I am honored to be taking over the reins from Pam Cook as president of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) for the next two years, starting January 1, 2017. Pam remains as past-president during 2017. I look forward to helping to address the challenges facing SIAM and to working with the excellent SIAM officers and staff.
Eighteen months ago I wrote a “candidate statement” for the fall 2015 SIAM elections. The comments I made then remain valid and so I thought it would be worth reproducing the statement here.
The January/February 2017 issue of SIAM News will contain my first From the SIAM President column, in which I give further thoughts on SIAM’s future.
I am happy to receive comments from SIAM members or potential members, either in the box below or by email.
Candidate Statement: SIAM is the leading international organization for applied mathematics and has been an important part of my professional life since I joined as a PhD student, 31 years ago. SIAM is the first place that many people turn to for publications, conferences, and news about applied mathematics and it represents the profession nationally and internationally.
I have been fortunate to be involved in the leadership for many years, having spent six years on the Council, eight years on the Board, and having recently served two terms as Vice President At Large (2010-2013).
SIAM faces a number of challenges that, if elected as President, I relish helping to address, working with SIAM members, SIAM officers, and the excellent SIAM staff.
SIAM’s publications remain strong, but are vulnerable to changes in the way scholarly journals operate (open access, article processing charges, etc.). SIAM needs to monitor the situation and respond appropriately, while striving to provide an even greater service to authors, referees and editors, for example by better use of web tools.
SIAM’s membership is also healthy, but SIAM must continue to enhance membership benefits and work hard to attract and retain student members, who are the future of the society, and to provide value for its members in industry.
Book sales are declining globally and in academic publishing it is becoming harder to find authors with the time to write a book. Nevertheless, the SIAM book program is in a strong position and the 2015 review of the program that I chaired has produced a list of recommendations that should help it to thrive.
SIAM conferences are a terrific place to learn about the latest developments in the subject, meet SIAM staff, browse SIAM books, and attend a business meeting. Attendances continue to grow (the SIAM CSE meeting in Salt Lake City last March was the largest ever SIAM meeting, with over 1700 attendees), but in any given year, the majority of SIAM’s 14,000 members do not attend a SIAM conference. Audio and slide captures of selected lectures are made available on SIAM Presents, but we need to do more to help members engage in virtual participation.
The SIAM web site has provided sterling service for a number of years, but is in need of a major redesign, which is underway. This is an excellent opportunity to integrate better the many services (conferences, journals, books, membership, activity groups, chapters, sections, etc.) in a responsive design. Beyond the core website, SIAM has a strong social media presence, posts a wide variety of videos on its YouTube channel, hosts SIAM Blogs (which I was involved in setting up in 2013), has recently made SIAM News available online, and has SIAM Connect and SIAM Unwrapped as further outlets. Optimizing the use of all these communication tools will be an ongoing effort.
These are just some of the challenges facing SIAM in the future as it continues to play a global leadership role for applied mathematics.