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Joint EMS-SCM meeting at ICMS


Martyn Quick attended the joint meeting of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society and Societat Catalana de Matemàtiques (27-29 September 2017) held at the ICMS in Edinburgh.  He was invited to speak at the special session on Geometric Group Theory at this meeting and delivered a talk titled “Presentations for Thompson’s group V and its generalisations”Colva Roney-Dougal and Colin Campbell also attended.

Permutation Groups in Marienheide


Peter Cameron spoke at a summer school for PhD students on Permutation Groups in Marienheide, Germany, run by the Experimental and Constructive Algebra Group at RWTH Aachen. He gave an introduction to permutation groups and applications to semigroups, and also ran the problem session (which was held outdoors, as the weather was warm).

n-Queens Completion is NP-Complete


Ian Gent, Chris Jefferson and Peter Nightingale have shown that the n-Queens puzzle (given a chessboard of size n x n, place n queens so that no two queens attack each other) is NP-Complete. Their paper “Complexity of n-Queens Completion” was published in the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research on August 30. See these two articles: “Simple” chess puzzle holds key to $1m prize and n-Queens Completion is NP-Complete for further details.

Groups St Andrews 2017 in Birmingham


Groups St Andrews 2017 in Birmingham took place on August 5th-13th. This is the tenth in the series of Groups St Andrews Conferences which have been held every four years from 1981. The main speakers were Michael Aschbacher (Caltech), Pierre-Emmanuel Caprace (Université Catholique de Louvain), Radha Kessar (City, University of London) and Gunter Malle (TU Kaiserlautern). One hour speakers were Tim Burness (Bristol), Vincent Guirardel (Université de Rennes 1), Harald Helfgott (Göttingen), Andrei Jaikin-Zapirain (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid) and Donna Testerman (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne). The organisers are Colin Campbell, Martyn Quick, Edmund Robertson and Colva Roney-Dougal together with Chris Parker from Birmingham.

The conference has been followed by a satellite event – a tutorial on the computational algebra system GAP on August 13th-14th. It has been organised by Alexander Konovalov together with Sergey Shpectorov from Birmingham. On Sunday Alexander Konovalov taught the Software Carpentry lesson “Programming with GAP”, and on Monday Markus Pfeiffer explained various aspects of using GAP effectively and demonstrated the GAP Jupyter interface being developed in the OpenDreamKit project.

 

All kinds of mathematics


A conference “All Kinds of Mathematics Remind me of You” to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of Peter Cameron took place in Lisbon on 24-27 July 2017. It was followed by a one-day workshop “Symmetry in Finite and Infinite Structures“. Both events took place at the University of Lisbon and were organised by mathematicians from Universidade Aberta and the Universities of Aveiro, Coimbra and Lisbon, led by João Araújo.

Quoting the School newsletter, participants ranged in academic age from Peter’s own DPhil supervisor Peter Neumann to recent St Andrews undergraduate Scott Harper. They included more than twenty co-authors including three with nine or more joint publications with him. The other participants from St Andrews were Rosemary Bailey (who spoke on “Circular designs with weak neighbour balance”), Collin Bleak, Julius Jonusas (“Universal words and sequences”), James Mitchell (“Semigroups from digraphs”), Shayo Olukoya (“Growth rates of automata groups generated by reset automaton”) and Wilf Wilson (“Maximal subsemigroups of monoids of partial order-(anti)endomorphisms”).

The final talk has been given by Peter himself and was entitled “Perchance to dream …”. It mentioned several outstanding problems, and Peter hopes that participants will solve many of these before the next conference!

In a series of five blog posts, Peter gave a detailed account of each day: see those for day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4 and the workshop.

Peter Cameron awarded the 2017 LMS Senior Whitehead Prize


Congratulations to Peter Cameron on being awarded the 2017 Senior Whitehead Prize of the London Mathematical Society! The prize is awarded for ‘exceptional research contributions across combinatorics and group theory, his fertile imagination and encouragement of others having sparked activity in many fields’. He became the third person to win both a Junior and Senior Whitehead Prize. Please read further details in the LMS announcement and in this post in Peter Cameron’s blog.

NBSAN meeting in St Andrews


On July 13th, we hosted the meeting of NBSAN (North British Semigroups and Applications Network). It was organised by Julius Jonusas, and the speakers were Nick Gilbert, Zur Izhakian, Mark Kambites, Matt McDevitt and Munazza Naz. Slides of some talks from the meeting are available on the NBSAN website.

Visits and conferences – May 2017


  • The London Combinatorics Colloquia took place at Queen Mary University of London on 10th May, when Sophie Huczynska gave a talk “Graph classes under homomorphic image order”, and the following day at the London School of Economics. Whilst there Peter Cameron chaired a meeting of the British Combinatorial Committee, also attended by Nik Ruskuc.
  • Nik Ruskuc visited Robert Brignall at the Open University for a week to pursue their joint research project about the property of well quasi order in combinatorics.
  • Colin Campbell, Edmund Robertson and Nayab Khalid attended the 40th Groups in Galway meeting at NUI Galway from 18-20th May.

Semigroups 3.0 Hackathon


It’s been a long time coming, but Semigroups 3.0 is nearly ready for release.  We’re going to have a hackathon to squash all the remaining bugs, add documentation, replace TODOs, and generally polish and tweak the package until it’s ready to be released! The kick-off is at 11am on Monday May 29th in Maths Lecture Theatre D. Everyone is welcome to join!

Groups St Andrews 2017 in Birmingham


Groups St Andrews 2017 takes place in Birmingham on August 5th-13th 2017. The talks will happen from 6th August until 12th August 2017 (inclusive). It will be followed by a satellite event – a tutorial on the computational algebra system GAP on August 13th-14th.