
About Kang Feng
Professor Kang Feng, Member of Chinese Academy of
Sciences, Professor and Honorary Director of the Computing Center of the Chinese
Academy of Sciences, famous mathematician and physicist, founder and pioneer of
Chinese computational mathematics.
Professor Kang Feng was born in Nanjing on September 9, 1920. He was enrolled in
the Department of Mathematics and Physics of Fujian Concord College in Spring
1939. In the same year, he was admitted to the Department of Electrical
Engineering of the National Central University in Chongqin, two years later he
transferred to the Department of Physics where he studied until his graduation
in 1944. From 1945 to 1951, he worked as assistant lecturer at the Department of
Physics of Fudan University, the Department of Physics and then the Department
of Mathematics of Tsinghua University. In 1951 he was appointed as assistant
professor at the newly established Institute of Mathematics of the Chinese
Academy of Sciences. From 1951 to 1953 he worked at Steklov Mathematical
Institute in Moscow, under the supervision of Professor L.S. Pontrjagin. In 1957
he was elected as an associate professor at the Institute of Computer Technology
of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, where he began his work on computational
mathematics and became the founder and leader of computational mathematics and
scientific computing in China. In 1978 he was appointed as the founding Director
of the Computing Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences until 1987 when he
became the Honorary Director. He passed away on August 17, 1993, at the age of
73.
Professor Feng was elected as one of the National Outstanding Scientists in
1959, a member of the National People's Congress of China in 1965, and one of
the National Model Workers in 1979. In 1980 he was elected as a Member of the
Chinese Academy of Sciences. He was the vice president of Chinese Computer
Society (19781986), president (19851990) and honorary president (19901993)
of Chinese Society of Computational Mathematics, member of the Founding Council
of International Association of Computational Mechanics (19821986), member of
International Society for Interaction of Mechanics & Mathematics (19881993),
member of the Scientific Advisory Board of International Center for Mathematical
Sciences in Edinburgh (19911993). He was the chief editor of "Chinese Journal
of Numerical Mathematics and Applications", "Journal of Computational
Mathematics", "Mathematica Numerica Sinica" (in Chinese) and "Numerical
Computations and Applications of Computer" (in Chinese). He was a member of
Editorial Board of "Journal of Computational Physics" , "Computer Methods in
Applied Mechanics and Engineering", "Impact of Computing in Science and
Engineering" , etc. He was one of the vice editors of Chinese Encyclopedia
(Mathematics Section). He was the chief Scientist of China State Key Project for
Basic Research: "Largescale Scientific and Engineering Computing" (19911993),
and the chairman of the Scientific Committee of the State Key Laboratory for
Scientific and Engineering Computing (19921993).
Professor Feng's scientific contributions are outstanding and range over many
fields. Before 1957 he mainly worked on pure mathematics, specially on
topological groups, Lie groups and generalized function theory. From 1957 he
changed to applied mathematics and computational mathematics. Because of his
sound and broad knowledge in mathematics and physics, he did a series of
historical and pioneer research on computational mathematics.
In the later 50s and early 60s of the last century, based on the computations of
dam constructions, Professor Feng proposed a systematic numerical method for
solving partial differential equations. The method was called ''Finite
difference schemes based on variational principle''. This method was also
independently invented in the west, is named as ''finite element method'' at the
present. The finite element method has been widely used in scientific and
engineering and the invention of the finite element method is regarded as a
milestone of the development of modern computational mathematics. In 70s of the
last century, Professor Feng gave embedding theories in the discontinuous finite
element space, and generalized the classical theory on elliptic equation to a
various dimensional combination, which provided a mathematical foundation for
elastic composite structures and was recognized as a pioneering contribution. At
the same period of time, he made great efforts and contributions in reducing an
elliptic equation to a boundary integral equation. He gave the natural boundary
element method, which is now regarded as one of three main boundary element
methods.
In 80s of the last century, Professor Feng changed his research field from
elliptic equations to dynamics systems such as Hamiltonian systems and wave
equations. In 1984, he proposed symplectic algorithms for Hamiltonian systems
based on symplectic geometry. Such algorithms can preserve the symplectic
geometric structure of Hamiltonian systems and have overwhelmingly superior to
conventional algorithms in a long term tracking and qualitative simulation in
many practice applications, such as celestial mechanics, molecular dynamics,
etc. He is the pioneer of this field and has founded the new direction full of
hope and prospects.
Due to his great scientific contributions, he was awarded many prizes, including
the Second Grade of National Natural Science Award, the Second Prize of National
Technology Advances, the First Grade of Natural Science Award of the Chinese
Academy of Sciences, and the First Grade of National Natural Science Award.
Professor Feng was invited to give 45 minute invited lectures in the
International Congress of Mathematicians in1983 and 1994, and a plenary lecture
in the International Congress on Industrial and Applied Mathematics in 1995.
Besides his scientific researches, Professor Feng served many administration
duties. He spent much time to supervise students. Early in 60s of the last
century, he lectured over 200 people on modern computational methods and
supervised their researches. Now many of these people are leading computational
mathematicians in China. Professor Feng made great efforts in educating young
people. His students are now all over the world, and some of them are already
very famous in the field.
Professor Feng paid much attention to the development of computational
mathematics in China, he gave many important proposals. He wrote to the leaders
of the Chinese government and suggested that scientific and engineering
computing should be stressed as a key basic research area in China. He organized
and lead the national key project ''Large Scale Scientific and Engineering
Computing'' , he set up the State Key Laboratory of Scientific and Engineering
Computing. Professor Feng played an irreplaceable role in the development of
scientific and engineering computing and made remarkable contributions in
promoting applications of computational mathematics in China. He founded three
journals of computational mathematics, "Mathematica Numerica Sinica" (in
Chinese), "Numerical Computations and Applications of Computer"(in Chinese) ,
and "Journal of Computational Mathematics", which have made a great contribution
to the academic exchange and talent education for computational mathematics
community in China.
Professor Feng goes down in history, for his remarkable achievements and
monumental contributions to Computational Mathematics.
