Donald Estep

Biographical Information

I am a University Distinguished Professor, University Interdisciplinary Research Scholar and a professor in the Department of Statistics at Colorado State University. I received a B.A. from Columbia University in 1981 and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in applied mathematics from the University of Michigan in 1987. From 1987-2002, I was on the faculty in the School of Mathematics at the Georgia Institute of Technology. During 1991-1993,I was a visiting assistant professor in Applied Mathematics at the California Institute of Technology. I joined the Department of Mathematics at Colorado State University in 2000.I joined the Department of Statistics in 2006, eventually becoming full time in Statistics in 2014. I co-directed the NSF IGERT Project Program for Interdisciplinary Mathematics, Ecology, and Statistics at CSU from 2003-2009 and have directed the Center for Interdisciplinary Mathematics and Statistics from 2006. During 2013-14, I was a Jubilee Professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden. I became the Department Chair in 2017. I also became a University Distinguished Professor in 2017.


I work in uncertainty quantification, stochastic inverse problems, numerical analysis, scientific computing, applied analysis, and application of differential equations. My current research is focused on numerical error estimation, inverse problems, uncertainty quantification, sensitivity analysis, multiscale and operator decomposition methods, and adaptive discretization for multiphysics, multiscale problems. I have strong interdisciplinary interests and my collaborators include engineers, scientists, and statisticians at Argonne National Laboratory, Colorado State University, Columbia University, the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Multiscale Design Systems, LLC, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Purdue University, the TechX Corporation in Boulder, Colorado, and Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque. I have presented over fifty invited talks at workshops and conferences and over one hundred invited seminars and colloquia. My work has over 3000 citations (Google Scholar). I have advised 14 graduate students with 2 in progress and 15 postdocs with 1 in progress. My research has been supported continuously by a wide variety of agencies since 1989. During the period 2001-2011, I have been PI and Co-PI on external awards totaling over $43 million dollars total, resulting in over $15.2 million dollars awarded to CSU. In 2011, I led teams that won prestigious NSF FRG (on uncertainty quantification of computed waveforms from LIGO data) and DOE NEUP (on formulation and uncertainty quantification for multiscale models of nuclear fuels) grants. During 1993-1995, I was a National Science Foundation International Research Fellow. I was awarded the Computational and Mathematical Methods in Sciences and Engineering Prize for my research in 2005. I was appointed University Interdisciplinary Research Scholar at Colorado State University in 2009. I was awarded the Colorado State University Scholarship Impact Award in 2011. I was awarded a Jubilee Professorship from Chalmers University of Technology in 2013. I was selected as a SIAM Fellow in 2014. I was appointed University Distinguished Professor in 2017.


I am co-author of a graduate text entitled “Computational Differential Equations” (Eriksson, Estep, Hansbo, Johnson; Cambridge, 1996, in second printing) and a research monograph entitled “Estimating the Error of Numerical Solutions of Systems of Nonlinear Reaction-Diffusion Equations” (Estep, Larson, Williams; AMS Memoir, 2000) . I also wrote an undergraduate text in analysis called “Practical Analysis in One Variable” (Estep; Springer-Verlag, 2002, German edition 2004) and co-authored a three volume undergraduate series on engineering mathematics called “Applied Mathematics: Body and Soul” (Eriksson, Estep, Johnson; Springer-Verlag, 2003, German edition 2004). I was co-editor of the “ Proceedings of the Georgia Tech Conference on Dynamical Numerical” (Dieci, Estep, van deVelde; Numerical Algorithms, 1997) and the “ Collected Lectures on the Preservation of Stability under Discretization” , (Estep, Tavener; SIAM, 2002). I was co-developer of an innovative IGERT graduate training program in quantative ecology and also one of the founders of an undergraduate mathematics-biology interdisciplinary training and research program called FeSCUE. At Georgia Tech, I was appointed the first Director of Teaching Effectiveness for the School of Mathematics. In 2005,I was awarded the distinction of Outstanding Professor in Graduate Instruction by the graduate students in the Department of Mathematics at Colorado State University. In 2007, I was awarded the College of Natural Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award for Graduate Education and Mentoring.


I am director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Mathematics and Statistics, which is an organization aimed at fostering and supporting interdisciplinary research interactions across campus. CIMS has been designated a Program of Research and Scholarly Excellence at Colorado State University since 2008. I co-directed an NSF IGERT (Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship) program in quantitative ecology called PRIMES (Program for Interdisciplinary Mathematics, Ecology, and Statistics). PRIMES involves students, faculty, and scientists from twelve departments at Colorado State University as well as five federal agencies and laboratories. Nearly fifty graduate Ph.D. students were supported by PRIMES. I was also one of the main organizers of FEScUE (Flexible and Extendable Scientific Undergraduate Experience), an NSF UBM undergraduate interdisciplinary training program in mathematics and biology. I also served on the University Strategic Planning Committee which established the Information Science and Technology Center (ISTeC), a university-wide organization focused on the design and innovative application of computer, communication, and information systems at Colorado State University , and was the chief author of the ISTeC Research Plan. Subsequently, I served as the first Chair of the Research Advisory Council and as a member of the Executive Committee of ISTeC. I have served on many other University committees. I also served as Faculty Advisor to the CSU Rams Cycling Team, for which I helped established a scholarship fund. This was supported by a nonprofit charity corporation called Friends of Rams Cycling, Inc. of which I served as president. In 2009, I received the Oliver P. Pennock Distinguished Service Award from Colorado State University.


In 2010, J. Berger (Duke), M. Gunzburger (FSU), and I proposed the creation of a new SIAM/ASA Journal on Uncertainty Quantification to be published jointly by SIAM and ASA. This was approved by both societies in 2012, and I was subsequently appointed as (founding) co-Editor in Chief. I am the Editor in Chief of the SIAM Book Series on Computational Science and Engineering and I am on the editorial boards of the SIAM Journal on Numerical Analysis, International Journal for Uncertainty Quantification,  Journal of Applied Mathematics and Computing, and International Journal of Computer Mathematics.


I served on the  National Science Foundation Office of Cyberinfrastructure Grand Challenges Communities Task Force, 2009-2010 and was co-author of report delivered to the National Science Foundation, the Applied Mathematics Strategic Plan Recommendation Panel for the Office of Advanced Scientific Computing, Department of Energy in 2008 and co-authored the report: Applied Mathematics at the U.S. Department of Energy: Past, Present, and Future, and have taken part in other advisory activities for the Department of Energy. I served on the Advisory Board for the Center for Advanced Modeling and Simulation, Idaho National Laboratory 2009-2012, and served on the Governing Board of the NSF-funded Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute (SAMSI) as the SIAM representative 2009-2014. I served on the Computer and Information Sciences External Review Board, Sandia National Laboratories, 2012-2015. I served as Panel Chair, Beyond Interpretive Simulations, Fusion Energy Sciences and Advanced Scientific Computing Research Workshop on Integrated Simulations for Magnetic Fusion Sciences and was Co-Author of Workshop Report delivered to the Department of Energy Office of Sciences, 2015.


I have co-organized 21 conferences, minisymposia, and workshops, including a number focused on training graduate students in Interdisciplinary Computational Science and Engineering. I was the co-Chair of the first SIAM - ASA - USACM Conference on Uncertainty Quantification. I was Program Leader for the SAMSI Program on Environmental Sensor Networks in 2008-2009 and was a Program Leader for the SAMSI Program on Uncertainty Quantification in 2011-2012.


I am a member of the American Mathematical Society, the American Statistical Association, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.  I was co-organizer and first Chair of the SIAM Activity Group on Uncertainty Quantification. I served on the SIAM Education Committee 2006-11. I served on the American Mathematical Society Simmons Travel Grants Committee, 2011-2013.