Bill Buzbee

Though trained as a computational mathematician, most of Dr. Buzbee’s career has been equally divided between research and management at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Los Alamos, NM, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Boulder, CO.

As a researcher, Dr. Buzbee has made contributions to the numerical solution of partial differential equations, parallel computing, and trends in computing technology. He has worked closely with scientists in the implementation of mathematical software and algorithms into large models. He has about fifteen refereed publications including three papers in AAAS Science. In 1982, a paper with Golub and Neilson that discusses Fast Poisson Solvers was recognized by the Journal Citation Index as a classical paper (a classical paper was defined as one that was referenced by at least 50 other papers during the period 1961 to 1980). In 1991, he was listed in Who's Who in Science and Engineering. In 2005 and in celebration of its 50th Anniversary, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics conducted a series of oral history interviews with individuals who have made key contributions to the field. Dr. Buzbee was honored to be among those interviewed (

While at LANL, Dr. Buzbee held several management positions including Deputy Leader of the Computing and
Communications Division.

From April, 1987, through September, 1998, Dr. Buzbee was the Director of the Scientific Computing Division (SCD) at NCAR. At that time, the SCD had over 100 employees and an annual budget of over M. Under Dr. Buzbee’s leadership, the SCD provided more than 1000 scientists in the atmospheric and ocean sciences community with a reliable, high-performance, productive supercomputing environment for the development and execution of large numerical simulations, and for the archiving, manipulation and visualization of large datasets. Networking and communications capabilities were also provided to access SCD's computational and data resources.

Dr. Buzbee is well known in the high performance computing community. He was a charter member of the Steering Committee for the annual ACM/IEEE Supercomputing Conference; he was general chair of the 1992 conference which was held in Minneapolis and was program chair for the 1996 conference held in Pittsburgh. He has served on numerous computing technology review committees for NOAA laboratories, NASA laboratories, DOE laboratories, and DOD laboratories. He has also served on committees of the White House Science Council and the National Research Council.

Dr. Buzbee was born in 1936 and grew up on a small farm in central Texas. While a teenager, he worked as a roustabout in the nearby oil fields. On finishing high school, he entered the U.S. Air Force wherein he was trained as a Korean linguist and served in Japan and Korea. After leaving the Air Force, he used the GI Bill to complete a BS and MS in computational mathematics at the University of Texas in Austin. He completed the PhD at the University of New Mexico in 1972.

Dr. Buzbee retired from NCAR at the end of 1998 and currently provides consulting services through Buzbee Enterprises, LLC. He is also a Fellow of the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center and serves on the Center’s Technology Panel. Finally, he is a substitute teacher for math, computing and science in middle and high schools.


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