Participant Testimonials

May 03 - May 08, 2015

This was the third BIRS workshop I participated in, and it is surprising how effective and influential it has been again. Some of the talks were very inspiring, and I had many discussions with other participants, which directly gave new ideas for ongoing and future research projects.

Tom De Medts Prof. Dr.
Department of Mathematics, Ghent University

It was an excellent conference. Apart from the interesting and useful talks, I had an almost uninterrupted sequence of interactions with various participants. I'll try to list a few of the significant ones. 1. Barbara Baumeister, Michael Giudici and I had several long meetings to re-start a research project aiming to complete the classification of finite primitive groups containing a regular subgroup. 2. Nick Gill gave a wonderful lecture on puzzle groups. There are four people working on the current aspects of this problem: Nick and I were able to update each other on recent developments as he had been working with Neil Gillespie in Bristol while I was working with Jason Semeraro in Perth. 3. I made some progress with Martin Liebeck on a huge project to classify factorisations G=AB of almost simple groups G with intersection A\cap B cyclic or dihedral. 4. A team of researchers in Perth (including Michael Giudici and I) have been working on the classification of vertex-primitive, arc-transitive quintic graphs. A case where we needed outside advice was dealing with the finite exceptional Lie type groups E_8(q). We needed to know if/when these had maximal subgroups A_5 or S_5, and in these cases to know the number of conjugacy classes and whether two conjugates intersected in a group of index 5. David Craven is the world expert on this and as a punch-line to his lecture during the conference he announced the answer to our question. He will produce a draft of the argument needed for the proof, and we are in contact with him to decide whether he wishes to have this as part of his larger project - or to join as an author on the graphs paper.

Cheryl Praeger School of Mathematics and Statistics (M019), The University of Western Australia

The workshop was wonderful, I had several conversations with Pierre-Emmanuel Caprace which may lead to new results on Moufang sets. I also had useful conversations with Tom De-Medts. Finally I had several interesting interactions with Laci Pyber which may have a continuation. In general it was very interesting to listen to the various talks.

Yoav Segev Professor
Mathematics, Ben Gurion University

This workshop was a very useful opportunity to interact with fellow collaborators on my research project (Lyons, Stroth, Parker, Capdeboscq, Köhl, Shpectorov), as well as to listen to many interesting talks not directly related to my current research.

Ronald Mark Solomon Department of Mathematics, The Ohio State University

Last week was one of the most productive weeks scientifically speaking which I have ever had at a meeting. Let me summarize my activities: 1. Tim Burness and I were able to work through corrections on a very long manuscript which will soon appear as an AMS Memoir; 2. Tim Burness and I worked on a joint research project, which has some overlap with a project of Chris Parker, Kay Magaard and David Craven, who were also at the meeting and so we were all three able to discuss our different methods and where the project stands; 3. Martin Liebeck and Gary Seitz and I have an on-going collaboration and we met to discuss the state of the project and make plans for our next week of work in June; 4. Kay Magaard and I also have a long-term project which we intend to take up again this autumn and we briefly discussed this; and 5. Gunter Malle and Radha kessar and I will be running a semester programme at the Bernoulli Center in Lausanne in 2016 and we needed some time together for discussing lists of participants and organization. I am sure all of these projects advanced because of the time i spent in Banff. In addition, the quality of the talks was excellent and as one expects, I was updated on the current trends in my field. Many thanks.

Donna Testerman Mathematics, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne