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History of USACM

Brief History of USACM

Formation.   USACM was founded to bring together scientists working in the U.S. in the area of computational mechanics.  It is an affiliated with the federation of associations called IACM.

Prior to the formation of a U.S. Association for Computational Mechanics (USACM), there had been much interest from a number of specialists in computational mechanics in the U.S. Until the late 1980s most computational mechanics papers in the US were presented at ASME  conferences in sessions organized by the Computational  Mechanics Committee of the Applied Mechanics Division. The Computational Mechanics Committee had seen rapid growth under chairs such as Tinsley Oden, Tom Hughes, and Ted Belytschko. However because of limitations on the total number of sessions allocated to the Applied Mechanics Division, the number of sessions available for computational mechanics was very limited and insufficient for critical mass. Ted Belytschko, who was chair of Computational Mechanics Committee in the late 1980s, discussed this problem with Tinsley Oden, who at the time was the IACM Vice-President for the Americas, and in the discussion it was decided that the best solution was to found a new organization devoted to computational mechanics. J.T. Oden immediately suggested that it would be very important to enlist additional support for this initiative. While attending the Winter Annual Meeting of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers at the Boston Sheraton, a dinner meeting on December 13, 1987 was organized and attended by Tinsley Oden, Ted Belytschko, Richard Gallagher, and Ted Pian as well as 19 others. At this meeting it was decided to launch a new organization call the US Association for Computational Mechanics which would organize meetings in the field of computational mechanics. The general format and plan for establishing USACM was formed.

T.H.H. Pian made arrangements for a meeting of the group over dinner at a restaurant close to the Boston Sheraton, where most participants were attending the Winter Annual Meeting of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. 

Twenty-one people attended the meeting, and after some discussion, agreed on a general format and plan for establishing the USACM.  The following officers were elected by ballot:

President:  J. Tinsley Oden

Vice-President: T.J.R. Hughes

Treasurer:  T. Belytschko

Secretary:  A.K. Noor

Members-at-Large:           

S.N. Atluri, A.J. Baker, K. J. Bathe, P. Eiseman, R.H. Gallagher, H. Liebowitz, J.N. Reddy

In April, 1988, Articles of Incorporation were filed with the State of Texas Secretary of State. Designated as members of the Founding Board of Directors were Ted Belytschko, Richard Gallagher, and J.T. Oden.

In addition, the following were established as the USACM Founding Council

Harry Arman, Grumman Corporate Research Center

S.N. Atluri, Georgia Institute of Technology

K. Jurgen Bathe, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Ted Belytschko, Northwestern University

John Biffle, Sandia Corporation

C.S. Desai, University of Arizona

Peter R. Eiseman, Columbia University

R.H. Gallagher, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

T.J.R. Hughes, Stanford University

Noboru Kikuchi, University of Michigan

Alan Kushner, Office of Naval Research

Harold Liebowitz, George Washington University

Shohei Nakazawa, MARC Analysis Research Corporation

Ahmed K. Noor, George Washington University and NASA Langley Research Center

J. Tinsley Oden, The University of Texas at Austin

Lorraine Olson, University of Michigan

T.H.H. Pian, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Alan Pifko, Grumman Corporate Research Center

J.N. Reddy, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Pat Smolinski, University of Pittsburgh

Gilbert Strang, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Barna A. Szabo, Washington University

Kaspar Willam, University of Colorado

Growth. On April 7, 1988, U.S. Association for Computational Mechanics was officially incorporated as a non-profit organization to promote and organize activities in computational mechanics in the U.S.  In 1993, the first U.S. National Congress on Computational Mechanics was held in Chicago, Illinois and was organized by Professors Ted Belytschko, W.K. Liu, and Brian Moran. (A list of all the congresses may be found under “Conferences”). Approximately 400 scientists attended this inaugural congress. Two years later Ahmed Noor organized a USNCCM  in Washington, DC; they have continued to grow.  Today the bi-annual congresses have an average attendance of 1200, signaling the growing interest and importance of computational mechanics in this country, and other thematic conferences, workshops, and symposia are held periodically.

Impact.   Since its inception, USACM members have had significant impact on national policy and trends related to computational mechanics.  Early reports on Research Directions in Computational Mechanics were published by the National Academy of Science in 1991.  More recently, the NSF Report on Simulation-Based Engineering and Science, published in 2006, “contains recommendations critical to the acceleration of advances in Simulation-Based Engineering Science (SBES), and it identified several areas in which SBES can play a remarkable role in promoting developments vital to the health, security, and technological competitiveness of the nation.”   In March 2011, the NSF Advisory Committee on Cyberinfrastructure published several reports in areas crucial to the development of computational mechanics.  These include the reports from task force on Grand Challenges, the Task Force on High Performance Computing, and the Task Force on Software for Science and Engineering.