background and bio

Algorithmic Art


Timothy A. Davis, PhD, is a Professor in the Computer Science and Engineering Department at Texas A&M University, and a Fellow of SIAM, ACM, and IEEE.  He serves as an associate editor for the ACM Transactions on Mathematical Software.  In 2018 he was awarded the Walston Chubb Award for Innovation, by Sigma Xi.

In 1989-1990 he was a postdoc at CERFACS, in Toulouse, France where he collaborated with Iain Duff.  In 2002-2003 he was a visiting associate professor in the Computer Science Department at Stanford and a visiting staff member at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.

Davis is a world leader in the creation of innovative algorithms and widely-used software for solving large sparse matrix problems that arise in a vast range of real-world technological and social applications.  For example, MATLAB uses his solvers for x=A\b.  Every photo in Google Street View is placed into proper position using his software via Google's Ceres solver.  Over half a billion people on the planet have his software preinstalled on their smartphones.

His software appears in all major Linux distributions, and is widely used in open-source packages such as GIMP, R, Octave, and FEniCS.  The Xyce circuit simulation package by Sandia National Lab, and Berkeley's OpenSees earthquake simulator both rely on his sparse solvers. 

In 2015, Davis’ solvers helped the FBI rescue 6 young girls in Colorado from sex trafficking.  The DARPA project that analyzes online ads on the dark web relies on his solvers.

Davis’ recent SuiteSparse:GraphBLAS package allows software developers to easily solve complex graph problems such as countering cybercrime, combating human trafficking, and exploring pathological microbiomes, by using the elegant language of linear algebra (see DOE news release).

Davis is applying his research to create new algorithms that rely on graphics processing units (GPUs) to accelerate the solution to sparse linear systems.

His publications include a book on sparse direct methods (SIAM, 2006), and many published articles and peer-reviewed algorithms.  Over the past 15 years, his algorithms represent 7% of the entire algorithmic publications of the ACM Transactions on Mathematical Software. 

In the artistic realm, Davis creates algorithmic artwork that translates music into visual art via Fourier transforms, graph algorithms, and force-directed graph visualization.  He created the theme artwork for the 2013 London Electronic Arts Festival that appeared on billboards all over London.  His most recent artistic work is a rendition of Donald Knuth’s Fantasia Apocalyptica, shown to the right.  For more algorithmic art, see

Outside of work, he served as an elder in his local church in Florida : The Chapel of Gainesville, where he also taught inductive Bible studies using methods and resources from Precept Ministries. He also enjoys writing poetry -- both fun mathematical poetry and more serious stuff.  His poem Hiraeth appears as the lyrics to a choral piece composed by Roger Ames, published by GIA Music.

By creating novel applied mathematical algorithms and publishing them as extremely reliable software, Davis' work enables many developers to solve their problems with ease, whether creating maps of Mars, designing a VLSI circuit, scanning the earth under Japan for fault lines, finding their way on Google StreetView, or rescuing young girls from human trafficking.




Tim Davis


235 Peterson, Texas A&M




office: 979 845 4094

mailing ADDRESS:

235 Peterson Building

Dept of Computer Science and Eng.

Texas A&M University

3112 TAMU

College Station, TX 77843-3112



To rescue her, Thunkin returns to the fight

And at first the black spiders all sneer at the sight

Of a single green Punkalunk coming to help,

But he fights them so fiercely it's their turn to yelp!

They're battered and tattered and run away scattered!

The bulk of the army is wiped out and shattered!

A single black spider is still not yet splattered,

Its jaws snapping faster like nothing else mattered!

With his spiky back legs Thunkin whacks the black thing

That was snapping right at him to give him a sting.

It flies in the air and lands hard with a plunk-it!

A spider goes flying?  Oh, who would a' thunk it?

... (excerpt from “The Punkalunk and the Scarydid”)

above : algorithmic art generated from “Also Sprach Zarathustra”.  © 2013 Tim Davis

Click on the image below for more

of my artwork.