UK Nonlinear News, November 2000


SIAM Pacific Rim Dynamical Systems 2000 Conference (Marriott Maui, Hawaii)

Rodney Weber

Nice place, shame about the construction work (but we were forewarned and it wasn't too intrusive upon the meeting, just a little irritating). On the first day, Tuesday 08/08/00, the only event was a pleasant evening reception where we were given our programs to digest after drinks and nibbles. By Wednesday morning it was possible to narrow down the options a little and after an early swim, back to back plenary talks, and a cash lunch, it was off to other rooms for parallel processing (I mean sessions). This action continued unabated for five days and finished on Sunday 13/08/00 with more back to back plenary talks, by which time all of the delegates had absorbed as much information as they could manage and had soaked up a little Hawaii sun.

On the technical side, it was clear that Lattice Dynamical Systems are receiving increasing attention. Many people are excited about the associated functional equations and how the numerical implementation (especially for anisotropic lattices) shows new phenomena such as the `tearing' of waves. This is part of the international interest in the mechanics of granular materials, a topic which continues to confound the theoreticians.

My personal preference was for the enchanting diversity of the biological and ecological talks, which took listeners from `pre-cradle to post-grave' (fertilisation, growth, necrosis and more) with biologists, mathematicians, physicists and physiologists.

There was also some fun stuff on space craft trajectories, including updates on the famous three body problem and extensions to four bodies (three at a time).

Perhaps the most significant observation one can make about much dynamical systems research is that the techniques are largely well developed and that a great deal of current activity (possibly the best parts) is in real applications. This is increasingly relying on interdisciplinary science.

SIAM conferences are run to a well tested formula (do delegates always have the same feeling of receiving little despite high registration costa?s) and this was an enjoyable meeting at a good location with some very interesting and exciting material presented. The holiday atmosphere was very relaxing and there were numerous accompanying families, although this translated into poor attendance at some sessions and very few questions being asked of the speakers by the audience.

Caveat Emptor: Quite a few of the sessions I attended did not attract large audiences (those absent missed out - I did not). This may lead to other delegates offering a different perspective on ds00. Note that there approximately 200 talks in upto six parallel sessions, so this ever diligent correspondent did not attend anywhere near all of the talks. For the complete program, visit http://www.siam.org/meetings/ds00/


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