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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Speakers at BCC26

We are pleased to announce the list of invited speakers at the 26th British Combinatorial Conference, which will be held at the University of Strathclyde (in Glasgow) on 3–7 July 2017. The list is

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Donald Preece memorial day

A memorial day for Donald Preece was held on 17 September 2015 at Queen Mary, University of London. There were 45 registered attendees, and others who had known Donald attended for part of the day.

The conference was partially supported by the British Combinatorial Committee. Donald had attended many British Combinatorial Conferences, and was organiser of (and accompanist where required at) the Conference concert. He also stepped in and organised the 17th BCC at the University of Kent in 1999, when we found ourselves without a venue at short notice.

The program was as follows (FB=Fogg lecture theatre and foyer, GH=Great Hall and foyer.)

  • 10.30: Arrival and coffee, FB
  • 11.00: Robert Preece: introductory words, FB
  • 11.05: R. A. Bailey, Professor emerita of Statistics, QMUL, and Professor of Statistics and Mathematics, University of St Andrews: “Donald Arthur Preece: a life in statistics, mathematics and music”, FB
  • 11.35 Byron Morgan, Professorial Research Fellow, University of Kent: “Canterbury Tales”, FB
  • 11.55 Martin Ridout, Professor of Applied Statistics, University of Kent: “Slow ripening fruit: Donald at East Malling”, FB
  • 12.30: Lunch, GH
  • 14.00: Peter J. Cameron, Professor emeritus of Mathematics, QMUL, and Professor of Statistics and Mathematics, University of St Andrews: “Donald at Queen Mary: climbing walls and PLRs”, GH
  • 14.30: Philip Ogden, Professor of Geography and Senior Advisor to the Principal, QMUL: “Donald’s non-mathematical contributions to Queen Mary”, GH
  • 14.50: Philip Luke, organist, Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church: “Donald’s
    interest in organs”, GH
  • 15:00: Organ recital by Alan Wilson, former music director at Queen Mary, University of London, GH
  • 15.30: Cream tea, FB
  • 16.15: Ian Anderson, Honorary research fellow in Mathematics, University of Glasgow: “Variations on musical and mathematical themes”, FB
  • 17.05: J. P. Morgan, Professor of Statistics and Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives, Virginia Tech: “Donald Preece, Multi-Dimensional Man”, FB

The meeting was followed by a reception and dinner in the Senior Common Room.

Further information is available from the web page, which will remain for the time being as a record of the event and a repository for material about the lectures and about Donald.

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A few things

I have been a bit preoccupied since the BCC, hence the lack of recent posts – sorry!

The conference was very successful, in my view; some of my impressions are posted here and the four subsequent posts.

On the basis of the email consultation and a discussion at the conference business meeting, the Committee have decided not to change the format of the Bulletin for the time being, but to keep things under review. The Bulletin may get moved onto this site at some point in the future.

Forthcoming meetings supported by the BCC include

  • Donald Preece Memorial Day, Queen Mary University of London, 17 September 2015. Registration has officially closed, but if you really want to attend, email Leonard Soicher as soon as possible.
  • Old Codgers Combinatorics Meeting will be on 28 October. Details to follow.

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