Graham F. Carey, professor of aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics, director of the Computational Fluid Dynamics Laboratory of the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences, and holder of the Richard B. Curran Chair in Engineering, passed away September 16, 2011.
Dr. Carey was born in Australia on November 14, 1944. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in applied mathematics with honors from the University of Queensland, Australia, in 1966. The Boeing Company in Seattle recruited him in 1968 to help develop the Boeing 747 and the Lunar Rover. During that time, he completed his master's degree at the University of Washington. He left Boeing to pursue his Ph.D. in aeronautics and astronautics, which he completed in 1974.
For three years, he worked as a research assistant professor at the University of Washington's Aerospace Research Laboratory and Center for Quantitative Science. In 1977, he joined the faculty at The University of Texas at Austin, where he served for thirty-four years until his death.
When Graham joined the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics in 1977, he teamed with a few others to create the Texas Institute for Computational Mechanics (TICOM). At UT Austin in the 1970s, a nucleus of people were working on finite element methods, and Graham added welcome breadth to the team because of his expertise in fluid dynamics as well as his industrial experience.
TICOM was a daunting undertaking. Its members were conscious that a new intellectual discipline–computational mechanics–was emerging that would change forever the landscape in engineering, science, and education. All of the team members were in the middle of developments in the new area, both in research and in other academic activities. Graham was an enthusiastic and diligent supporter of TICOM and an active contributor, particularly in the area of computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Eventually, TICOM was given approval by UT Austin as a broad campus-wide research institute, and it became the center of numerous activities for nearly two decades. The center hosted several international meetings, colloquia, student fellowships, and visiting scholars. It was the predecessor of the Texas Institute for Computational and Applied Mathematics (TICAM), which began in 1993, and then the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences (ICES), founded in 2003.
Graham's first love, from a scientific point of view, was computational fluid dynamics, and he was a world-class expert in the subject. He had become immersed in computational aerodynamics at Boeing, and he began developing courses in this subject when he joined UT Austin. He founded the Computational Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in 1984, a very successful organized research unit that eventually became part of TICAM and then ICES. Through Graham's diligence and industrial connections, leading aerospace industries provided funds to support students and research through the laboratory, and Graham supported a large group of top students with these funds. In 1993, the CFD Laboratory, with Graham as its director, became an affiliated center within TICAM and continued as a center when ICES was created in 2003. The CFD Laboratory has been an enormously successful research unit and has educated some of the nation's leading specialists in the field. Graham had a knack for attracting the best students in aerospace engineering and advised a long list of very bright, creative, and ultimately very successful Ph.D. students who went on to stellar careers as top computational scientists.
Graham loved the Finite Element Circus, an annual meeting on the mathematics of finite element methods conceived by Ivo Babuška, and attended many of the meetings going back to the 1970s. So, when TICOM evolved, it was only natural for Graham to create a Texas version, the Finite Element (FE) Rodeo, which Graham, virtually single-handedly, organized each spring. Here, top researchers, students, and faculty alike, present their latest research results, communicate with colleagues from other institutions, and sample Southwestern, usually Texan, cuisine.
Graham was a serious scholar and author. He published many landmark papers on CFD algorithms, adaptive meshing, grid generation, and parallel algorithms. He published Circuit, Device, and Process Simulation in 1996 and Computational Grids: Generation, Adaptation, and Solution Strategies in 1997. Graham was editor and co-editor of a number of other important volumes and conference proceedings, including Parallel Supercomputing: Methods, Algorithms, and Applications in 1989 and Finite Element Modeling of Environmental Problems in 1995. As a prolific writer, he published more than two hundred and fifty papers in refereed journals and authored or co-authored ten books. He served on the editorial boards of eight scientific journals.
One of Graham's most impressive contributions is the remarkable large-scale, parallel, adaptive computer code, libMesh, which has been the backbone of numerous computer codes developed at ICES and elsewhere. This is truly a remarkable tool, developed by a series of bright and competent doctoral and postdoctoral scholars working with Graham for well over a decade. It has been the starting point for projects in computational engineering that span a huge range of applications from compressible fluid dynamics to modeling tumor growth. It stands as one of the most useful tools available today for large-scale parallel adaptive unstructured mesh computer simulations.
His research was further recognized when he was elected a Fellow of the International Association of Computational Mechanics, named to the W. J. Murray Centennial Teaching Fellowship in 1986, and received an Engineering Foundation Excellence Award, as well as a high performance computing "Gigaflop" award in 1989. As recently as April 2011, his work continued to win accolades, when a paper he co-authored on porous media was named outstanding paper of the year by the International Journal of Numerical Methods for Heat & Fluid Flow. His teaching was honored with the Ex-Students' Association 1995 Texas Excellence Teaching Award in the College of Engineering.
Up until his death, Graham was conducting research in finite element analysis, methodology and software engineering, mathematical modeling, unstructured and adaptive mesh techniques, algorithms and applications on parallel supercomputers, error estimation and uncertainty assessment, computational fluid dynamics, and coupled transport processes.
Graham's legacy for blending high intellect with warmth and humor was represented well in these quotes from his students and colleagues:
Beyond all this, Graham was a dear, thoughtful, and kind human being who will be remembered tenderly by all who knew him. He had a great sense of humor, and he laughed frequently with colleagues trading jokes and stories. He was a great man, a loving husband and father, a caring friend to those who were fortunate enough to cross his path.
--J. Tinsley Oden, director of ICES, professor of aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics
Graham was a beloved teacher and mentor to his many students and a highly respected friend and colleague. We will greatly miss his incisive analysis, dry wit, and lively intelligence.
--Philip Varghese, chair of the UT Austin Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
Graham was always kind to everyone and gave generously of his time. His interest in other people and his ability to build strong teams of engineers and software developers made him an outstanding leader and problem solver. He will be missed. But his legacy will live on through his work, his many outstanding students (many of whom I work with), and his wonderful family.
Graham was a bright light and a breath of fresh air in the sometimes-confusing world of finite elements. He was always willing to listen to a student's ideas and often would suggest improvements that were in the spirit of the original idea. He was a brilliant teacher, researcher, and an excellent human being.
Dr. Carey gave us much more than knowledge; he taught us to appreciate life. Last year, he told me that he worked too much during his life, that he should have taken more vacations. My first reaction was to agree; he always impressed me with the amount of work he was able to accomplish. But on second thought, I told him that he probably wouldn't have done it in any other way. He really loved his work. How many people can say that? And with that he made a difference in the lives of many people including mine. I told him that he must remember that it was not all about work. He may have forgotten, but he knew when a break was more important than work and found time to invite us to go sailing on the lake in the middle of a work day in the CFD Lab. I can still see and will always remember his smile knocking on the door and asking: "who wants to go to the lake?"
--Andrea M.P. Valli
Graham was a wonderful advocate for our center, believing in us and our future success and impact when we were just starting out and our goals may have seemed farfetched. He welcomed collaborations with us and helped us with his wisdom and suggestions. He was a great colleague and an even better man. Many of my staff had the good fortune of having taken classes from him or even had him as an advisor, and it's clear that his generosity with his knowledge and wisdom, as well as his belief in what people can achieve, was valued by his many students and advisees. He will certainly be missed by the Texas Advanced Computing Center and even more so by many of the people in TACC who had the opportunity to count him as a collaborator, mentor, and friend.
--Jay Bouisseau, director of TACC
Graham Carey was one of the first professors I had while a student at UT. His passion for computational studies was obvious, and his lectures were all memorable! My current research revolves around modeling the growth and treatment of brain cancers, where I use the Finite Element Library he initiated, libMesh. I hope to do him honor with this work. His presence in the institute and the community at large will be greatly missed.
--Andrea Hawkins-Daarud, Ph.D., CSEM, 2010
In his memory, ICES established the Graham F. Carey Scholarship Fund to recognize outstanding undergraduates who have a record of achievement in computational science. Graham would be pleased that his dedication to this subject will be remembered and honored by students interested in computational science in perpetuity.
William Powers Jr., President
The University of Texas at Austin
Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The General Faculty
This memorial resolution was prepared by a special committee consisting of Professors J. Tinsley Oden (chair), Leszek Demkowicz, and Thomas J.R. Hughes and was originally published by the Office of the General Faculty and Faculty Council.