Michael Saunders (1944– ) grew up in Christchurch, New Zealand, where he received a BSc (Honors) degree in Mathematics at the University of Canterbury. He was a Scientific Officer at the DSIR in Wellington, New Zealand, for the period 1966-78. He received his MS in 1970 and PhD 1972, both in Computer Science at Stanford University (advisor Gene Golub). He spent two years at the Stanford Operations Research Department in 1975-76, and he rejoined the department as a senior research associate in 1979. He was appointed Professor (Research) in 1987.
The Stanford OR Department evolved into EESOR and finally Management Science and Engineering. Professor Saunders is a member of the Systems Optimization Laboratory (SOL) within the MS&E Department. He was a faculty member in Gene Golub's SCCM Program at Stanford, and is now part of its successor, the Institute of Computational Mathematics and Engineering at Stanford (ICME).
His research interests include numerical optimization, numerical linear algebra, sparse-matrix methods, and portable software. He teaches a class on Large-Scale Numerical Optimization (MS&E 318, CME 338).
Professor Saunders was Associate Editor for ACM TOMS 1982-2004, for SIAM Journal of Optimization 1989-2001, and for Optimization and Engineering 1999-present. He is co-author of numerical software LSQR, LSMR, MINRES, MINRES-QLP, SYMMLQ, LUSOL for sparse linear equations, and MINOS, LSSOL, NPSOL, QPOPT, SQOPT, SNOPT, PDCO for constrained optimization.
Professor Saunders was first recipient of the Orchard-Hays Prize from the Mathematical Programming Society 1985. He was elected Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2007. In 2012 he won the SIAM Linear Algebra Prize (coauthors Sou-Cheng Choi and Christopher Paige) and was inducted into the Stanford Invention Hall of Fame (coinventors Philip Gill, Walter Murray, Bruce Murtagh, and Margaret Wright) for Innovation in the Development of Optimization Software. In 2013 he became a SIAM Fellow.