Layne T. Watson graduated from University of Evansville, Indiana, in 1969 magna cum laude with a degree in psychology and mathematics and earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1974. He is a professor of computer science, mathematics, and aerospace and ocean engineering at Virginia Tech.
His research interests include fluid dynamics; solid mechanics; numerical analysis; optimization; parallel computation; mathematical software; image processing; and bioinformatics. He has worked for USNAD Crane, Sandia National Laboratories, and General Motors Research Laboratories and served on the faculties of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, East Lansing, before coming to Virginia Tech, and was the Visiting Melchor Chair Professor in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame in 2008.
His professional service includes stints as associate editor of ORSA Journal on Computing; SIAM Journal on Optimization; Computational Optimization and Applications; Evolutionary Optimization; Engineering Computations; and the International Journal of High Performance Computing Applications. He is senior editor of Applied Mathematics and Computation. He has published well over 300 refereed journal articles and 200 refereed conference papers. He is a fellow of the IEEE, the National Institute of Aerospace, and the International Society of Intelligent Biological Medicine.