History of Numerical Analysis


Oral Histories





Mina Rees

Links: Smithsonian
pdf 1
pdf 2
pdf 3

In part I, Mina Rees recalls her career in mathematics prior to the war, her wartime participation in the Applied Mathematics Panel of the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD), and the start of her postwar career with the Office of Naval Research (ONR). In part II, she discusses the institution of the Institute of Numerical Analysis at UCLA and the funding goals of the ONR concerning the development of mathematics to support computing and basic research. In part III, she discusses her interaction with John von Neumann, Alston Householder, George Dantzig, and others, the people drawn to the INA, and the beginning of joint effort with the Air Force. Finally, she comments on the impact of the ONR on research in numerical analysis, scientific computing, and engineering applications

Key words: explosives, air warfare, statistics, game theory, linear programming, logistics, operations research, nonlinear differential equations, Mathematical Tables Project, Works Progress Administration (WPA), Mark I,  numerical weather prediction, Engineering Research Associates, SEAC, stored program, arithmetic design, ENIAC, Los Alamos, crystallography, SIAM, SIGNUM, matrix inversion, ILLIAC

Funding Agency: Office of Naval Research

Time frame: 1940's, 1950's, 1960's

People: Abraham Taub, Jerzy Neyman, Warren Weaver, Thornton Fry, Richard Courant, John von Neumann, Herman Goldstine, John Curtiss, Edward Condon, C.B. Tompkins, George Dantzig, Barkeley Rosser, Alston Householder, Louis Ridenhour, Vannever Bush, Peter Lax, Kurt Friedrichs, Garrett Birkhoff

Location: Hunter College, University of Chicago, New York University, Columbia University, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Northwestern University, Princeton, Office of Naval Research, Institute for Numerical Analysis (UCLA), National Bureau of Standards, Courant Institute, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Cambridge Air Force Research Center, University of Illinois

Copyright: Smithsonian, National Museum of American History,
Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation




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