History of Householder Symposia

The Householder Symposia originated in a series of meetings organized by Alston Householder, Director of the Mathematics Division of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Ford Professor at the University of Tennessee. These international meetings were devoted to matrix computations and linear algebra and were held in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. They had a profound influence on the subject.

The last "Gatlinburg" conference held at Gatlinburg was in 1969 on the occasion of Householder's retirement. At the time, it was decided to continue the meetings but vary the place. Since then meetings have been held at three-year intervals in a variety of venues and the series has been renamed in honor of Alston Householder.

The meetings, which last for five days, are by invitation only. They are intensive, with plenary talks in the day and special sessions in the evenings. To encourage people to talk about work in progress, no proceedings are published, although extended abstracts are circulated. The response of the participants to the meetings has generally been very enthusiastic.

The conferences are run in tandem by a permanent organizing committee and a local arrangements committee. Although attendance is restricted, anyone - including students - can apply. Selection is made by the organizing committee, generally by ballot.

The meeting is also the occasion for the award of the Householder prize for the best thesis in numerical linear algebra. This prize is entirely (and well) supported by contributions solicited at the Symposium banquet. Here is a complete list of the previous symposia:

Number Year Place Organized by
I 1961 Gatlinburg, U.S.A. A.S. Householder
II 1963 Gatlinburg, U.S.A. A.S. Householder, F.W.J. Olver
III 1964 Gatlinburg, U.S.A. A.S. Householder
IV 1969 Gatlinburg, U.S.A. A.S. Householder
V 1972 Los Alamos, U.S.A. R.S. Varga
VI 1974 Hopfen am Seem, BRD F.L. Bauer
VII 1977 Asilomar, U.S.A. G.H. Golub
VIII 1981 Oxford, ENGLAND L. Fox, J.H. Wilkinson
IX 1984 Waterloo, CANADA J.A. George
X 1987 Fairfield Glade, U.S.A. R.C. Ward, G.W. Stewart
XI 1990 Tylosand, SWEDEN A. Björck
XII 1993 Lake Arrowhead, U.S.A. T.F. Chan, G.H. Golub
XIII 1996 Pontresina, SWITZERLAND W. Gander, M.H. Gutknecht, D.P. O'Leary
XIV 1999 Whistler, B.C., CANADA J.M. Varah, G. W. Stewart
XV 2002 Peebles, SCOTLAND P. Knight, A. Ramage, A. Wathen, N.J. Higham
XVI 2005 Seven Springs, U.S.A. J. Barlow, D. Szyld, H. Zha, C. Van Loan
XVII 2008 Zeuthen, GERMANY J. Liesen, V. Mehrmann, R. Nabben, A. Bunse-Gerstner
XVIII 2011 Tahoe City, U.S.A Esmond G. Ng, M. Overton

At Householder XIII in Pontresina, Switzerland, F.L. (Fritz) Bauer gave an after-banquet talk, remembering the Symposium's namesake, and the early history of the meetings. Click here for Bauer's notes for the talk (posted in NA Digest, July 18, 1996, vol. 96, no. 27).


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