Xu Appointed as Francis R. and Helen M. Pentz Professor of Science
Jinchao Xu, Distinguished Professor of Mathematics at Penn State, has been honored by the University's Eberly College of Science by being appointed the Francis R. and Helen M. Pentz Professor of Science. The Pentz professorship was established in 1989 to provide outstanding faculty members with the resources necessary to further their teaching, research, and public service.
“Xu is a superstar researcher who is among the most highly cited mathematicians in the world,” said Gary Mullen, professor and acting head of the Penn State Department of Mathematics. “His research accomplishments have been widely recognized worldwide, most recently by his being invited to speak at the world's premier mathematics conference, the International Congress of Mathematicians, to be held in Hyderabad, India, in August 2010.”
Xu is an expert on numerical methods for partial-differential equations that arise from modeling scientific and engineering problems. He is known for his many groundbreaking studies in developing, designing, and analyzing fast methods for solving large-scale systems of equations. His work ranges from studying fundamental theoretical questions in numerical analysis to developing and applying numerical algorithms for practical applications. Several of the theories he has developed have had a major impact on the field of numerical methods for partial differential equations. He is, perhaps, best known for the Bramble-Pasciak-Xu preconditioner-an algorithm that is one of the two most fundamental multigrid approaches for solving large-scale discretized partial-differential equations.
What makes his research stand out is the speed with which his algorithms run for solving scientific and engineering problems. For example, a recent algorithm that he developed with his collaborator is being applied by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for solving magnetohydrodynamics equations. This algorithm was shown to be more than 25 times faster than the best algorithm used in Department of Energy labs at the time (2007). In 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy ranked it as one of the 10 breakthroughs in computational science in recent years.
Xu has published more than 100 scientific papers about his research and is ranked among the most highly cited mathematicians in the world by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). In 1995, Xu's research accomplishments were recognized with the first Feng Kang Prize for Scientific Computing from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Xiangtan University in China. He received a Schlumberger Foundation Award in 1993 and the Natural Science Award from the National Academy of Science in China in 1989. He received the Liu Memorial Award at Cornell University in 1988. In honor of his achievements in computational-mathematics research and teaching, he received the Humboldt Award for Senior U.S. Scientists in 2005. He also received a Research Award for National Outstanding Youth (Class B) in 2006 in China. In 2007, he was invited to give a plenary lecture at the International Congress for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, an event that is held every 4 years and that is the largest international conference for industrial and applied mathematics.
Xu serves on editorial boards for many major journals in computational mathematics. He is also a co-editor of many conference proceedings and research monographs.
Xu earned his bachelor's degree at Xiangtan University in 1982 and his master's degree at Peking University in 1984, both in China. He earned his doctoral degree at Cornell University in 1989. He joined Penn State in 1989 as assistant professor of mathematics, and then was promoted to associate professor in 1991, to professor in 1995, and to Distinguished Professor of Mathematics in 2007. He is also a guest professor at many universities including China's Peking University, where he is the Changjiang Professor. He is the director of the Center for Computational Mathematics and Applications at Penn State. He is a member of the American Mathematical Society and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.