Timeline of scientific computing

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The following is a timeline of scientific computing, also known as computational science.


Before modern computers

18th century

19th century

1900s (decade)

1910s (decade)



This decade marks the first major strides to a modern computer, and hence the start of the modern era.









See also

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">John von Neumann</span> Hungarian-American mathematician and physicist (1903–1957)

John von Neumann was a Hungarian-American mathematician, physicist, computer scientist, engineer and polymath. He was regarded as having perhaps the widest coverage of any mathematician of his time and was said to have been "the last representative of the great mathematicians who were equally at home in both pure and applied mathematics". He integrated pure and applied sciences.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Stanisław Ulam</span> Polish mathematician and physicist (1909–1984)

Stanisław Marcin Ulam was a Polish-American mathematician and nuclear physicist. He participated in the Manhattan Project, originated the Teller–Ulam design of thermonuclear weapons, discovered the concept of the cellular automaton, invented the Monte Carlo method of computation, and suggested nuclear pulse propulsion. In pure and applied mathematics, he proved some theorems and proposed several conjectures.

Monte Carlo methods, or Monte Carlo experiments, are a broad class of computational algorithms that rely on repeated random sampling to obtain numerical results. The underlying concept is to use randomness to solve problems that might be deterministic in principle. They are often used in physical and mathematical problems and are most useful when it is difficult or impossible to use other approaches. Monte Carlo methods are mainly used in three problem classes: optimization, numerical integration, and generating draws from a probability distribution.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Computational physics</span> Numerical simulations of physical problems via computers

Computational physics is the study and implementation of numerical analysis to solve problems in physics. Historically, computational physics was the first application of modern computers in science, and is now a subset of computational science. It is sometimes regarded as a subdiscipline of theoretical physics, but others consider it an intermediate branch between theoretical and experimental physics - an area of study which supplements both theory and experiment.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">MANIAC I</span> Early computer

The MANIAC I was an early computer built under the direction of Nicholas Metropolis at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. It was based on the von Neumann architecture of the IAS, developed by John von Neumann. As with all computers of its era, it was a one-of-a-kind machine that could not exchange programs with other computers. Metropolis chose the name MANIAC in the hope of stopping the rash of silly acronyms for machine names, although von Neumann may have suggested the name to him.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Computational fluid dynamics</span> Analysis and solving of problems that involve fluid flows

Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is a branch of fluid mechanics that uses numerical analysis and data structures to analyze and solve problems that involve fluid flows. Computers are used to perform the calculations required to simulate the free-stream flow of the fluid, and the interaction of the fluid with surfaces defined by boundary conditions. With high-speed supercomputers, better solutions can be achieved, and are often required to solve the largest and most complex problems. Ongoing research yields software that improves the accuracy and speed of complex simulation scenarios such as transonic or turbulent flows. Initial validation of such software is typically performed using experimental apparatus such as wind tunnels. In addition, previously performed analytical or empirical analysis of a particular problem can be used for comparison. A final validation is often performed using full-scale testing, such as flight tests.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nicholas Metropolis</span> American mathematician

Nicholas Constantine Metropolis was a Greek-American physicist.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Martin David Kruskal</span> American mathematician

Martin David Kruskal was an American mathematician and physicist. He made fundamental contributions in many areas of mathematics and science, ranging from plasma physics to general relativity and from nonlinear analysis to asymptotic analysis. His most celebrated contribution was in the theory of solitons.

Computational science, also known as scientific computing, technical computing or scientific computation (SC), is a division of science that uses advanced computing capabilities to understand and solve complex physical problems. This includes

John Robert Pasta was an American computational physicist and computer scientist who is remembered today for the Fermi–Pasta–Ulam–Tsingou experiment, the result of which was much discussed among physicists and researchers in the fields of dynamical systems and chaos theory, and as the head of the department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 1964 to 1970.

In physics, the Fermi–Pasta–Ulam–Tsingou (FPUT) problem or formerly the Fermi–Pasta–Ulam problem was the apparent paradox in chaos theory that many complicated enough physical systems exhibited almost exactly periodic behavior – called Fermi–Pasta–Ulam–Tsingou recurrence – instead of the expected ergodic behavior. This came as a surprise, as Enrico Fermi, certainly, expected the system to thermalize in a fairly short time. That is, it was expected for all vibrational modes to eventually appear with equal strength, as per the equipartition theorem, or, more generally, the ergodic hypothesis. Yet here was a system that appeared to evade the ergodic hypothesis. Although the recurrence is easily observed, it eventually became apparent that over much, much longer time periods, the system does eventually thermalize. Multiple competing theories have been proposed to explain the behavior of the system, and it remains a topic of active research.

The Monte Carlo trolley, or FERMIAC, was an analog computer invented by physicist Enrico Fermi to aid in his studies of neutron transport.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Computational statistics</span> Interface between statistics and computer science

Computational statistics, or statistical computing, is the bond between statistics and computer science. It means statistical methods that are enabled by using computational methods. It is the area of computational science specific to the mathematical science of statistics. This area is also developing rapidly, leading to calls that a broader concept of computing should be taught as part of general statistical education.

"Equation of State Calculations by Fast Computing Machines" is a scholarly article published by Nicholas Metropolis, Arianna W. Rosenbluth, Marshall N. Rosenbluth, Augusta H. Teller, and Edward Teller in the Journal of Chemical Physics in 1953. This paper proposed what became known as the Metropolis Monte Carlo algorithm, which forms the basis for Monte Carlo statistical mechanics simulations of atomic and molecular systems.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Robert D. Richtmyer</span> American mathematician

Robert Davis Richtmyer was an American physicist, mathematician, educator, author, and musician.

Francis Harvey Harlow was an American theoretical physicist known for his work in the field of fluid dynamics. He was a researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico. Harlow is credited with establishing the science of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) as an important discipline.

The following timeline starts with the invention of the modern computer in the late interwar period.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mary Tsingou</span> American mathematician

Mary Tsingou is an American physicist and mathematician of Greek descent. She was one of the first programmers on the MANIAC computer at Los Alamos National Laboratory and is best known for having coded the celebrated computer experiment with Enrico Fermi, John Pasta, and Stanislaw Ulam which became an inspiration for the fields of chaos theory and scientific computing and was a turning point in soliton theory.

The following is a timeline of numerical analysis after 1945, and deals with developments after the invention of the modern electronic computer, which began during Second World War. For a fuller history of the subject before this period, see timeline and history of mathematics.

This is a timeline of key developments in computational mathematics.


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