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In Memoriam Professor Agnes Szanto, North Carolina State University

Agnes Szanto

Dr. Agnes Szanto, Professor of Mathematics at North Carolina State University, passed away on March 21st, 2022, after a long battle with lymphoma, leaving the department in deep sadness, but also with invaluable memories of her twenty years as a wonderful colleague.

During her long research and teaching career at North Carolina State University, Agnes made seminal contributions in computer algebra and symbolic computation. Among her major contributions is her work on describing and certifying  the solutions of polynomial systems of equations, which she treated from a purely symbolic point of view or by hybrid symbolic-numeric methods, by applying a range of different tools, such as subresultants and elimination matrices, Smale alpha theory, multiplicity analysis and deflation techniques. Agnes had a rare ability, recognized by all her colleagues, of combining abstract ideas from commutative algebra with computational knowledge from numerical linear algebra to make fundamental contributions to these scientifically challenging problems. She continued to be a very dedicated researcher actively pursuing answers to mathematical challenges and new ideas up to her very final days

While Agnes’ scholarly contributions are outstanding, even more important is her service in the mathematics community.  She took on many leadership roles in mathematical societies overseeing numerous projects and chairing several committees that landed her international acclaim.  In recent years, under Agnes’ leadership as a chair of the SIAM Activity Group on Algebraic Geometry, the organization saw a surge in conference attendance, and created a new prize for young researchers. In addition, she was elected as Chair of the Society for Foundations of Computational Mathematics (FoCM), which runs highly regarded conferences as well publishes a high impact journal. Agnes played an instrumental role in all of the main associations for researchers in symbolic computation, including serving as treasurer for the ACM Special Interest Group on Symbolic and Algebraic Manipulation.    

Agnes is survived by her husband Scott and daughter Sophia. Agnes was admired and respected by all who knew her for her kindness, collegiality, generosity, and excellent leadership. She is sorely missed by family, students, colleagues, and friends.