMA Conference on Numerical Linear Algebra and Optimization, June 27-29 2018, University of Birmingham: Blanchard, Mary, Tisseur.

SIAM Annual Meeting, Portland, USA, July 9-13, 2018: Blanchard, Higham, Tisseur.

JuliaCon 2018, London, August 7-11, 2018: Higham.

Sparse Day Meeting 2018, September 26-27 2018, Toulouse, France: Mary.

Conference and Workshop Organization


Recognition and Service

    • Nick Higham gave the Samuel D. Conte Distinguished Lecture at the Department of Computer Science, Purdue University, USA, in March 2018.
  • Massimilano Fasi was presented with the SIAM Student Chapter Certificate of Recognition 2018.

Other Notable Tweets

Theo Mary awarded the Gilles Kahn prize

The Gilles Kahn prize was awarded to Theo Mary for his PhD thesis Block Low-Rank multifrontal solvers: complexity, performance, and scalability (PDF here). The thesis was prepared at the University of Toulouse, France and co-supervised by Patrick Amestoy and Alfredo Buttari. Theo is currently a Research Associate in the Numerical Linear Algebra group.

The Gilles Kahn prize is awarded each year by the SIF, the French Society of Computer Science, for an excellent PhD thesis in the field of computer science. 

In the thesis, Theo investigated the use of low-rank approximations inside direct, factorization-based methods to reduce the computational cost of the solution of large, sparse systems of linear equations. His work included theoretically computing the asymptotic complexity reduction achieved by these methods and implementing them on parallel computers to translate this theoretical reduction into significant performance gains on both shared- and distributed-memory architectures. The potential and efficiency of these methods was assessed on several industrial applications, notably ones arising in geosciences and structural mechanics.

The official award ceremony will take place at the SIF congress (February  6-7, 2019, in Bordeaux). Theo has also been invited to present his work to the entire scientific community at the SIF congress.

Theo Mary

Weijian Zhang Awarded PhD for Work on Evolving Graphs

Congratulations to our PhD student Weijian Zhang for being awarded his PhD, which was supervised by Nick Higham. We asked him a few questions about his thesis.

Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your experience before attending University of Manchester?
I was born in Liaoning, China and studied fine arts at the Fine Arts High School Affiliated to China Central Academy of Fine Arts. I graduated with a First Class MMath degree at the University of Manchester in 2014.

What is your thesis on?
My thesis title is “Evolving Graphs and similarity-based Graphs with Applications“. We look at ways to traverse an evolving graph. In particular, we examine the influence of temporal information on node centrality. In the process, we developed EvolvingGraphs.jl, a Julia software package for analysing time-dependent networks. We also developed Etymo Scholar, a search system for discovering interesting research papers.

Why did you choose to study your PhD in Manchester?
I was interested in doing something that relates to both maths and computer science. Numerical Linear Algebra looked like a perfect fit for me. I was very fortunate to be able to join Professor Nick Higham’s research group, which is a world-renowned research group in Numerical Linear Algebra.

How did you find Manchester?
Manchester is a vibrant city and the University of Manchester offers fantastic support for research students. All in all, it is a great place for doing research.

What’s your next step?
I have just joined Conversocial, a leading social customer service solution provider, as a Machine Learning Engineer / Data Scientist in London.

Weijian Zhang

Partnership with NAG on Numerical Linear Algebra for Emerging Computer Architectures

Professors Jack Dongarra, Nick Higham, and Françoise Tisseur are delighted to be working on a new three-year project with The Numerical Algorithms Group (NAG) to incorporate new numerical linear algebra routines into NAG software in order to exploit emerging computer architectures.

This Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), funded by NAG and the Technology Strategy Board of Innovate UK, will

  • develop new linear algebra kernels for multicore architectures,
  • develop multiprecision codes that can exploit the half precision arithmetic increasingly available in hardware, and
  • incorporate new sparse matrix functionality into the NAG Library.

The project builds on a long history of collaboration between NAG and the Manchester Numerical Linear Algebra Group.

In particular, they have successfully collaborated on two previous KTPs (2010–2013 and 2012–2013) as well as on joint MSc and PhD projects.


Stefan Güttel and Nick Higham selected as Turing Fellows

Stefan Güttel and Nick Higham have been selected as Turing Fellows at The Alan Turing Institute. Their fellowships began this autumn.

Turing Fellows are scholars with proven research excellence in data science, artificial intelligence, or a related field, whose research would be significantly enhanced through active involvement with the Turing network of universities and partners.

More information is available here.

Lecturer, Senior Lecturer or Reader in Applied Mathematics

The School of Mathematics is seeking mathematical scientists of outstanding ability or potential for appointments at Lecturer, Senior Lecturer or Reader level.

Applicants working in any area of applied mathematics are welcome, particularly those working in areas that complement and enhance the applied mathematics research of the School, which spans numerical linear algebra, uncertainty quantification, dynamical systems, data science, mathematics in the life sciences, industrial mathematics, inverse problems and continuum mechanics.

Applicants with research experience in numerical linear algebra, or at the interfaces with pure mathematics or probability and statistics, are strongly encouraged.

These positions provide an excellent opportunity to join the Numerical Linear Algebra Group.

The closing date is January 11, 2019. For the advert and more details see here.

Welcome to the NLA Group Website

Welcome to the new website of the Numerical Linear Algebra group at the University of Manchester! The group, numbering around 20 and listed here, comprises four permanent faculty—Nick Higham, Françoise Tisseur, Stefan Guettel and Jack Dongarra (part-time)—and PhD students, research associates, research fellows, visitors and other associated researchers.

The website reports our activities, including papers, software and presentations. It contains regularly updated news items as well as blog posts by members of the group on research topics of interest.

We hold weekly group meetings and organize workshops in Manchester and elsewhere. Some of our conference talks are available here.

We give a number of courses in the School of Mathematics in the undergraduate mathematics degree and at M.Sc. level, and also regularly give courses externally, especially at summer schools.

We are always looking to recruit, and current opportunities are listed here. Feel free to contact us if you would like to enquire about future opportunities.

Follow us on Twitter and watch the videos on our YouTube channel.

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