Cleve B. Moler

Cleve B. Moler
Associated organizations
Fields of study
IEEE John von Neumann Medal, IEEE Computer Society Pioneer Award


Cleve B. Moler is considered one of the most influential contributors to computational science and engineering for his development of the MATLAB high-level programming environment that changed the face of numerical computation and provided an indispensable tool for engineers worldwide. Dr. Moler developed MATLAB, which stands for “matrix laboratory,” as a simple matrix calculator for student use in mathematical courses, but it soon found broader acceptance in engineering. MATLAB makes computing easier for scientists and engineers and increases productivity by allowing them to focus on solving the problem at hand without needing to write their own code to perform matrix computations. In 1984, Dr. Moler founded MathWorks with Jack Little to commercialize MATLAB. Today, MATLAB has over 1 million users representing universities, industry, and government worldwide. It is an important tool in industries including automotive, aerospace, communications, electronics, industrial automation, financial services, and computational biology. MATLAB is used at over 5,000 universities, and it is often the first programming language taught to science and engineering students. Other impactful contributions from Dr. Moler include the LINPACK and EISPACK linear algebra software libraries for computation involving matrices, which he helped develop during the 1970s. LINPACK and EISPACK gave scientists the ability to solve complex problems without requiring them to be experts in the algorithms and software. The LINPACK Benchmark, used to rank the world’s fastest supercomputers, is named after the LINPACK software library. Dr. Moler also contributed to linear algebra during the 1960s by writing reliable state-of-the-art Fortran subroutines for matrix computations and creating (with Pete Stewart) the QZ algorithm for the generalized eigenvalue problem prevalent in many applications.

A member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and recipient of IEEE Computer Society Pioneer Award (2012), Dr. Moler is currently chief mathematician with MathWorks, Natick, MA, USA. Moler was awarded the 2014 IEEE John von Neumann Medal.