Andrew J. Sommese
Vincent J. and Annamarie Micus Duncan Professor of Mathematics
For most of his career, Andrew Sommese was renowned in the field of algebraic geometry. Then, in the mid 90s, his interests led him in a new direction: applied mathematics. His work in this regard has nearly outpaced his sterling reputation as an algebraist.
With his collaborators, Sommese has developed a series of powerful algorithms to solve the tough polynomial problems that mechanical engineers face when designing robots and other machinery. Their new equation-by-equation approach opens up more efficient means of finding solutions to polynomial systems in science and engineering—systems that could have literally hundreds of millionsof possible solutions—that up to now were far beyond the range of even the fastest supercomputers.
Currently, Sommese and Professor Bei Hu, Professor in the Department of Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics, have been applying these methods to numerically solve systems of nonlinear partial differential equations arising in the modeling of tumor growth.
Sommese, with his students and collaborators, has also created a software package, Bertini, now being distributed to mathematicians, scientists, and engineers looking for new ways of carrying out the complex computations of numerical algebraic geometry.
Vincent (’44) Duncan and Annamarie Micus Duncan endowed this professorship to honor Vincent’s father, Walter, a 1912 graduate of Notre Dame. Vincent was the president of Club Oil and Gas, Ltd., an oil exploration firm based in Denver, Colo.