A Short History of Industrial Mathematics in Linz, Austria

Linz is the capital of Upper Austria (one of the 9 Austrian federal states) and it is the center of Austrian industrial production. The steel producer voestalpine is the most prominent name in Upper Austrian industry, but you may also have heard about Primetals (formerly Siemens VAI), building steel plants, about Teufelberger, manufacturer of wire ropes used e.g. in cable cars, or about Miba, producing sintered components and engine bearings for vehicle industries.


4.2 m quarto stand for hot rolling. Image Source: voestalpine

With this industrial neighbourhood, it is not surprising that the Johannes Kepler university in Linz was one of the founding nodes of ECMI (somewhen in the mid-eighties of the 20th century). The late Hansjörg Wacker (giving the ECMI Wacker prize its name) was full professor for numerical mathematics at Johannes Kepler university then. Heinz W. Engl became the founding professor at the first industrial mathematics institute on the European continent (in 1988). (It was also in 1988 that myself, as a young Ph.D. student, attended the first ECMI modelling week in Bari, organized by Vincenzo Capasso.)

Since then, there has been a long tradition in working on industrial problems by mathematical techniques, and in delivering useful solutions to industry. This covers the range from mathematical modelling, numerical analysis, parameter identification, and finally developing mathematics-based software and goes from basic research via industrial research to experimental development and software development.

In 1996, MathConsult GmbH was founded as an R&D company in industrial mathematics.

In 2003, the Radon Institute for Computational and Applied Mathematics (RICAM) was installed as the first Mathematics Institute of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.


All these organisations (JKU Industrial Mathematics Institute, RICAM, MathConsult) are located in the “Math Building” (Science Park building # 2) at Johannes Kepler university. More detailed information will follow.