Further details can be found here.

]]>We thank Peter Keevash for all he has done for the Centre, and wish David well in the job.

]]>**Time and Place: **

4pm, 16 January 2013, in Maths Room 203 at 4pm and is followed by a reception at 5pm in the Maths Foyer.

**Title:** Occam’s Razor in Action – information as link between statistics and probability theory

**Abstract:** Probability theory and statistics are normally considered as two distinct but related fields of mathematics. In this talk I will demonstrate how ideas from information theory may be used to glue all three fields together.

In the first part of the talk I will discuss some basic but important information theoretic concepts and results like codes, Kraft’s inequality, entropy, information divergence, and rate distortion theory. In the second half of the talk I will give a short overview of the newest results on how all the basic theorems of probability theory can be reformulated so that the results become stronger and so that the proofs become simpler and so that applications become more directly applicable in statistics.

The talk will include the presentation of a number of open problems.

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*Combinatorial Probability and Statistical Mechanics*

to be held on 21 – 23 February 2013 in Queen Mary, University of London.

The workshop is the first in the new series of meetings co-organised by the School of Mathematical Sciences at QMUL and the Mathematics Institute of the University of Warwick.

The aim of the workshop is to bring together researchers who study various aspects and applications of random combinatorial structures, in particular from the viewpoints of stochastic processes, asymptotic enumeration, analytic combinatorics and the analysis of algorithms.

The website for the workshop is here.

If you are coming to the workshop, it would be helpful if you email D.S.Stark@qmul.ac.uk, so that we have some idea of the number of attendees.

Please note that the Queen Mary Algorithms Day will be the day before the workshop; you may wish to attend both.

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Van Vu (Yale) will speak in the Pure Mathematics Colloquium at Queen Mary on **Monday, 22 October 2012**, at **4:00pm** in room M103 (Mathematical Sciences building). Please note the change of time! The title is *Random matrices: Law of the determinant*.

Abstract:

]]>We will discuss the obvious question raised in the title. The problem has been considered for quite a while, with partial results from Turan, Komlos, Dixon, Girko, Delannay-Le Caer, Dembo and many others.

We will give a brief survey and then focus on recent results of Tao, Nguyen, and the speaker which give answers for quite general setting. If time allows, we will also discuss a few open questions.

The first couple are already up, and others will appear soon. They are linked from the workshop programme page.

]]>- There will not be a 10-minute introduction; Terence Chan will have an extra 10 minutes.
- Søren Riis will start at 16:00; from 15:30 to 16:00 there will be an additional talk on
*Synchronization*by Peter Cameron.

However, Paterson and Zwick recently showed that in fact an overhang of order can be achieved, which is exponentially larger! As Mikkel said in his talk, the key idea is to realise that a wall is much more effectively counterbalanced than a bridge. This may sound obvious in retrospect, but sometimes a breakthrough just needs a simple idea in an unexpected context. So what is the true order of magnitude? It turns out that is the correct answer – this was proved by Paterson, Peres, Thorup, Winkler and Zwick.

Mikkel left us with a nice open problem, which would reduce the 3d problem to the 2d problem, but is also independently interesting. Is it possible to create a stable stack of frictionless homogeneous 3d blocks in which there are horizontal forces? For example, you might think that a circle of dominoes can lean against each other in a stable fashion, but apparently it will fall over (very slowly). Mikkel conjectures that no such stack exists. However, if this is true, the proof must use the “rectangular” nature of blocks, as such stacks do exist using triangles.

I’ll add this to the problem page, where anyone interested in thinking about it collaboratively can start a comment thread.

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