2015 Distinguished Academic Achievement Alumni Award
CS Professor Emeritus Paul Saylor joined the Illinois faculty in 1967, after earning his PhD in mathematics from Rice University, where he studied under Professor Jim Douglas, Jr. During the next 34 years, Saylor conducted pioneering work in numerical analysis, solving large-scale scientific problems in areas ranging from geophysics to medical imaging. He also taught numerical analysis classes.
Although he officially retired from Illinois in 2001, Saylor continued his research, working on a Department of Energy project that combined software and astrophysics to simulate core collapse supernova, and he served as principal investigator for the NASA Earth and Space Grand Challenge on Simulating the Merger of Binary Neutron Stars. He also spent two years as a program officer in NSF’s mathematical science division.
In 2004, he began an association with the Louisiana State University Center for Computation and Technology, where he continued to investigate computational mathematics and numerical analysis.
Saylor and his wife Cynthia were close friends with Illinois alumnus Gene Golub (BS Math ‘53, MA Stats ‘54, PhD Math ‘59, Hon DSc ‘91), the late Stanford CS faculty member and pioneer in the numerical analysis field. Golub endowed a CS faculty chair at Illinois in honor of Saylor’s kindness, support, and generosity, as well as his dedication to his students and the academic life.
The Saylors’ two sons are Illinois alumni—Gerard (MS Library Information Science ‘96) and Gerrit (MS CS ‘95).