Richard S. Varga

For the Slovak triathlete, see Richard Varga (triathlete).
Richard S. Varga
Born Richard Steven Varga
(1928-10-09) October 9, 1928
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Residence Parma, Ohio
Nationality American
Fields Applied Mathematics
Institutions Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory
Case Western Reserve University
Kent State University
Alma mater Case Institute of Technology
Harvard University
Doctoral advisor Joseph L. Walsh
Doctoral students Philippe G. Ciarlet
Known for Numerical analysis
Experimental mathematics
Complex analysis
1/9th Conjecture
Padé approximation
Matrix theory
Influences Garrett Birkhoff

Richard Steven Varga (/ˈvɑːrɡə/; born October 9, 1928)[1] is an American mathematician who specializes in numerical analysis and linear algebra. He is currently an Emeritus University Professor of Mathematical Sciences at Kent State University and an adjunct Professor at Case Western Reserve University. Varga is known for his contributions to many areas of mathematics, including matrix analysis, complex analysis, approximation theory, and scientific computation. He is the author of the classic textbook Matrix Iterative Analysis.[2] Varga has been the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Electronic Transactions on Numerical Analysis (ETNA).[3]

Birth and education

Richard Varga was born in Cleveland, Ohio of Hungarian-born parents in 1928. He obtained a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Case Institute of Technology (present Case Western Reserve University) in 1950. Varga was a member of the collegiate wrestling team of Case.

Following the advice of Professor Max Morris at Case, Varga joined Harvard University for the master's degree and obtained an A.M. in mathematics. Continuing his doctoral work at Harvard under the supervision of Joseph L. Walsh, Varga worked on the theory of rational approximation of complex analytic functions. Varga received his Ph.D. degree in 1954 with a dissertation Properties of a Special Set of Entire Functions and their Respective Partial Sums.[4]

While at Harvard, Varga also studied with Garrett Birkhoff, who later came to collaborate with Varga in research both on iterative methods for differential equations and on positive matrices (and positive operators on partially ordered vector spaces).


From 1954 until 1960, Varga worked for Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory in Pittsburgh. In 1960 he returned to Case Institute of Technology as a Professor of mathematics and remained there for the next nine years. He then moved to Kent State University as University Professor of mathematics. At Kent Varga has held numerous academic positions, including Director (1980–1988) and Research Director (1988–2006) of the Institute for Computational Mathematics.[5] His work includes numerical analysis—particularly iterative methods in numerical linear algebra, matrix theory, and differential equations—complex approximation theory, particularly Padé approximation (often with Edward B. Saff, Jr.)—and analytic number theory, including high-precision calculations related to the Riemann hypothesis. He is also known for advocating experimentation in mathematics, and for writing a monograph surveying his contributions on scientific computing to resolve open problems and conjectures.[6]

Awards and honors

In 2012 he became a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.[7]

See also


  1. Outstanding Young Men of American
  2. "Matrix Iterative Analysis". Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  3. "Electronic Transactions on Numerical Analysis (ETNA)". Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  4. Benzi, Michele; Ljiljana Cvetković; Michael Neumann (2006). "Preface". Numerical Algorithms. Spriger. 42: 205–206. doi:10.1007/s11075-006-9050-6. ISSN 1572-9265. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  5. "Vita: Richard S. Varga". Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  6. Scientific Computation on Mathematical Problems and Conjectures, CBMS-NSF Regional Conference Series in Applied Math., #60, Soc. for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, Philadelphia, 1990, 122 pp. MR 92b:65012. SIAM Reviews 35(1993), 318-320. Zbl. 703.65004.
  7. List of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society, retrieved 2013-08-28.
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