2022 Richard A. Tapia Award Recipient
Dr. Juan Meza
Professor Juan Meza, with the Department of Applied Mathematics, has recently returned to his full-time academic position at UC Merced after serving as director for the Division of Mathematical Sciences with the National Science Foundation since 2018. He also served as dean of the School of Natural Sciences at UC Merced from 2011 to 2017. Meza earned his Ph.D. in Computational & Applied Mathematics in 1986; his M.S. in Electrical Engineering/Computer Science in 1979; and his B.S. in Electrical Engineering/Computer Science in 1978, all at Rice University. Meza studies nonlinear optimization with an emphasis on methods for parallel computing. He looks at the foundational math underlying real-world science problems to understand and predict how things behave. His work focuses on applied mathematics and computational research, with an emphasis on methods for parallel computing. He has also worked on a variety of scientific and engineering applications, such as scalable methods for nanoscience, power grid reliability, molecular conformation problems, optimal design of chemical vapor deposition furnaces and semiconductor device modeling. Before joining UC Merced, Meza was department head and senior scientist of high-performance computing research at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where he helped grow research funding levels and established collaborations with the lab’s Earth sciences, environmental energy technologies, physics and genomics divisions. He was a senior technical advisor at the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Agency. In addition, he was a distinguished member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories, while also serving as a detailee at Department of Energy headquarters in Washington, D.C., as part of the Advanced Strategic Computing Initiative program. In his academic life, he also served as an adjunct professor at San Diego State University and a lecturer and research associate at Rice University. Meza has served on numerous federal advisory committees, including the NSF Mathematical and Physical Sciences Advisory Committee, the NSF Advanced Cyberinfrastructure Advisory Committee and the National Academies’ Board on Mathematical Sciences and their Applications. He is a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society and was elected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Committee on Council Affairs. Meza was named one of Hispanic Business magazine’s ‘Top 100 Influentials of 2009’ and one of the “Top 200 Most Influential Hispanics in Technology” by Hispanic Engineer and Information Technology magazine in 2011. He won the Rice University Outstanding Engineering Alumni Award in 2013; was named an Association for Computing Machinery Distinguished Speaker in 2011; participated in the IEEE Computer Society Distinguished Visitor Program in 2010; won the Association for Computing Machinery’s Gordon Bell Prize — a special award for algorithm innovation — in 2008; was named the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science Distinguished Scientist in 2008; and won the Blackwell-Tapia Prize the same year.