Ferguson's mother died when he was about three and his father went off to serve in the Second World War. He was adopted and raised in New York. He was a graduate of Hamilton College and received a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Washington. He taught at Brigham Young University in the early 1980s.
His mathematical research produced new algorithms, most notably the PSLQ algorithm, which was selected as one of the "Top Ten Algorithms of the Century" by Jack Dongarra and Francis Sullivan. He is an active artist, often representing mathematical shapes in his works.
See also 
- helaman ferguson sculpture: the artist
- The Best of the 20th Century: Editors Name Top 10 Algorithms by Barry A. Cipra; SIAM News, Volume 33, Number 4
- PSLQ Algorithm
- An Algorithm for the Ages: PSLQ, A Better Way to Find Integer Relations
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