Midwest Probability Colloquium 2017-2019

Project: Research project

Project Details


Overview: The Midwest Probability Colloquium was an annual conference initiated by a group of probabilists at Northwestern University in 1979. It has become one of the most successful annual conferences in probability theory in this country. The success of the conference series can be attributed to its central location (Evanston, 15 miles north of Chicago) and the propitious time Thursday to Saturday of the second week of October), when the annual hiring season just started in earnest. For the current year 2017, the 39th Midwest Probability Colloquium will be held at Northwestern University on October 12-14, 2017. Since its inception the National Science Foundation has been the major source of funding for the MPC conference series. Northwestern University has provided the venue and staff support free of charge and has also monetary support for expenses not covered by the NSF. Since five years ago, University of Chicago has also been a source of funding for such incidental expenses. In this proposal we will request that the National Science Foundation continue to support the MPC for the next three year period (2017- 2019) at the same level as in the past adjusted for inflation. Throughout the history of the Midwest Probability Colloquium for several times we have implemented some major changes in our scientific program in response to the changing academic and political environment. Amidst these changes, our guiding principles in selecting speakers and fund distribution remain the same, namely, providing our audience (mostly graduate students and young researchers) with high quality tutorial and research lectures and at the same time encouraging the participation (both among speakers and audience) of women and other social groups under represented in our community. Intellectual Merit: Probability theory is arguably the most useful branch of pure mathematics. Its theoretical value and practical utility have been proved by its history, its development in the recent past, and its current vitality as an active area of research. At the same time we have to admit that, although researchers in probability theory are bound by their basic tools and common methodology, their results are more and more specialized. For the healthy future development of our science it is imperative that researchers young and old have opportunities at regular time intervals to exchange their new ideas and to explain to each other their latest contributions. For the last 38 years, the Midwest Probability Colloquium has been faithfully serving the probability community in this capacity. Broader Impacts: For a probability conference series, broader impact can be twofold justified. First, by its very nature, the subject matter of our conference series interacts well with other pure and applied sciences. The basic part of its theory (Markov chains and Brownian motion are the quick examples coming to mind) has broad applicability to widely diverse areas within and as well as without mathematics such as econometrics, theoretical finance, statistics. At the same time its knowledge becomes increasingly desirable in social science research. Second, our conference series plays an important role in fostering a conducive and friendly research environment for graduate students and young probabilitists during the crucial stage at their intellectual development. It also provides an easily accessible platform for interaction among different generations of researchers in our field and for communication among different areas of mathematics and those outside mathematics that
Effective start/end date8/1/177/31/22


  • National Science Foundation (DMS-1744209)


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