Computational Mathematics Group

The Computational Mathematics Group was established at the 1983 AGM of ANZIAM as its first special interest group. It has as its first responsibility the enhancement of Computational Mathematics within Australia. The principal means for achieving this are the biennial CTAC Conferences and Workshops.

CTAC stands for Computational Techniques and Applications, a name suggested by Clive Fletcher when organising the first meeting in 1983. The biennial meetings are organised to provide both a forum for researchers working in the area of computational mathematics and an interface to the wider community in scientific and technical computing. They have benefited, in particular, from strong contributions from the Engineering Community. Typically, workshops on topics such as high performance computing have been held in conjunction with the biennial meetings in order to study these topics in greater depth. A public lecture on computing matters of current interest has been held at most recent meetings.

Rules of Procedure

Computational Mathematics Group - Rules

Previous CTAC Meetings

Year Venue Director Proceedings Editor
1983 Sydney University Clive Fletcher Clive Fletcher and John Noye
1985 University of Melbourne Rob May Rob May and John Noye
1987 Sydney University Clive Fletcher Clive Fletcher and John Noye
1989 Grifith University Bill Hogarth Bill Hogarth and John Noye
1991 University of Adelaide Basil Benjamin and John Noye Basil Benjamin, Len Colgan, and John Noye
1993 Australian National University Mike Osborne Henry Gardner, David Singleton, and David Stewart
1995 Swinburne University of Technology Alan Easton Alan Easton and Rob May
1997 University of Adelaide John Noye Alan Gill, John Noye, and Michael Teubner
1999 Australian National University Mike Osborne David Harrar and Thanh Tran
2001 University of Queensland Kevin Burrage John Belward, Kevin Burrage, Roger Sidje and Elliot Tonkes
2003 ICIAM 2003, Darling Harbour, Sydney Jerard Barry Jagoda Crawford
2004 The University of Melbourne Malcom Davidson Rob May
  2006 James Cook University
          Wayne Read
 Wayne Read
 2008 Australian National University
 Linda Stals Geoff Mercer
 2010 University of New South Wales
 Thanh Tran
 William McLean
 2012 Queensland University of Technology
 Ian Turner
Scott William McCue, Timothy Moroney, Dann Mallett, Judith Bunder
2014Australian National UniversityMarkus HeglandJason Sharples, Markus Hegland and Steve Armfield
2016   Monash University Simon Clarke Jerome Droniou, Michael Page and Simon Clarke
2018   Newcastle City Hall  Dr Bishnu Lamichhane  Laurate Prof. Scott Sloan, Prof. Rick Middleton, A/Prof. Mike Meylan, A/Prof. Chris Wensrich, Dr Bishnu Lamichhane, Dr David Allingham, Mrs Juliane Turner
2020  UNSW (online due to Covid-19)  Quoc Thong le Gia  Bill McLean, Shev MacNamara


CMG Executive


William McLean

University of New South Wales

Past Chair: Bishnu Lamichane University of Newcastle
Secretary: Quoc Le Gia University of New South Wales
Treasurer: Stephen Roberts Australian National University
Members: Frances KuoUniversity of New South Wales
Linda Stals Australian National University
Tiangang Cui Monash University
Steve Armfield University of Sydney
Tim MoroneyQueensland University of Technology
Shev MacNamaraUniversity of Technology Sydney



Proposal for a Computational Mathematics Group with the Division of Applied Mathematics

This proposal comes on behalf of the committee of the CTAC - 83 to be held in Sydney 28-31 August 1983. Some of the committee from the Victorian Branch of the Division organised the successful conference on Numerical Solution of Partial Differential Equations at the University of Melbourne in August, 1981.

Because of the desire of this committee to be linked formally with the Division of Applied Mathematics, the executive of the Division was informed of the intention and they have been kept up to date with the developments. Also, an invitation to comment on the proposal was included in the first brochure announcing CTAC - 83. Thirty three returns were received, 27 supporting and 6 against the establishment of a Computational Branch.

With this background the CTAC - 83 committee has prepared a schedule of Rules and procedure for adoption by the Division. The proposal for a Computatiional Mathematics Group is consistent with the constitution of the Division and its formation will acknowledge and encourage the growing importance of Computational Mathematics in Australia. The aim is to do this within the framework of the Division so that it can project a more positive image in Industry and Education.

Activities suggested by the members of the Division include organising conferences, workshops, courses for industrial applications, newsletter etc and these have been included in the objectives of the Group. Comments from the Executive of the Division have been helpful in the preparation of the Rules.

We believe that the formation of a Computational Mathematics Group will benefit the Division and its Members.

Submitted by A. Easton on behalf of J. Noye, C. Fletcher, J. Atkinson, F. Barrington.

John Noye and the Development of CTAC

At the General Meeting of the Computational Mathematics Group held during the CTAC99 Conference the following motion was proposed:

This meeting of CTAC99 notes with regret the inability of Professor John Noye to be present due to ill health. The meeting expresses and records its appreciation of the driving force and foresight provided by John which led to the formation of CTAC as the most significant computation conference series in Australia. John's continued and enthusiastic support, despite medical difficulties, has not only maintained but expanded the importance of CTAC to the computational community. As a small mark of its appreciation and respect, the proceedings of CTAC99 will be dedicated to Professor John Noye.

The motion was passed by acclamation.

The motion tries, but is inadequate, to do justice to a singular effort in support of a labour of love. The following notes attempt to fill in more of the detail of a remarkable record. In preparing these I have had the support of colleagues Frank Barrington, Jerard Barry, Alan Easton, Clive Fletcher, and Rob May, all of whom have contributed significantly to the Computational Mathematics Group, while Bill Summerfield extracted for me copies of the relevant entries in the ANZIAM minutes. I am extremely grateful to all of them.

Rainer Radok was something of a singular point in the evolution of Australian Applied Mathematics. He may not have been a comfortable colleague, but his interests and influence have lived on and prospered in the Computational Mathematics Group of ANZIAM, and in the very successful series of CTAC Conferences. Important names in the early and pre-history of CTAC include Bob Anderssen, Alan Easton, Rob May, and, in particular, John Noye — all students directly influenced by Radok at Adelaide or Flinders Universities. In one way or another, they were all active in promoting computational mathematics within the Victorian Branch of ANZIAM — then the Applied Mathematics Division of AMS — and in enlisting the contributions of others.

Frank Barrington was secretary of the Victorian Branch from 1974 until 1981. He recalls the active interest within the Branch in the numerical solution of partial differential equations and the practical application of these methods in industry. This led to a series of meetings including a significant precursor on "The Numerical Simulation of Fluid Motion" held at Monash University in 1976. John Noye was involved at least from 1975 when he persuaded Clive Fletcher, recently returned from Berkley, to participate by contributing a review paper on Galerkin methods. A proceedings was edited by John and published by North Holland. The Branch discussed the "big" pde meeting from time to time. The "big" meeting, Numerical Solution of Partial Differential Equations, was held at the University of Melbourne from 23-27 August, 1981. Frank describes the circumstances as follows: "Meaning no disrespect to any of my colleagues involved, it was John who was the driving force in getting the 1981 meeting off the ground. He travelled across to Melbourne a few times to help us plot the conference. And at the first meeting, he gave several survey talks single-handed: the first 137 pages of the proceedings are John's contribution. As for the conference itself — Rhys Jones and John planned the program as I recall while Alan Easton and I were more concerned with making the appropriate domestic arrangements." Frank's report to the Applied Mathematics Division as secretary of the Victorian Branch states: "We must make special mention of the tireless efforts of Dr. John Noye who acted as Conference Director and Editor of the Proceedings". John edited the proceedings which was published by North Holland. They continued to publish the CTAC Proceedings until 1991.

The success of the 1981 meeting led to the decision to hold a follow-up meeting at Sydney University from 28-31 August, 1983. Clive Fletcher agreed to organise this meeting, and suggested the name Computational Techniques and Applications. At this time the Applied Mathematics Division received a request to establish a Computational Mathematics Group within the Division. This request was conveyed by Alan Easton on behalf of a steering group comprising himself, John Noye, Clive Fletcher, John Atkinson, and Frank Barrington. This group, with Alan Easton making most of the running, prepared a "Schedule of Rules and Procedure". The proposal to establish the CMG was accepted by the Division, but not before the executive attempted to change the name to Computational Techniques Group. There were also some reservations among the steering group, and Clive Fletcher writes :" We "reluctantly" agreed to be a special interest group of AMS because it means some assistance or fall-back with mailouts etc. However we have always sought to maintain autonomy". A survey carried out as part of the first circular mailout for CTAC83 showed a healthy but not unanimous majority in favour of the new status. At the first meeting of the CMG at CTAC83 John Noye was elected Chair. John and Clive Fletcher edited the proceedings.

The 1985 meeting was held at Melbourne University from the 25'th to the 28'th of August and directed by Rob May. The success of the meeting can be gauged by an expression of concern made at the next Applied Mathematics Division meeting "that some members of the Division were more prepared to attend "CTAC's" than the Annual Conference". John Noye was elected Chair of the CMG for a second term. The proceedings were edited by John and Rob May .

CTAC87 returned to Sydney University, being held from the 24'th to the 27'th of August. It was directed by Clive Fletcher who subsequently was elected Chair of the CMG. John Noye remained on the committee, and John and Clive edited the proceedings.

There were two departures from previous practice at CTAC89 held at Grifith University from July 10 to July 12. The first was the introduction of an International Steering Committee (a practice not followed subsequently), and the second was the holding of two workshops in association with the meeting. For the first time supercomputing was explicit on the program, and workshops on aspects of high performance computing have been held frequently since. The CMG committee was instructed to lobby for the provision of supercomputing facilities for a broad range of access. The conference attracted 141 participants. At this meeting Clive Fletcher was reelected Chair, and John Noye continued on the committee. The proceedings were edited by John Noye and Bill Hogarth, the Director of CTAC89.

The next CTAC was held on John's home turf at the University of Adelaide from July 15 to July 17. John chaired the Organising Committee while Basil Benjamin shared responsibilities as Conference Director. Jerard Barry recalls that John was most supportive of his running the first hands-on tutorial session on vector supercomputing as part of CTAC91. It proved an extremely well run meeting despite complications caused by the University calendar, by a clash with another meeting that involved several CTAC stalwarts, and by the administrative difficulties caused by the reluctance of North Holland to continue publishing the proceedings. The result of North Holland's withdrawal was that John Noye, Basil Benjamin, and Len Colgan became publishers as well as editors. Jerard Barry became Chair of the CMG, while John continued on the committee.

CTAC93 was held at the Australian National University from July 5 to July 9, and was directed by Mike Osborne. A new departure was the holding of a public lecture given by Trevor Robinson, a stalwart of the computer industry and advisor to the then Industry Minister, Senator Button. The 130 participants enjoyed uncharacteristic conditions provided by the wettest July on record. The proceedings were published by World Scientific, and edited by David Stewart, David Singleton, and Henry Gardner. This was the first time in seven meetings that John Noye was not an editor of the proceedings. He is still on the CMG Committee though which is chaired by Mike Osborne.

CTAC95 returned to Melbourne, this time to be held at Swinburne University of Technology from July 3 to July 7. This meeting attracted over 150 participants, and 120 papers were presented. Dr Chris Freidl of Moldflow presented the public lecture. CTAC stalwarts were well to the fore with Alan Easton directing the meeting, and Alan and Rob May editing the proceedings which were published by World Scientific. As further evidence of normality, John Noye was elected Chair of the CMG for the third time. A new departure was an exhibition, perhaps the nearest Alan could get to realising his imaginative idea of a competition between pde solver packages.

CTAC97 was not planned for Adelaide, but John Noye (battling health problems) and an effective committee, very much at the last moment, stepped into the gap created when the intended organisers could not continue. The meeting was held at Adelaide University from September 29 to October 1. This date, forced by the circumstances of the late change, proved popular with participants who contributed 104 papers — an especially good result given the change in venue and short notice. The proceedings were edited by John, Michael Teubner, and Andrew Gill and published by World Scientific. John was elected Chair of the CMG for the fourth time, a record that seems unlikely to be surpassed.

Updated: 30 Sep 2020