Who we are and what we do

Numerical Algorithms Group

The Numerical Algorithms Group (NAG) provides expertise in numerical engineering, by delivering high-quality computational software, consulting services and high performance computing services. For over four decades NAG have collaborated with world-leading researchers in academia and industry to create powerful, reliable and flexible software which is relied on by tens of thousands of individual users, as well as numerous independent software vendors. As a not-for-profit company, NAG reinvests surpluses into the research and development of its products, services, staff and its collaborations.

NAG was founded in 1970 as an inter-University collaborative venture combining the talents of many globally renowned mathematicians. In 1971 NAG developed the first mathematical software library - the NAG Library, which, over the next four decades, has evolved to become the largest commercially available collection of high quality mathematical and statistical algorithms. NAG's commitment to testing and quality remains steadfast. Alongside the Library, NAG develops the NAG Compiler. NAG's products are expertly and directly supported by NAG's technical team.

The breadth and depth of expertise within NAG's technical team of mathematicians and computer scientists is used to provide HPC support to supercomputing centres around the world. NAG HPC Services provides procurement advice, consulting services and people with expert computational science engineering skills either onsite at client premises or supports users from NAG offices.

NAG Numerical Services help organizations find and implement the optimum numerical computation solutions from teaching the best ways to solve complex problems or verifying that older applications remain valid and optimal for the latest processors and platforms. NAG can be used to provide bespoke training courses and works with teams at organizations to impart skills and techniques that will help solve your numerical problems.

Application and software organizations embed NAG software and services when demand dictates the need for analytical techniques such as modelling, forecasting, optimization and data mining via the NAG Partnership Program.

Similarly, the world's leading computer hardware manufacturers work closely with NAG to ensure that NAG software is optimized for their customers. Additionally, NAG Numerical Services have been enlisted to help develop some externally produced core numerical libraries.

NAG's ethos is, collaborative, consultative, consensus-based, principled and transparent. It was founded on collaboration and continues to partner with expert individuals and organizations from industry and academia all over the world including:

How we started

The NAG project began in 1970 as a collaborative venture led by Dr. Brian Ford, OBE, between the Universities of Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham and Oxford, and the Atlas Computer Laboratory (now part of the Science and Engineering Research Council's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory). The original aim was to develop a library of numerical and statistical subroutines for use on their ICL 1906A/S machines. Because of the different language emphasis in the centres and the difficulty of mixed-language programming it was decided to develop the library in both Algol 60 and ANSI Fortran. The Mark 1 Library contained 98 user-callable routines and was released on 1st October 1971.

Hear NAG's founder Dr. Brian Ford OBE describe the making of the NAG Mark 1 Library.

Universities with other types of computers became interested in the activity, and various machine-range implementations were initiated from Mark 2 of the Library onwards. Hence, the early aims of NAG could be summarised as follows:

  • to create a balanced, general-purpose library of algorithms which meets the numerical and statistical needs of computer users;
  • to support the library with documentation giving advice on problem identification, algorithm selection, and routine usage;
  • to provide a substantial test suite, including example test programs, for certification of the library; and
  • to implement the Library as widely as user demand required.

In adopting these objectives, NAG committed itself to a long-term program of library contents development with a strong emphasis on documentation, testing and portability. This emphasis has been maintained throughout the subsequent years of NAG's development, and is reflected in the present day range of NAG products. Both the contribution activity and the implementation process were coordinated from Nottingham until August 1973. The central office of the project then moved to Oxford University, and at this point the name of the project changed from "The Nottingham Algorithms Group" to "The Numerical Algorithms Group".