2014 CBMS-NSF Conference:
Fast Direct Solvers for Elliptic PDEs
June 23–29, 2014
Dartmouth College
quasi-periodic scattering one level of hierarchical factorization torus scattering with 3D proxy points


This conference was motivated by the recent rapid progress on developing "direct" (as opposed to "iterative") solvers for elliptic PDEs, which in a single sweep construct an approximate solution operator. Conference themes included:

  1. structured matrix computations that exploit analytic structure in discretized differential and integral equations;
  2. new randomized methods for accelerating certain linear algebraic computations and reducing communication bottlenecks; and
  3. the interplay between direct solvers and high-order discretization techniques that allow the solution of PDEs to ten digits of accuracy or more.
The conference was anchored by 10 summer-school style lectures delivered by Per-Gunnar Martinsson of the University of Colorado at Boulder, with hands-on tutorial afternoon coding sessions to explore the algorithms. Additional topic lectures were given by Alex Barnett (Dartmouth), Adrianna Gillman (Dartmouth), Leslie Greengard (Simons Foundation and NYU), and Vladimir Rokhlin (Yale).

Financial support (lodging, meals, and some travel expenses) was provided for around 40 participants, in particular advanced graduate students, postdocs and junior faculty, with a regional focus. In total we had at least 59 participants, including many international ones, not including the 6 organizers and speakers. Most of our funding was from the NSF-CBMS Program; we had extra support from DoD ASD(R&E) / AFOSR, the Mathematics Department, and the Dean of Faculty.

The conference was followed by a weekend workshop on fast analysis-based solvers for elliptic PDE, Saturday June 28 to Sunday June 29.

We also had activities (hiking, and canoe/kayak/paddleboarding) on Tuesday afternoon, and a banquet. Also see accessibility.

Travel directions for getting to Dartmouth campus are here and here. Boston's Logan Airport has most connections, and is a 2-hour drive, or a nearly 3-hour convenient bus ride door-to-door via the Dartmouth Coach. Manchester airport (MHT) is also a closer option via UV Shuttle. (Burlington airport lacks convenient public transport). Once on campus use the NW map to locate Kemeny Hall. Dartmouth Coach also runs a nice 5-hour bus from New York City.


The organizers, who are indebted to administrators Tracy Moloney and Amy Potter for their help, were:

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