Alan Edelman

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Alan Edelman
Born June 1963 (1963-06) (age 55)
Brooklyn, New York
Nationality American
Alma mater MIT, Yale University
Known for
Scientific career
Fields Mathematics
Computer Science
Institutions MIT
Thesis Eigenvalues and Condition Numbers of Random Matrices (1989)
Doctoral advisor Lloyd N. Trefethen[3]
Doctoral students Ioana Dumitriu

Alan Stuart Edelman (born June 1963) is an American mathematician and computer scientist. He is a Professor of Applied Mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Principal Investigator at the MIT Computer Science and AI Laboratory (CSAIL) where he leads a group in Applied Computing. In 2004 Professor Edelman founded Interactive Supercomputing, acquired by Microsoft.


An alumnus of Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics, Edelman received the B.S. and M.S. degrees in mathematics from Yale University in 1984, and the Ph.D. in applied mathematics from MIT in 1989 under the direction of Lloyd N. Trefethen. Following a year at Thinking Machines Corp and at CERFACS in France, Edelman went to U.C. Berkeley as a Morrey Assistant Professor and Levy Fellow, 1990-93. He joined the MIT faculty in applied mathematics in 1993.


Edelman's research interests include high-performance computing, numerical computation, linear algebra, and stochastic eigenanalysis (random matrix theory).

  • In Random Matrix Theory, Edelman is most famous for the Edelman distribution of the smallest singular value of random matrices (also known as the Edelman's law[4]), the invention of beta ensembles,[5] and the introduction of the stochastic operator approach.[6]
  • In High Performance computing, Edelman is known for his work on parallel computing, as the co-founder of interactive supercomputing and an inventor of the Julia programming language, and for his work on The Future Fast Fourier Transform.


A Sloan fellow, Edelman received an NSF Faculty Career award in 1995. He has received numerous awards, among them the Gordon Bell Prize and Householder Prize (1990), the Chauvenet Prize (1998),[7] the Edgerly Science Partnership Award (1999), the SIAM Activity Group on Linear Algebra Prize (2000), and the Lester R. Ford Award,[8] (2005, with Gilbert Strang).

  • In 2011, Edelman was selected a Fellow of SIAM,[9] "for his contributions in bringing together mathematics and industry in the areas of numerical linear algebra, random matrix theory, and parallel computing."
  • In 2015, he became a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society[10] "for contributions to random matrix theory, numerical linear algebra, high-performance algorithms, and applications."
  • In 2017, he became an IEEE Fellow Class of 2018[11] "for contributions to the development of technical-computing languages."