Concepts familiar from grade-school algebra have broad ramifications in computer science.
The governing board of the Singapore-MIT Alliance (SMA) has named Professor Anthony T. Patera of the Department of Mechanical Engineering as the new MIT co-director.
Professor Patera has filled numerous positions in SMA. He is a Faculty Fellow in the SMA Programme in High-Performance Computation for Engineered Systems (HPCES); he was formerly the MIT programme chair of HPCES; and he has served as MIT deputy director of SMA since the alliance began in November 1998.
The Singapore-MIT Alliance is an innovative global engineering education and research collaboration among the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and MIT. Promoting global engineering education and research, the alliance stretches across 12 time zones to offer graduate degree programs in Advanced Materials for micro- and nanosystems, innovation in manufacturing systems and technology, molecular engineering of biological and chemical systems, computer science and HPCES.
SMA utilizes modern communications technologies in what may be the largest distance education collaboration in the world today. Forty-three MIT faculty from six departments and two schools collaborate with 46 Singaporean colleagues to provide graduate education and research supervision to 133 SMA students. Many SMA courses are also offered simultaneously to MIT students here at the Institute; more than 200 students have participated in these subjects since September 1999.
Provost Robert A. Brown said, "Tony's contributions to the growth and development of this pioneering collaboration in global education have been outstanding. He combines experience in education technologies with strong leadership and teaching and research excellence."
The Singapore co-director of SMA, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of NUS Hang Chang Chieh, also strongly endorsed Professor Patera. "HPCES has prospered under his leadership, and his activities as deputy director, working closely with Professor Merton Flemings, have been essential to the success that SMA has enjoyed broadly."
Professor Patera succeeds Professor Merton C. Flemings as MIT co-director. Recognized last April for distinguished contributions to the field of materials science, Professor Flemings will be leaving SMA to become director of the Lemelson-MIT Innovation Award Program.
Professor Patera has published more than 100 publications on scientific and engineering computation; numerical methods, in particular variational approximations for partial differential equations; uncertainty analysis and a posteriori error estimation; parallel processing; and applied mechanics, in particular fluid dynamics and transport phenomena, and hydrodynamic stability theory.
He received in 1994 the Giovanni Sacchi-Landriani Prize from the Lombardy Academy of Arts and Sciences for his contributions to numerical methods for partial differential equations. In 1997, he received the School of Engineering Professor of Teaching Innovation,a chair that recognizes teaching excellence and supports initiatives in research and teaching programs. He has also received the Den Hartog and Spira awards for excellence in teaching in 1987 and 1994, respectively.
Professor Patera received the SB (1978) and SM (1980) from MIT in mechanical engineering. He joined the mechanical engineering faculty after completing his doctorate in applied mathematics at MIT in 1982. He became a full professor in 1991. From 1989-94, he was co-director of the MIT Supercomputer Facility, which aimed to make supercomputer cycles generally available for undergraduate and graduate education at MIT, and he is also a member of the Council on Educational Technology.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 28, 2001.