# John R. Rice (computer scientist)

**John Rischard Rice** (born 1934) is an American mathematician and computer scientist, the W. Brooks Fortune Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Computer Science and a professor of mathematics (by courtesy) at Purdue University. He specializes in numerical computing, founded the *ACM Transactions on Mathematical Software* and is the author of more than 20 books and approximately 300 research articles.[1][2][3]

## Biography

Rice was born on June 6, 1934 in Tulsa, Oklahoma and grew up in small towns in Oklahoma.[2][3] As a teenager, his father was assigned to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he lived for three years.[3] He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in mathematics from Oklahoma State University in 1954 and 1956;[2] while studying there, he spent his summers in southern California, working in the aerospace industry.[3] He then moved to the California Institute of Technology, where he earned a Ph.D. in 1959 under the supervision of Arthur Erdélyi; his dissertation concerned approximation theory.[2][3][4] After taking a one-year postdoctoral position at the National Bureau of Standards, he became a researcher for General Motors.[2][3] In 1964 he left GM and joined the recently founded computer science department at Purdue, which he later headed from 1983 to 1996[2][3]

Rice organized the first Symposium on Mathematical Software at Purdue University in 1970, which produced the recommendation to start a journal for the field.[5] This led to the founding of *ACM Transactions on Mathematical Software* (*TOMS*) in 1975, of which Rice would be editor-in-chief until 1993.[1][2] He was chair of the Computing Research Association from 1991 to 1993.[1][2][6]

## Research

Rice showed an early interest in computing, publishing a paper titled "Electronic Brains" as a college sophomore.[2] Although his early research was on the mathematics of approximation theory,[2][3] he spent most of his career working in the analysis of algorithms for solving numerical problems, and particularly on the solution of elliptic partial differential equations.[1][3]

## Books

Rice's *Introduction to Computer Science* (with J. K. Rice, published by Holt, Rinehart, and Winston in 1969) was the "leading textbook of the day"[2] and emphasized general principles of algorithms and data structures rather than specific programming languages, the focus of previous introductory CS texts.[3] It was translated into three other languages.[7]

Rice's other books include:[1]

*Solving Elliptic Problems with ELLPACK*(Springer-Verlag, 1985)*Mathematical Aspects of Scientific Software*(Springer-Verlag, 1988)*Expert Systems for Scientific Computing*(North Holland, 1992)*Enabling Technologies for Computational Science*(Kluwer, 2000)

## Awards and honors

Rice was named the Brooks Fortune Professor in 1989.[2] In 1994, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for his "establishing and seminal contributions to the field of mathematical software".[2] He is also a Fellow of the AAAS and a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery.[1][2]

## See also

## References

- Faculty profile, Purdue University, retrieved 2011-01-29.
- "John R. Rice: Biographical and Professional Notes", Special issue in honor of John Rice's 65th birthday,
*ACM Transactions on Mathematical Software*,**26**(2): 225–226, 2000, doi:10.1145/353474.354105. - Haigh, Thomas (2010), "John R. Rice: Mathematical Software Pioneer",
*IEEE Annals of the History of Computing*,**32**(4): 72–80, doi:10.1353/ahc.2010.0046. - John Rischard Rice at the Mathematics Genealogy Project.
- Boisvert, Ronald F. (2000). "Mathematical software: past, present, and future".
*Mathematics and Computers in Simulation*.**54**(4–5): 227–241. arXiv:cs/0004004. doi:10.1016/S0378-4754(00)00185-3. - Short curriculum vitae from Rice's Purdue web site, retrieved 2011-01-29.
- Complete publication list from Rice's Purdue web site, retrieved 2011-01-29.

## External links

- Home page at Purdue