The 2020 ICIAM Board Meeting: A Member's Report

ICIAM Board meeting.  Saturday 26 September

The ICIAM Board meeting was held online, chaired by the President Ya-xiang Yuan, with the support of the secretary Sven Leyffer, who inter alia conducted the online voting, and Maria Esteban, the previous President, who organized the posting of the presentations. This meeting replaced the originally planned Board meeting that would have been hosted by the IMA and held at Strathclyde University.

The online system, Zoom, worked well with questions and comments from Board members being accepted through chat postings to Wil Schilders.  On being invited to contribute, one then unmuted oneself and made the contribution. Normally, the face-to-face meetings are all-day meetings with a lunch break. The online meeting lasted 3.5 hours with a single 5 minute virtual coffee break although with a shortened agenda.  It did not seem significantly shortened from previous Board meetings, but all presentations were restricted to five minutes.  Of course, one missed greatly many aspects of face-to-face meetings, as personal interaction is very important in this internationally collaborative venture. There was also no scientific workshop preceding the meeting as has been the case for previous years.

The was a slight problem with the voting system. The voting questions were prepared in advance and their wording couldn't be altered because of earlier discussions, although any modifications were agreed and recorded verbally before the vote. There was also a problem with counting abstentions.

It would have been better to have a longer coffee break to actually get a coffee.  The idea of using random break out rooms on Zoom for the virtual coffee break was good and worked well but again there was too little time for them.

The meeting was from 11.00 to 14.30 British summer time which was fine for Europeans but made for a very early start for North American participants and a very late ending for people from East Asia and New Zealand. 

I now give a few comments on the meeting that I should emphasize are just my own. The official minutes will shortly be available from the ICIAM secretary, Sven Leyffer.

The finance report for 2019 showed a very healthy surplus, but this was because 2019 was a Congress year and, because of other support for attendees, the full $40K Conference fee was kept by ICIAM. The original proposal was to increase membership fees by 2.5% but unanimous support for a motion by Volker Mehrmann and myself resulted in a decision to keep fees unchanged for 2021.  I was re-elected as auditor for next year.

There were no new applications for membership of ICIAM but the membership committee was looking at organizations who participated in ICIAM 2019.

A report was presented by Tomas Chacon on the ICIAM 2019 meeting and his slides are available on the ICIAM website.  This was followed by reports on the ICIAM 2023 meeting in Tokyo from the conference organizer and the chair of the Scientific Programme Committee.  The site, Waseda University, has recently built a 6,000 person arena, partially underground.

After our five minute coffee break, we discussed the ICIAM 2027 Congress. A vote was taken to increase the licence fee to 44K USD, with 22K USD to help attendees from developing countries. Since SBMAC (Brazil) had withdrawn their application to host the meeting, presentations were made by ANZIAM for a meeting in Auckland and by KWG for a meeting in the Hague. As both were considered potentially suitable, they were invited to submit full bids for the Board meeting in 2021 when the decision for the location of ICIAM 2027 will be taken. The plan is that a subset of officers would visit the sites during the year and, to allow time for this, given possible problems with international travel, the Board meeting was postponed until October.

The call for nominations for ICIAM Prizes would be announced by the end of this year, with membership of the Prize Committees currently under discussion.  There would be an independent and separate canvassing committee to try to stimulate applications.

After much discussion over the precise wording, approval was given for a new industry prize that would be funded by JSIAM for the first four awards.

Because of COVID, there were no meetings in developing countries this year and the funds would be rolled over to be added to next year's budget for this.

Ya-xiang repeated a call from the ISC committee for help in a range of strategic areas.

Helge Holden who was attending on behalf of IMU said that their centennial celebrations could not be held this year but it is hoped they would be possible next year.  He also mentioned the setting up of an IMU committee on diversity that he felt might be of interest to ICIAM.

The next Board meeting is planned for 28-30 October, 2021 in Tokyo.  The plan is that it should be a face-to-face meeting but the possibility of having a hybrid meeting with some attendees online would be pursued. Sadly, the timing will not be as convenient for European online attendance as this one was.



Iain Duff

Iain Duff is an STFC Honorary Scientist in the Computational Mathematics Group in the Scientific Computing Department of Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. His research includes numerical linear algebra, sparse matrices, parallel computing, and more.