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Professor J. Tinsley Oden

Associate Vice President for Research
Founder and Director,
Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences (ICES)
The University of Texas at Austin


Dr. Oden is an Associate Vice President for Research and Director of the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences (ICES) at The University of Texas at Austin. He was the founding Director of that Institute, which was created in January of 2003 as an expansion of the Texas Institute for Computational and Applied Mathematics, also directed by Oden for over a decade. The Institute supports broad interdisciplinary research and academic programs in computational engineering and sciences, involving four colleges and 17 academic departments within UT Austin.

Oden holds the Cockrell Family Regents’ Chair in Engineering and the Peter O’Donnell, Jr. Centennial Chair in Computer Systems at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Oden is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and the National Academies of Engineering of Mexico and of Brazil. He is also a member of The American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He serves on numerous national and international organizational, scientific, and advisory committees including the NSF Blue Ribbon Panel on Simulation-Based Engineering Science and the Task Force on Cyber Science and Grand Challenge Communities and Virtual Organizations. He is an Editor of Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering and serves on the editorial board of 28 scientific journals.

Dr. Oden has worked extensively on the mathematical theory and implementation of numerical methods applied to problems in solid and fluid mechanics and, particularly, nonlinear continuum mechanics and, in recent years, multi-scale modeling, stochastic systems, and uncertainty quantification. He is an author or editor of over 500 scientific works, including 53 books. He has advised 34 M.S. students and 42 Ph.D. students. He has received numerous awards in recognition of his research accomplishments including the Title of Chevalier dans l’ordre des Palmes Academiques from the French government, the Worcester Reed Warner Medal, Melvin R. Lohmann Medal, Theodore von Karman Medal, John von Neumann Medal, Newton-Gauss Congress Medal, the Stephen P. Timoshenko Medal, and the O.C. Zienkiewicz Medal. He has received five honorary doctorates, Honoris Causa, from the Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal; the Faculte Polytechnique, Belgium; Cracow University of Technology, Poland; the Ecole Normale Superieure de Cachan in France; and the Presidential Citation from the University of Texas at Austin.

The Institute for Scientific Information lists Dr. Oden as one of the most highly cited researchers in the world from 1981 – 1999 in refereed, peer-reviewed journals. Most recently, he has been elected to the status of Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) for his outstanding contributions to the fields served by SIAM. He is also the recipient of the SIAM Prize for Distinguished Service to the Profession, which is awarded to an applied mathematician who has made distinguished contributions to the furtherance of applied mathematics on the national level.

Dr. Oden is an Honorary Member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and bis a Fellow of seven international scientific/technical societies: IACM, AAM, ASME, ASCE, SES, BMIA, and SIAM. He is a Fellow, founding member, and first President of the U.S. Association for Computational Mechanics, a founding member and past President of the International Association for Computational Mechanics, and a past President the American Academy of Mechanics and the Society of Engineering Science.


The period of slightly over a half-century, beginning with the emergence of
digital computing and the introduction of finite element methods in the midtwentieth
century and ending in the current age of computer modeling and
simulation, is but a heart beat in millennia of human existence. But, it is a
period of enormous historical significance. During it, the foundations of
engineering and science were permanently changed. The traditional heuristic
and approximate methods of the past have been rendered obsolete and
displaced by quantitative methods for handling models of engineering systems
and physical phenomena governed by partial differential equations and, now, by
discrete models as well. This has resulted in a revolution of engineering,
impacting all aspects of analysis and design, changing the foundations of
engineering education, and lifting computer modeling and simulation to the
level of a third pillar of scientific discovery.
This lecture attempts to answer the question: What’s next? What, in particular,
can be inferred from the rapid move to miniaturization in many technological
areas, the dramatic advances in data-intensive computing, the growing use of
imaging, sensors, and feedback control systems in guiding simulations, the
widespread interest in the analysis of biological systems and in the simulation
of events that take place at cellular and molecular levels, the dramatic progress
in biomedical applications, advances in nanomanufacturing, and, in all of these
areas, the move toward the development of methods to quantify uncertainties in
engineering predictions? One picture that emerges is that engineering analysis
itself will become more broadly based and will require interdisciplinary
approaches to a multitude of problems that bridge traditional engineering
fields. There will arise more frequently a need for models that bridge several
spatial and temporal scales, that couple finite element methods to models of
microscale events, that are guided by imaging and other data processing
systems, and that demand a higher level of specificity in the quality of
predictions, their uncertainty, and their variability with uncertain data. Several
examples are given to illustrate these issues and to help provide a forecast of
computational engineering in 2020.