A conference that might interest you

On 24–27 July 2017, in the beautiful city of Lisbon, there will be a conference entitled “All kinds of mathematics remind me of you”. The editor of the BCC conference listings will suppress his natural modesty and mention that this conference celebrates his 70th birthday next year.

Take a look at the star-studded list of speakers, and put the dates in your diary.

If you are outside Europe and are thinking of visiting next summer, there are several other conferences to tempt you, including one for Stanley Fiorini’s birthday, the British Combinatorial Conference, Formal Power Series and Algebraic Combinatorics, Graph Embeddings and Maps on Surfaces, and Groups St Andrews. Details can be found in the BCC conference list.

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Programme for Old Codgers meeting

The Old Codgers combinatorics meeting this year takes place at the University of Reading on 2 November 2016, organised as usual by Anthony Hilton. The first talk is at 11.00, with coffee available from 10.30.

The programme is available here.

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Note that the British Combinatorial Conference in Strathclyde and the Formal Power Series and Algebraic Combinatorics conference at Queen Mary, London, are in consecutive weeks in July next year: all the more reason for coming to Britain! And if you want more, Groups St Andrews is in Birmingham in August.

The addresses:

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BCC postgraduate representative

Anja Komatar (Leeds) is the new postgraduate representative on the BCC, and will organise the next Postgraduate Combinatorics Conference.

Our thanks to Katie Clinch (QMUL) for her work as postgrad rep.

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Conference reports

The BCC supports many short conferences. Lists of these can be found on the conference listings pages.

We are keen to have reports on conferences we have supported, and we have just posted on this site new information to this effect. Only two conference reports from 2015 have been received in publishable form (see the “Conference reports” tab) and we would like to do better.

These resports are quite separate from the financial reports. University finance offices are not always quick at finalising a conference account; the financial report should be sent to the BCC treasurer when it becomes available. The purpose of a conference report is to record who organised the conference, who spoke (and on what), how many attended, and anything else of interest.

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Combinatorics landscape document

The Combinatorics landscape document, produced by James Hirschfeld, is currently being revised.

If you have exciting stories to tell about a recent development in combinatorics with UK connections, please email Daniela Kuhn in Birmingham.

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Discrete Mathematics and Big Data

On 15-17 February, we are holding a meeting at St Andrews on Discrete Mathematics & Big Data. You can find the web page here, and from that page you can get a programme for the event.

I had little to do with the organisation, though I was responsible for suggesting a couple of the speakers.

As I have said before, discrete mathematics can potentially generate huge amounts of data (though these tend to differ from most scientific data in that they are exact rather than approximate). Producing such data is clearly important and difficult, but there are further problems (storing it, curating it so as to make it useable by others, and so on) which have perhaps not been as much thought about as the production of the data. In the past, the usual thing was simply to put up a webpage with a link to the data.

I regard the ATLAS of finite group representations as a model of how this should be done. The data (generators of the groups in various permutation and matrix representations, character tables, etc.) is clearly laid out for human use, but (more importantly) is accessible by computer algebra programs such as GAP in a way which is practially transparent to users.

So I am very glad that Rob Wilson, the driving force behind the ATLAS, is speaking at the meeting (though he is not talking exclusively or even mainly about this – there is plenty more he has achieved in this area!)

Another speaker I am glad to welcome is Patric Østergård, one of the heroes of combinatorial search; among the big datasets he has been involved with producing is the catalogue of Steiner triple systems of order 19: there are 11084874829 of these up to isomorphism!

Come along if you can, and please contribute to the discussion, and help develop good practice for dealing with large combinatorial datasets.

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