CVX wins the Beale Orchard-Hayes prize!

Michael Grant & Stephen Boyd were selected to win the 2012 Beale Orchard-Hays Prize for Excellence in Computational Mathematical Programming. This award is presented once every three years by the Mathematical Optimization Society, and is given in memory of Martin Beale and William Orchard-Hayes, two pioneers in computational mathematical optimization. The prize was awarded specifically for CVX, and cites both the software itself and a paper that describes some of the key technology.

The presentation took place on August 19, 2012 at the opening ceremony of the International Symposium for Mathematical Programming in Berlin, Germany. The Berlin ISMP organizing committee delivered a fantastic show. The ceremony was held in the historic Konzerthaus Berlin, and featured performances by the Berlin Sibelius Orchestra. University of Wisconsin Professor Michael Ferris, a member of the award committee, delivered a flattering introduction.

We want thank our nominator, the award committee, and the Mathematical Optimization Society for a wonderful honor. It is truly a privilege to be counted among the winners of the Beale-Orchard-Hays prize; some great names are included among them. In fact, Professor Ferris won the prize himself in 1997; and the inaugural awardee was Professor Michael Saunders, a fellow Stanford affiliate and one of Michael Grant’s dissertation readers. (It would seem that Michael is a good first name to have in this field.)

Most importantly, however, we would like to thank all of our users. You have given us wonderful encouragement over the years—whether directly through an email of thanks, or indirectly by citing our work in your publications, or even just by contributing to our download count! Knowing that our work has proven useful to you has driven us to persist in development and support.

We have a strong future planned for CVX, and for new software on other mathematical platforms. CVX 2.0 beta has just been released—our first step towards a sustainable business built on convex optimization. (Everyone who likes CVX except that they have to run Matlab to use it—I hope you’ll stay tuned as well.)

The text of the award citation is below:

2012 Beale-Orchard-Hays Prize Citation

Michael Grant and Stephen Boyd, “CVX: Matlab software for disciplined convex programming, version 1.21”,, April 2011

Michael Grant and Stephen Boyd, “Graph Implementations for Nonsmooth Convex Programs” in Recent Advances in Learning and Control, V. Blondel, S. Boyd and H. Kimura (eds), pp. 95-110, Lecture Notes in Control and Informational Sciences, Springer, 2008.

In a unanimous decision, the selection committee (Michael Ferris (Chair), Philip Gill, Tim Kelley, Jon Lee) for the Beale Orchard Hays Prize for 2012 decided that the award be given to Michael Grant and Stephen Boyd for the software CVX as described in the above papers.

The nomination states that “CVX is a modeling language for convex programming that has been implemented in Matlab. It also automatically links to semidefinite solvers … CVX makes convex programming as easy as Matlab makes matrix computation.” The committee feels that this work is very well respected within our community and is used extensively for both research and teaching at a number of high-profile institutions. In particular, it provides a unique, well-documented tool for prototyping and exploring existing and emerging applications of convex optimization.

This Prize is sponsored by the Society in memory of Martin Beale and William Orchard-Hays, pioneers in computational mathematical programming. The Prize is given for excellence in any aspect of computational mathematical programming. “Computational mathematical programming” includes the development of high-quality mathematical programming algorithms and software, the experimental evaluation of mathematical programming algorithms, and the development of new methods for the empirical testing of mathematical programming techniques.

In the photo, from left to right: Michael Ferris, award committee chair; Nicolas Zimmer, Berlin government representative; Professor Stephen Boyd; Philippe Toint, MOS chair; Michael Grant.