Professor Alex Townsend, together with Dr. Matthew Colbrook (University of Cambridge) and Dr. Andrew Horning (MIT, previously a graduate student in the Center for Applied Mathematics), won the SIAM Activity Group on Computational Science and Engineering Best Paper Prize for their manuscript "Computing spectral measures of self-adjoint operators" in SIAM Review, 2021. The paper developed a robust algorithm for computing smoothed approximations to so-called spectral measures associated with general self-adjoint operators. Among many other things, they used the algorithm to compute a high-resolution picture of a Hofstadter butterfly from a magnetic tight-binding model of graphene.
This prize is awarded every two years to the authors of the best paper, as determined by the prize committee, on the development and use of mathematical and computational tools and methods for solving problems that may arise in broad areas of science, engineering, technology, and society. Read the prize announcement here.