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John Rischard Rice is one of the founders of mathematical software as a distinct scholarly community. Trained in mathematics he spent four decades in Purdue's Department of Computer Sciences. During the 1970s he convened a series of seminal conferences on the topic and established ACM Transactions on Mathematical Software which he edited for many years. Rice led development of the ELLPACK system for solving partial differential equations and helped to establish techniques for the performance evaluation of mathematical software. He has published 21 books.