UF computer science professor named to prestigious fellowship

Published: September 26 2013

Category:Announcements, InsideUF, Top Stories

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Tim Davis becomes animated when he talks about his work. The University of Florida computer science professor uses analogies to explain complicated matrices and pulls out books to point at illustrations.

“Mathematics is beautiful,” he said. “It’s not always appreciated in that light.”

Davis was named a Fellow by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics this spring, one of only two people in Florida ever accepted to the fellowship program, and the only one at UF.

He was chosen for his contributions to sparse matrix algorithms and software, and he was honored at an awards ceremony in San Diego.

Davis said his code is used by Google for its Street View and Photo Tours features, and it is also used in the popular MATLAB software.

According to a release from the society, Fellows are nominated for both research and outstanding service in the community.  They help advance the fields of applied mathematics and computational science, the release said.

Davis’ SIAM citation also mentions his work in creating the UF Sparse Matrix Collection, a gallery with 2,600 matrices that arise from real problems.

Davis, who started at UF in 1990, said the university has supported him for 23 years and enabled him to have an impact in his field.

“I’m very glad to bring that honor back to the University of Florida,” he said.

Michele Benzi, a mathematics and computer science professor at Emory University, nominated Davis for the Fellowship.

“I asked him if he was already a Fellow because I thought he was,” he said. “When he told me he was not, I was slightly taken aback.”

Benzi said he uses Davis’ work on a daily basis, and it makes his life a lot easier.

“Tim is somebody who has done very important and very useful work,” Benzi said. “Scientifically, he is very prominent.”

Davis calls himself a “mathematical monkey wrench” and says he loves writing software.

“It’s like a huge Sudoku puzzle,” he said.

Davis also says he thinks his faith plays a part in his success.

“I can’t really take the credit for this. I really believe that God equipped me to do this work,” he said. “I’m just humbled by being able to see that my work gets out there and gets used.”

He said he was honored to be nominated and chosen for the fellowship.

“It’s very heartwarming that my colleagues in the field say, ‘Hey Tim, you’ve done a great job. We really appreciate what you’ve done,’” he said.







Category:Announcements, InsideUF, Top Stories