Groups and Geometries (15w5017)


Inna Capdeboscq (University of Warwick)

(Imperial College)

Bernhard Muehlherr (University of Giessen)


The Banff International Research Station will host the "Groups and Geometries" workshop from May 3rd to May 8th, 2015.

Group theory is an abstract subject, but it is also the mathematical way to investigate symmetry. Thus many problems from various areas of mathematics which involve some sort of symmetry are susceptible to the application of group theory. In this proposal we plan to cover three main areas: the abstract structure of finite groups; some geometrical aspects of group theory; and several recent applications of group theory to other areas of mathematics.

The basic building blocks of all finite groups are the simple groups, and the finite simple groups were classified in one of the most monumental mathematical achievements of the 20th century, involving many researchers over a period of many years. One of the main topics of the meeting will be the area of Fusion Systems. This topic originated in Topology, but has become also a part of Finite Group Theory in the past few years. There is an ambitious and far-reaching project under way in this direction which may lead to a new proof of the classification of finite simple groups, and many of the protagonists of this project will be at the meeting to report on this.
Another theme will be the connections between groups and geometrical structures such as Bruhat-Tits buildings; here the groups involved are not just finite simple groups, but many other types of algebraic and arithmetic groups. The third theme will be some spectacular recent applications of group theory, of which there are many diverse examples, ranging from the theory of resolutions of algebraic varieties, to random walks in Markov theory.

The Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery (BIRS) is a collaborative Canada-US-Mexico venture that provides an environment for creative interaction as well as the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and methods within the Mathematical Sciences, with related disciplines and with industry. The research station is located at The Banff Centre in Alberta and is supported by Canada's Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), Alberta's Advanced Education and Technology, and Mexico's Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT).