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January 1993

Christian Bischof

Computer Scientist, Argonne National Laboratory

Chris Bischof was attracted to computational science early in his college education, changing direction from a path that focused narrowly on numerical mathematics. "I didn't care for the abstract and problem-free nature in which mathematics and algorithms were presented to me," he explains. "I'm more of a hands-on guy and in my current line of work, mathematics, computer science, and applications work are nicely balanced. I also really enjoy it when other researchers or practitioners are making use of my work."

Bischof's current and long-term work focuses on the development of better algorithms for automatic differentiation (AD) and their implementation in a language-independent common AD infrastructure, the exploitation of parallelism enabled by AD, and the development of methodologies for exploiting mathematical and program insight to make optimal use of AD tools. He is also pursuing the development of a parallel band reduction and tridiagonalization toolbox.

In his thesis, Bischof devised the concept of incremental condition estimation, which enabled novel approaches to the computation of rank-revealing factorizations. He also was one of the developers of the public-domain LAPACK linear algebra library. As part of his CRPC-supported work, he is one of the initiators of the ADIFOR project for a portable Fortran automatic differentiation system (see "Research Focus" article). He is also working on the ADIC (Automatic Differentiation of C) system for the differentiation of C programs and is involved in the Parallel Research in Invariant Subspace Methods (PRISM) project for the development of scalable parallel eigensolvers.

Of the ADIFOR project, Bischof says, "Without the CRPC, ADIFOR would not exist. The CRPC served as the incubator that allowed us to get our ideas developed to the point where we could show practical relevance. Access to the Fortran group infrastructure through my collaborator, Alan Carle, was instrumental in getting us off the ground. Joint research projects using Fortran-M and with the optimization methods also helped to expose the broad applicability and parallel potential of our work."

Bischof studied mathematics with a minor in computer science at University of Wurzburg, Germany, from 1980 until 1983, and then left for Cornell University on a Fulbright fellowship. In 1988, he obtained a Ph.D. in computer science at Cornell. He then joined Argonne National Laboratory as an Argonne Scholar. Bischof went on to become an assistant computer scientist before being promoted to his current position of computer scientist in 1992. He has been a visiting scientist at the Technical University of Denmark and the IBM Scientific Center in Heidelberg, Germany; visiting professor at the University of Stuttgart, Germany; and is an adjunct assistant professor at both Northern Illinois University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Bischof was the first recipient of the Wilkinson Fellowship in Computational Mathematics, awarded by Argonne National Laboratory in 1988. He won the "best paper" award at the CONPAR90/VAPP IV Joint Conference on Vector and Parallel Processing in 1990. He and Alan Carle were awarded the 1995 Wilkinson Prize for Numerical Software for the ADIFOR 2.0 system, presented last July at ICIAM 95 in Hamburg, Germany. He is a co-author of the LAPACK User's Guides and the author or co-author of more than 80 articles and technical reports.

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