Robert Kirby
Current Contact Information
Associate Professor
Department Mathematics
Baylor University
Sid Richardson Building, Room 320
Phone: (254)7104846
Fax: (254)7103569
Email: reduce( operator.add , ["Robert","_","Kirby","@","baylor",".","edu"] , "" )
Previous Positions
Associate Professor, Texas Tech University, 200620012.
Assistant Professor, University of Chicago, 20022006.
Dickson Instructor, University of Chicago, 20002002.
Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin, 2000.
Research Interests
Computers were invented to automate tedious and errorprone
tasks, like the vast hoards of arithemtic operations
required to perform advanced numerical simulations of science
and engineering problems. However, programming computers is
itself a tedious and errorprone task. So, why not get a
computer to do it?
At the intersection of mathematics and computer science, one
finds "metanumerical computing"  the
use of mathematical structure to generate, manipulate, and
optimize numerical software. I have contributed to several
large software projects, such as
Trilinos (especially
Sundance and
Intrepid)
and the
FEniCS
project (especially FIAT and FErari, although I did some early
conceptual work on ffc). Basically, the goal is to fuse
together aspects of domainspecific languages with
structural and algorithmic aspects of finite elements to
produce easytouse yet highly efficient code systems that
provide efficient implementations of stateoftheart numerical
methods. Or, you can call it "numerical methods with a
universal quantifier".
While these tools are still under development and yet widely
used in applications, it is also important to continue pressing
forward the state of the art for basic research.
One ongoing project is to
develop lowcomplexity simplicial finite element methods based
on Bernstein polynomials. These will keep the same of
generality with respect to unstructured geometry and highorder
approximation currently offered by automated PDE codes like Sundance and
FEniCS, but also have runtime costs comparable to
tensorproduct spectral elements and similarly support
efficient multicore implementations. Fresh results extending
these techniques to the Finite Element Exterior Calculus coming soon.
Also, given the ability to solve one problem well, how do we
solve two problems glued together? Vicki Howle and I are using
Sundance as a suite to develop block preconditioners for
multiphysics problems. These problems employ some new
mathematical insights based on PDE theory and compact operators.
Teaching
Spring 2014, I am teaching:
 Math 432201 (Numerical Analysis)
My students should check Blackboard as the semester begins for course information.
Publications
Book Chapters
I have contributed nine peerreviewed chapters to the
newlyreleased Springer
book on the FEniCS project:
Automated
Solution of Differential Equations by the Finite Element Method
(Logg, Mardal, Wells, eds). Coming soon
to a bestseller list near you!
Submitted

R. C. Kirby and T. T. Kieu, "Symplecticmixed finite
element approximation of linear wave equations," submitted
to Numerische Mathematik.
(pdf)
To appear

R. C. Kirby, "Lowcomplexity finite element algorithms for the de Rham complex on simplices," to appear, SIAM J. Scientific Computing (pdf).

R. C. Kirby, "Highperformance evaluation of finite element variational forms via commuting diagrams and duality," accepted for publication in ACM Trans. Math. Software (pdf)
 B. Brennan, R. C. Kirby, J. Zweck, and S. Minkoff, "Highperformance Pythonbased simulations of trace gas sensors," PyHPC 2013. (pdf)
Appeared

V. Howle, R. Kirby, and G. Dillon,
"Block Preconditioners for Coupled Physics Problems",
SIAM J. Scientific Computing 35(5): S368S385
(pdf)

B. Brennan, V. E. Howle, K. Kennedy, R. C. Kirby, and K. R. Long,
"Playa: Highperformance programmable linear algebra,"
Scientific Programming 20(3): 257  273 (2012). (pdf)

P. Bochev, H. C. Edwards, R. C. Kirby, K. Peterson,
and D. Ridzal, "Solving PDEs with Intrepid,"
Scientific Programming 20(2): 151  180 (2012). (pdf)

R. C. Kirby, and T. T. Kieu, "Fast simplicial quadraturebased finite element operators using
Bernstein polynomials," Numerische Mathematik 121(2):
261  279 (2012).
(pdf)

V. E. Howle and R. C. Kirby, "Block preconditioners for
finite element discretization of incompressible flow
with thermal convection," Numerical Linear
Algebra with Applications 19(2): 427  440 (2012).
(pdf)

R. C. Kirby, "Fast simplicial finite element algorithms using
Bernstein polynomials," Numerische Mathematik 117(4):
631  652 (2011).
(pdf)

K. R. Long, R. C. Kirby, and B. van Bloemen Waanders, "Unified
embedded parallel finite element computations via softwarebased
Frechet differentiation," SIAM J. Scientific Computing
32(6):3323  3351 (2010). (pdf)

R. C. Kirby, "From functional analysis to iterative methods,"
SIAM Review 52(2): 269  293
(2010). (pdf)

R. C. Kirby, "Singularityfree evaluation of
collapsedcoordinate orthogonal polynomials," ACM
Trans. Math Software 37(1): 1  16 (2010). (pdf)

M. E. Rognes, R. C. Kirby, and A. Logg, "Efficient assembly of
H(div) and H(curl) conforming finite elements," SIAM
J. Scientific Computing 31(6):41304151 (2009).
(pdf)

A. R. Terrell, L. R. Scott, M. G. Knepley and R. C. Kirby,
"Automated FEM Discretizations of the Stokes equations," BIT
Numerical Mathematics, 48(2):389404 (2008).
(pdf)

R. C. Kirby and A. Logg, "Benchmarking domainspecific compiler
optimizations for variational forms," ACM Trans. Math. Software
35(2):118 (2008). (pdf)

R. C. Kirby and L. R. Scott, "Geometric optimization of the
evaluation of finite element operators", SIAM J. Scientific
Computing 29:827841 (2007). (pdf)

R. C. Kirby and A. Logg, "Efficient compilation of a class of
variational forms", ACM Trans. Math. Software 33(3):1
 20 (2007). (pdf)

R. C. Kirby and A. Logg, "A compiler for variational
forms," ACM Trans. Math. Software. 32:417444 (2006).
(pdf)

R. C. Kirby, A. Logg, L. R. Scott, and A. Terrel, "Topological
optimization of the evaluation of finite element matrices," SIAM
J. Scientific Computing 28:224240 (2006).
(pdf)

R. C. Kirby, "Optimizing FIAT with Level 3 BLAS," ACM
Trans. Math. Software. 32:223235 (2006).
(pdf)

R. C. Kirby, M. G. Knepley, A. Logg, and L. R. Scott,
"Optimizing the evaluation of finite element matrices," SIAM
J. Scientific Computing 27:741758 (2005).
(pdf)

R. C. Kirby, "FIAT: A new paradigm for computing finite element
basis functions," ACM Trans. Math. Software. 30:502516
(2004).
(pdf)

R. C. Kirby, "A new look at expression templates for matrix
computation," IEEE Computing in Science and Engineering,
5:6670 (2003). (pdf)

R. Kirby, "A posteriori error estimates for the mixed
finite element method," Computational Geosciences. 7:197214
(2003). (pdf)

R. Kirby, "On the convergence of high resolution methods with
multiple time scales for hyperbolic conservation laws",
Math. Comp. 72:12391250 (2003).
(pdf)

C. Dawson and R. Kirby, "High resolution schemes for
conservation laws with locally varying time steps", SIAM
J. Sci. Comput. 22:22562281 (2001).
(pdf)

C. Dawson and R. Kirby, "Solution of parabolic equations by
backwardEuler mixed finite elements on a dynamically changing
mesh", SIAM J. Numer. Anal. 37:423442 (2000).
(pdf)

C. Dawson, S. Bryant, and R. Kirby, "Dynamically adaptive
upwind finite volume methods for contaminant
transport," Computational Methods in Water Resources
XII, vol. 2, 641648 (1998).
(pdf)
Students
Ph.D. students
Brian Brennan (in progress at Baylor): finite element modeling of trace gas sensors
Geoffrey Dillon (in progress at TTU): Schur complements and block preconditioners for coupled systems
Thinh Tri Kieu (in progress at TTU): Finite element methods for nonlinear wave equations.
M.S. Students
Andy Terrel (joint with Ridg Scott, 2007), now at Continuum Analytics.