Letter from the ICIAM President Wil Schilders

Dear ICIAM colleagues and friends,

A New Year has begun, and on behalf of all officers I would like to wish you a very successful, happy and healthy 2024. We are looking forward to a new year with many new opportunities to work on our mission to promote industrial and applied mathematics. But we are also looking backward to a very successful year 2023.

Most prominently we look back at the ICIAM 2023 congress which was held in Tokyo, and which was organised very well: the location at Waseda University was great, the distance between the various buildings was minimal and there were many opportunities to sit down and meet colleagues from all over the world and have fruitful discussions. The organisers had to organise this conference in a period where COVID-19 was affecting the entire world, but they managed in a superb way, equipping all rooms with facilities to allow for hybrid sessions, and attracting more than 5000 participants (a few hundred attending online). The conference had 27 renowned keynote speakers who gave splendid talks on a wide variety of subjects, the Olga Taussky-Todd lecture was given by Ilse Ipsen. Furthermore, the 6 winners of the ICIAM prizes were honoured:

  • ICIAM Collatz prize: Maria Colombo

  • ICIAM Lagrange prize: Alfio Quarteroni

  • ICIAM Maxwell prize: Weinan E

  • ICIAM Pioneer prize: Leslie Greengard

  • ICIAM Su Buchin prize: Jose Mario Martinez Perez

  • ICIAM Industry prize: Cleve Moler

The organisers of the next conference (ICIAM 2027 in The Hague) also presented themselves, and the theme will be ‘’Mathematics for a sustainable future’’. In the next few years, you will increasingly hear more about this major event. You can visit the website for more information.

The theme of the 2027 ICIAM Congress complies very well with the theme of the ‘’International Decade of Sciences for Sustainable Development’’ which is a follow-action of the ‘’International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development (IYBSSD 2022-2023). These initiatives have been put forward to UNESCO by the International Science Foundation (ISC), of which ICIAM is a full member. The ISC committee within ICIAM has been very active in the past year, attending the General Assembly of the ISC in Paris, May 2023, and working closely together with the IMU on the proposed changes of the ISC statutes. It is important that ICIAM is present in the ISC, a powerful organisation that is recognised as one of the main representatives of science. A few years ago, we participated in a storybook project that the BBC launched together with the ISC:. ICIAM also remained very active in the Standing Committee for Gender Equality in Science (SCGES), formerly an ISC activity. A number of international organizations, among them ICIAM, wishes to act together to further promote gender equality in science by continuing and enlarging the work accomplished by this project and, in particular, by supporting women and girls' equal access to science education and fostering equal opportunity and treatment for females in their careers.

In 2023, we also saw quite a few conferences, in the same spirit as the ICIAM congress, but specifically held on the regional level. End of January, the first Latin American Congress on Industrial and Applied Mathematics (LACIAM) was held in Rio de Janeiro. It was decided to hold this conference every 3 years, and the next one will be in Valparaiso (Chile) from January 19-23, 2026. End of June, the 22nd congress of the European Consortium of Mathematics for Industry (ECMI) was held in Wroclaw. The next ECMI conference will be held, as many of the previous editions, in an even year again, i.e. in 2026. Right after the ICIAM Congress in Tokyo, the annual Forum Mathematics for Industry (FMfI) was held in Fukuoka. It was the 15th edition of this Forum, since a few years organised by the Asia Pacific Consortium of Mathematics for Industry (APCMfI). In November, the African Conference of Mathematics and Applications (ACOMA 2023) was organised in Rwanda. Plans are being made to make this a regular event, and at the next edition, it is planned to launch an African organisation for industrial and applied mathematics. It is great to see all these regional events, besides that there are many other conferences where industrial and applied mathematics play a major role, often organised by members of ICIAM.

ICIAM was also represented at some important events, such as the annual Abel prize ceremony held in Oslo end of May, and the annual Heidelberg Laureate Forum that was held in Heidelberg end of September where Abel prize and Fields medal winners are present. It is of prime importance to keep on stressing the importance of mathematics for applications, for the challenges of our world, and being visible at the aforementioned events can help to improve the position of ICIAM.

We are also very happy that the ICIAM newsletter ‘’Dianoia’’ has been continuing its great work, informing our members with news and of important events. Much is happening in the world of applied and industrial mathematics, and the newsletter is a great source of information for this. We encourage all of you to subscribe to this newsletter, and would appreciate very much if you could also stimulate your colleagues to do this. Anyone who is not already a subscriber can just go to the very end of the News page on the ICIAM website, enter their email address and subscribe! Our aim is to double subscriptions in 2024.

While still enjoying the great feelings about the successful year 2023, let us now look forward to the year 2024. In 2023, we welcomed two new officers-at-large, Yvonne Stokes and Kenji Kajiwara, whereas Luis Vega and Heike Fassbender were elected for a second term. In 2024, we will elect two additional officers-at-large, so that we will be a team of 10. This is absolutely necessary, there are many tasks for the officers. The website needs to be modernised and we will also need to switch to a new system. We would like to see a much more active website, with more news that is important for our members, and with more news that comes from our members. Besides this, ICIAM activity on social media will be increased. We will also employ other ways to make ICIAM more visible; for example, a flyer has been designed that can be downloaded from the website and distributed at conferences and other events.

We would also like to increase the interaction with our member societies. Some officers will take up the task of taking care of certain regions of the world, and to be in close contact with member societies in these regions. In July 2022, the officers had a first meeting with the Latin American member societies, and we wish to have more of such meetings as well as increase membership in all regions of the world. We can learn a lot from each other, and it is good to share these ideas to provide mathematics in industry and applications an even more prominent position. Furthermore, we would like to get to know our member societies better, learn more about how they are organised, what activities they undertake.

As the new president, I Iaunched a plan with quite a number of ideas and suggestions, and these will be discussed amongst the officers, actions will be undertaken, and discussions with the board and our member societies will be held. It remains extremely important to show that mathematics is increasingly crucial and indispensable in our world with its complex challenges that have no simple solutions. Mathematics can help in many ways and in many directions, and politicians as well as policy makers should be made aware of this. Let us all work on this, together we are strong!

Once again, happy New Year to all of you, and let’s make 2024 a very successful year for ICIAM!

Wil Schilders, president


Wil Schilders

ICIAM President Wil Schilders is emeritus professor, Eindhoven University of Technology and director of the Dutch Platform for Mathematics. Previously he worked at Philips Research and NXP Semiconductors. He was founder and President of EU-MATHS-IN.