William R. Pulleyblank, Director, Mathematical Sciences, and Director, Deep Computing Institute, T.J. Watson Research Center, IBM Corporation

William R. Pulleyblank's research interests lie in the theory and practice of solutions to very large-scale optimization problems. As director of Mathematical Sciences and the recently formed Deep Computing Institute at IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center, he is involved in a wide variety of projects involving high-performance computation and parallel processing.

Pulleyblank became involved with computing during his sophomore year at the University of Calgary, where he earned a B.A. in mathematics in 1968 and an M.S. in mathematics in 1969. "Because Calgary is a center for the petroleum industry, I became involved at an early stage with the demands of geophysical processing," he says. "I initially worked on seismic applications on an IBM array processor. Subsequently, I worked on benchmarks and applications at the IBM Petroleum Exploration and Production Industry Center."

Pulleyblank pursued graduate studies in computer science at the University of Waterloo, receiving his Ph.D. in 1973. He was assistant professor at the University of Calgary Computer Science Department from 1974 to 1979 and associate professor from 1979 to 1981. He returned to the University of Waterloo as an associate professor and become a full professor in 1985. In 1988, Pulleyblank was named Canadian Pacific-Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Professor of Optimization and Computer Applications.

"At the University of Waterloo, I held an Industrial Research Chair, which enabled me to advance the applied content in the graduate and undergraduate programs as well as attacking several applied problems for Canadian Pacific Rail," he says. "When I came to IBM Research, I was able to lead in the expansion of the Optimization Center and to assist in the launch of the data mining activity within IBM."

Pulleyblank joined IBM in 1990 as manager of the Optimization Center in the Mathematical Sciences Department and was promoted to director of the department in 1994. Mathematical Science has approximately 100 members working in such areas as dynamical systems, statistics, optimization, theory of computation, data mining, natural language understanding, machine translation, biometrics, and computational biology.

Since 1994, Pulleyblank has also served as the research executive responsible for the Finance Sector. This involves managing a broad range of activities between research and IBM's unit for banking and financial services. He was appointed director of the Deep Computing Institute in 1999 while retaining his other responsibilities. The Deep Computing Institute is a cross-line organization within IBM research formed to accelerate activities that apply large amounts of computer power to very large data sets to enhance business decisions. Some of the activities include weather modeling, airline scheduling, and bioinformatics.

Pulleyblank is an active member of many professional societies and centers. In addition to serving on the CRPC External Advisory Committee, he is a member of the Board of Mathematical Sciences of the National Research Council (NRC), Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science (DIMACS) External Advisory Board, Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (PIMS) Advisory Council, Rutgers University International Conferences on Discrete Applied Mathematics and Operations Research (RUTCOR) International Advisory Board, and The Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences Scientific Advisory Panel. He serves on numerous editorial boards and has authored or co-authored more than 70 articles, papers, and book chapters.

"Parallel computing is clearly establishing itself as a standard component of high-performance computation," says Pulleyblank. "CRPC has played a vital role in this and in helping with the emergence of robust, scalable processors as well as applications that can take advantage of the power of parallel computation."

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