Nail Gumerov (1960–2022)

Feb 01, 2022

Nail A. Gumerov, a senior research scientist in the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Studies (UMIACS), died on January 18, 2022, after a brief illness.

Gumerov’s research interests were broad and included scientific computing and algorithms related to applied mathematics, fluid mechanics, acoustics, electromagnetism, plasma physics, nanoscience, and more.

He was particularly interested in fast multipole methods (FMM) and their applications, for which he developed a course taught for several years to students studying computer science, mathematics, and mechanical and electrical engineering.

Other research focused on programming of graphics processors, use of heterogeneous architectures, and scalable algorithms for supercomputing.

For much of his long career at the University of Maryland—he arrived on campus in 2000—Gumerov collaborated with Ramani Duraiswami, a professor of computer science with an appointment in UMIACS.

“Nail had an extremely clear understanding of mathematical physics, and of classical condensed matter physics,” Duraiswami says. “Using his approach, he often rederived the results of others, but also makes fundamental contributions in a diverse number of areas—numerical analysis, scientific computing, data structures, parallel computing and electromagnetics, to name but a few. He was one of the smartest people I have worked with in my entire career.”

Gumerov was the author or co-author of more than 160 research publications, including a large monograph on the FMM and dozens of papers in scientific archival journals on applied mathematics, fluid mechanics, computational physics, numerical methods, and algorithms.

He served as an associate editor for the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.

Gumerov had also authored and co-authored several efficient algorithm implementations, software, and inventions, and as a co-author he was a finalist for the university's Invention of the Year awards in information technology in 2002 and 2005, and winner of the award in 2008.

In April of 2021, Gumerov was honored with the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences’ Distinguished Research Scientist Award.

In addition to his research with Duraiswami, Gumerov worked closely with other faculty on the UMD campus, including Bill Dorland in physics (plasma physics research), Konstantinos Papadopoulos in astronomy and physics (space plasma research), Balakumar Balachandran in mechanical engineering (vortex flow), David Fushman in chemistry (small angle X-ray scattering) and Gordon Leishman in aerospace engineering (rotorcraft research).

Gumerov also advised 15 doctoral students and several postdocs during his time at UMD.

He received his Ph.D. in physics and mathematics in 1987 from Lomonosov Moscow State University and the Sc.D. (a degree higher in rank than the Ph.D. in Russia) in physics and mathematics from the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1992.