Marsha Berger

2004 Sidney Fernbach Award Recipient
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"For her many contributions, and enormous, influence to computational fluid dynamics including adaptive mesh refinement methods, Cartesian grid methods, and practical mathematical algorithms for solving significantly heretofore intractable problems"

 

 

Marsha earned a Ph.D. in Computer Science in 1982 from Stanford University, California.  From 1982 to present she has held several positions at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences; beginning as a Post Doctoral Fellow until her present position as Professor of Computer Science at the Courant Institute. She has been a visiting scientist at RIACS/NASA Ames Research Center from 1991 to present. 

There are, at least, two major pieces of Berger's work that demonstrate her significant contributions.  The first is adaptive mesh refinement (AMR); the block-structured approach that she has pioneered, beginning with her thesis, is now considered to be one of the seminal ideas in numerical PDE's.  She developed high-performance versions of the method for unsteady compressible flow, parallel versions of AMR, a steady flow version of AMR, and a number of algorithmic innovations. Her work is the basis for a large number of activities around the world in developing adaptive methods.   A second area where she has made a very substantial and important contribution has been in Cartesian mesh finite difference methods for numerical PDE's in complex geometries. She has made a number of significant contributions in the design of consistent algorithms for this approach.

In addition, she has made a major breakthrough with Melton and Aftosmis on the generation of the Cartesian grid descriptions given the specification of the geometry as a surface triangulation. Geometry, not physics, has been the main obstacle in engineering fluid computations.  The principal difficulty in engineering calculations in numerical PDE's is generating the grid; a process that can take months.  With Cartesian grid methods the time has been drastically reduced to a few minutes on high-end workstations. To achieve this required some very subtle constructions from computational geometry and the judicious use of adaptive precision floating point calculations.

Berger has been, and continues to be, a consistently creative and productive scientist while working in a large and intensely competitive field, i.e. applied numerical PDE's.  Her success has been achieved by a combination of clever and insightful ideas for approaching the problems, plus meticulous attention to detail in the execution. Berger's work is considerably more than the sum of the parts, and is having a profound impact on her field.  Berger is a scientist with considerable technical skills and accomplishments, as well as having vision and exercising leadership in her field.

Marsha earned a Ph.D. in Computer Science in 1982 from Stanford University, California.  From 1982 to present she has held several positions at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences; beginning as a Post Doctoral Fellow until her present position as Professor of Computer Science at the Courant Institute. She has been a visiting scientist at RIACS/NASA Ames Research Center from 1991 to present. 

There are, at least, two major pieces of Berger's work that demonstrate her significant contributions.  The first is adaptive mesh refinement (AMR); the block-structured approach that she has pioneered, beginning with her thesis, is now considered to be one of the seminal ideas in numerical PDE's.  She developed high-performance versions of the method for unsteady compressible flow, parallel versions of AMR, a steady flow version of AMR, and a number of algorithmic innovations. Her work is the basis for a large number of activities around the world in developing adaptive methods.   A second area where she has made a very substantial and important contribution has been in Cartesian mesh finite difference methods for numerical PDE's in complex geometries. She has made a number of significant contributions in the design of consistent algorithms for this approach.

In addition, she has made a major breakthrough with Melton and Aftosmis on the generation of the Cartesian grid descriptions given the specification of the geometry as a surface triangulation. Geometry, not physics, has been the main obstacle in engineering fluid computations.  The principal difficulty in engineering calculations in numerical PDE's is generating the grid; a process that can take months.  With Cartesian grid methods the time has been drastically reduced to a few minutes on high-end workstations. To achieve this required some very subtle constructions from computational geometry and the judicious use of adaptive precision floating point calculations.

Berger has been, and continues to be, a consistently creative and productive scientist while working in a large and intensely competitive field, i.e. applied numerical PDE's.  Her success has been achieved by a combination of clever and insightful ideas for approaching the problems, plus meticulous attention to detail in the execution. Berger's work is considerably more than the sum of the parts, and is having a profound impact on her field.  Berger is a scientist with considerable technical skills and accomplishments, as well as having vision and exercising leadership in her field.