History of Numerical Analysis


Oral Histories





J. Tinsley Oden

Full Article (pdf)

Oden comments of the early development of the finite element method. He characterizes the 60's as the formative years of the finite element method and claims that the most important factor in its continuing success  was that it was solving important and difficult engineering problems. He characterizes the 70's as the decade of the development of the mathematical theory and the expansion of the generality of the method. He ends with his personal reflections crediting his work with Gilbert Best at General Dynamics for his interest in the subject. 

Key words: structural dynamics, elasticity, plate bending, viscous fluid flow, polynomial approximation, interpolation, inf-sup conditions, nonlinear continuum mechanics, matrix methods.

Time frame: 1950's, 1960's, 1970's

People: J.H. Argyris, R.W. Clough, Richard Varga,  Garrett Birkhoff, Carl de Boor, Martin Schultz, Burton Wendroff,  M. Zlamal,  P. G. Ciarlet, P. A. Raviart, Arantes Oliveira, Ivo Babuska, Franco Brezzi, J.A. Nitsche, Jim Douglas, Todd Dupont, A. H. Schatz, Mary Wheeler, Gilbert Strang, Gabriel Best

Location: Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory (Dayton, Ohio),  General Dynamics (Ft. Worth, Texas)

Copyright: Reprinted from "A History of Scientific Computing," Stephen G.
Nash, editor, pp. 152 -128. (c) 1990 ACM Press (Association for Computing
Machinery, Inc.) by permission.


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