The International Council on Industrial and Applied Mathematics is a society of societies, with members from all around the world. With sole exceptions of Africa and Antarctica, ICIAM has member societies from all continents. ICIAM distinguishes two type of members, full members and associated ones; i.e., those who are focussed entirely upon industrial and applied mathematics, and those which are not so specialised. Many smaller countries—such as Singapore, Switzerland and Norway—have only one society with a scope covering all kinds of mathematical activities, yet these are represented within ICIAM. Currently the membership of ICIAM consists of 21 full members and 26 associated members.
The purpose of the Council is:
- to promote industrial and applied mathematics internationally;
- to promote interactions between the member societies;
- to promote the goals of these member societies;
- to coordinate planning for periodic international meetings on industrial and applied mathematics.
ICIAM was formed in response to the strong development of applied mathematics in the 1970s and 1980s. Gene Golub of Stanford University started a loose cooperation between four organizations, (i) the Germanic GAMM, (ii) the British IMA, (iii) the North-American based SIAM, and (iv) the French SMAI, to organize the first so called “International Congress on Industrial and Applied Mathematics”; that is, ICIAM. The first Congress took place in Paris in 1987. Since then, congresses take place every four years, so far having been held in Washington, Hamburg, Edinburgh, Sydney, Zurich, Vancouver, and most recently in Beijing. The last attracted 4000+ delegates. The next congress will be held in Valencia in 2019.
What are the main objectives of ICIAM?
ICIAM Congresses: Clearly the focus is on the congresses. These congresses now feature four distinct ingredients.
- Invited speakers are selected by a high-brow scientific committee under the control of the council.
- There is a strong bottom-up portion whereby many eminent scientists submit proposals for minisymposia of length 2 or 4 hours, as well as overall solicitation of contributed papers.
- Finally, each congress organizer has the freedom to introduce additional highlights such as special industry days, round table discussions, highlighted minisymposia, and so on.
- The fourth component is one of embedded meetings, whereby societies have the opportunity to integrate within the congress an event entirely on their own.
Whilst this may be a complicated structure, it has been found to attract a large number of active mathematicians, as well as those at the beginning of their careers — such as current Ph.D. students and post-doctoral fellows. ICIAM aims at supporting the participation of mathematicians from developing countries
For a history of the beginnings of ICIAM see the article Early history of ICIAM