Pioneering math software developer to receive honorary degree at Convocation

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Pioneering math software developer to receive honorary degree at Convocation

Published on June 02 2011

Brock University will bestow an honorary degree upon Anthony C. Hearn at this year’s Fall Convocation taking place during two ceremonies on Saturday, Oct. 16.

“We are extremely pleased to be honouring Dr. Hearn for his groundbreaking contributions to the field of computer algebra,” says President Jack Lightstone.

“The mathematical work of Brock researchers studying complex algebra that requires hours and sometimes days to compute on powerful computers has been aided for many years by Hearn’s software that he initially developed in the 1960s. The world-class research being carried out at our university with graduate students and top international colleagues is based upon computational investigations that would not be possible without the pioneering work of Hearn.”

The ceremonies will be held in the Ian D. Beddis Gymnasium and a reception for graduates, family members and other guests will be held after each ceremony. Tickets are not required. All guests are welcome.

Saturday, Oct. 16, 10 a.m.
An honorary degree will be presented to Anthony C. Hearn:

Brock University is recognizing Anthony C. Hearn for his outstanding scholarly contributions to the field of computer algebra. The impact of his work has had a significant international impact on research in fundamental areas of mathematics, computer science and theoretical physics.

Hearn is an adjunct staff member with the Santa Monica, Calif.-based RAND Corporation, a non-profit research institution that helps improve policy and decision-making, and the IDA Center for Computing Sciences in Bowie, Md.

Hearn received his PhD in Theoretical Physics from Cambridge University in 1962. From 1962 until 1964, he was a research associate in physics at Stanford University, returning as an assistant professor in 1965 after a year at the Rutherford Laboratory in England. In 1969, he joined the University of Utah as an associate professor in physics and was made professor in 1971. From 1973 until 1980, he was professor and chairman of the Department of Computer Science. He joined RAND in July 1980, as head of the Information Sciences Department, a position he held until August 1984. He was also resident scholar at RAND from 1990 to 1996.

Hearn is best known for his pioneering work in mathematical software development, particularly the algebraic computation program REDUCE first developed in the 60s, which is now used in more than a thousand scientific institutions throughout the world. REDUCE is an interactive system widely used for advanced algebraic computations of interest to mathematicians, scientists and engineers. REDUCE is designed to support calculations that are not feasible to do by hand. Many such calculations take a significant amount of time to set up and can run for minutes, hours or even days on the most powerful computers.

In 2008, Hearn released REDUCE as open-source, making the original program files used to compile the application available to online users to be modified and redistributed as they see fit.

Hearn was also one of the founders of the CSNET computer network — winner of the Internet Society’s 2009 Jonathan B. Postel Service Award presented for outstanding contributions to the data communications community. His current interests include symbolic and algebraic computation, scientific software, and computer security and networks. He has published many articles in the symbolic mathematical computation area including several reviews of the field.

Hearn has served on many national committees sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Science Foundation and Universities Space Research Association, among others. He has also consulted for several computing companies. He is a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and a member of the American Physical Society. He was a Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) National Lecturer during the 1976-1977 academic year and an ACM National Lecturer from 1978 until 1980. He was awarded an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship from 1967 to 1969, which is awarded to researchers with the potential to make substantial contributions to their field.

Anthony C. Hearn

Anthony C. Hearn