Cullen Professor of Mathematics Recognized for Research in Differential Equations and Control Theory

The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics awarded University of Houston mathematics professor Roland Glowinski with the prestigious 2020 W.T. and Idalia Reid Prize.

Glowinski is the Cullen Professor of Mathematics at UH’s College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and specializes in numerical analysis and applied mathematics.

He will receive $10,000 and is invited to deliver a plenary lecture this July at the 2020 SIAM Annual Meeting in Toronto. He’s being recognized for his research in differential equations and control theory.

While he is excited and honored to receive the prize, the award is made even more special because Glowinski’s former Ph.D. advisor, Jacques-Louis Lions, received the same prize in 1998 in Toronto. Lions received an honorary doctorate from UH in 1992.

In fact, Glowinski said, “this prize rewards the results of investigations associated with topics Lions addressed at a previous SIAM lecture.”

A younger Glowinski attended that lecture and was so fascinated by the scientific problems Lions presented that he decided to attack them computationally.

Glowinski’s research in applied mathematics tackles the question – how can one use mathematical models and methods to drive the evolution of a system?

“We try to help people using mathematical models,” he said. For example, his research in applied mathematics can be used in the optimal delivery of drugs.

“Let’s say you have a patient, and you want to give them a drug,” he said. “If you give them too much, you can kill your patient. If you don’t give enough, you cure nothing. That’s the type of problem that mathematicians can collaborate on with health scientists. It’s scientifically and mathematically exciting and useful. It can save lives.”

Some of his work related to the W.T. and Idalia Reid Prize was used years ago by a Finnish numerical software company to develop a wave propagation simulator used in applications.

Among his recognitions, Glowinski is a member of the French National Academy of Sciences, the French National Academy of Technology and the Academia Europea. He is also an American Mathematical Society Fellow.

This is the second time Glowinski has received a prestigious SIAM award. He received the Theodore Von Karman Prize in 2004.

Glowinski co-authored a book with Lions and UH Department of Mathematics Chair Jiwen He published by Cambridge University Press in 2008: “Exact and Approximate Controllability for Distributed Parameter Systems: A Numerical Approach.” In fact, some of the topics associated with Glowinski’s recent SIAM prize are discussed in this book.

Glowinski plans on finishing his book, “Numerical Methods for Non-Smooth Problems,” this year.

- Rebeca Trejo, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics