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The Perfidious Polynomial
Year of Award: 1987
Publication Information: Studies in Numerical Analysis, 1-28, MAA Stud. Math., 24, Math. Assoc. America, Washington, DC, 1984
Summary: The author reviews the role of finding real roots of real polynomials in the development of mathematics, in general, and then in connection with numerical analysis. In particular, he discusses his realization of the importance of backward error analysis as a consequence of using computers to find such roots.
About the Author: James H. Wilkinson was born in England and educated at Cambridge. He was Alan Turing's assistant at the National Physical Laboratory in 1946. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1969 and received the Turing award from the Association of Computing Machinery and the J. von Neumann award from the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics in 1970. He was a professor of computer science at Stanford.