Participant Testimonials

May 12 - May 17, 2019

It was an amazing conference. I was able to make some insights into the research I am performing nowadays. It was amazing to share experiences, knowledge an ideas with people from many countries and different cultural backgrounds. I made new contacts with people that more or less share my research interest that I didn't know they existed. Also, it was a good oportunity to our research group to get known internationally.

Rafael Alcaraz Barrera Posdoctoral Fellow
Instituto de Física, Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí

The Symbolic Dynamics workshop at CMO-BIRS was the best get together I've been to in years. Events like this enhance the vitality of our entire field. It's exciting to know people are reading and talking about each other's work, asking interesting questions and solving each other's problems. The one word summary of the workshop: synchronized. Synchronization was a theme in many of the talks. I have a collaboration on this topic, and I was able to discuss it with my collaborator and other experts between the talks. The project has been revitalized and given exciting new directions to consider. A fantastic home for one of the nicest mathematical communities around.

John Antonioli Mathematics, University of Denver

The workshop gave a beautiful and wide overview of many recent developments in symbolic dynamics and related fields. It gave me the opportunity to discuss with several colleagues and begin new discussions in a pleasant environment. I even ended up betting a Japanese dinner on whether a given dynamical system has positive sofic entropy!

Sebastián Barbieri Postdoctoral Fellow
Mathematics, University of British Columbia

This workshop was one of the most well organized and interesting which I already participated. Wonderfull place and food. Very interesting talks and people available to discuss. I had conversations about topics in Symbolic Dynamics and Thermodynamic Formalism with many people. I asked questions for some of them, old questions which I was thinking about already a lot of time. I started a paper with one of the participants and got a lot of references from the talks and videos. I met people which I was reading their papers and got some feedback about my results. Very productive and pleasant week!

Rodrigo Bissacot Associate Professor
Applied Mathematics, University of São Paulo

It was an excellent workshop, with very high level participants and talks. As I am new to the symbolic dynamics community, it was a great opportunity for me to hear about the current trends, meet new people, and possibly establish new collaborations. Indeed, it was a very enjoyable and valuable experience!

Alonso Castillo-Ramirez Mathematics, Universidad de Guadalajara

This has been one of the best meetings that I have attended in my short research career. The speakers and the topics chosen were in line with my interests and the expositions provided brought me to the very forefront of ongoing research. In addition the scheduling was prudent in leaving time for stimulating discussions and conversations. The setting was to an extent informal yet very informative one. For me, the meeting was a healthy mix of the familiar and the unfamiliar. Besides the speakers in the conference, I gained immensely from the presence of a wonderful list of participants like Douglas Lind, Michael Schraudner, Ayse Sahin, Mike Boyle and Anthony Quas. Their questions, enthusiasm and insight benefitted me greatly and, I am certain, the other participants of the workshop. On a personal level, I was happy to receive feedback on my work and get to peek at the worlds of computation (of thermodynamic quantities), Rd and algebraic actions which I look forward to pursuing. The number of interesting open questions and directions lined up in my note book give an indication of the impact it will have on the future course of the subject.

Nishant Chandgotia Hebrew university of Jerusalem

It was an amazing workshop. Great environment to work and very interesting talks. By attending the talks, I got a couple of questions I would like to work on in the near future. I worked on ongoing projects with some colleagues and even started a possible new collaboration. Overall a great experience.

Sebastián Donoso Departamento de Ingeniería Matemática, Universidad de Chile

This meeting was extremely interesting and useful to me. Almost every talk was well planned, informative, and dealt with new ideas and results. In addition, the informal times at meals and breaks provided excellent opportunities to ask about what's "really" going on, and how to think about certain ideas, which can be revelatory. I was really grateful to be there, renewing old connections and meeting so many new and young researchers in the field. Looking back, three events stand out for me: (1) Tim Austin's talk on extending the thermodynamic formalism to free groups drew on the idea of a random past, which was completely new to me, and may have a serious impact on my own work. He told me about the right picture to keep in mind, which in just a few minutes gave me an insight that otherwise would have taken a lot of work to decode. He mentioned a paper he'd written with a postdoc about this, and when I inquired about where this postdoc is working, told me that she is at my own institution, in fact as it turns out just a few doors away from my office! She works in probability theory and I hadn't made the connection. (2) Ville Salo is a very bright postdoc in Finland, full of ideas, some of them a bit crazy, but always interesting. We had several wild discussions about cellular automata on groups that left my head spinning, but also stimulated some quite serious questions. (3) Two young researchers Sebastián Barbieri and Filipe García Ramos got into a long discussion with me about a particular example of an algebraic action of a free group. The analogous example for a free abelian group was enormously influential in dynamics, and started the whole subject of "algebraic dynamics". Here the question is whether its entropy is zero or positive. I thought zero, they thought positive. So we made a bet, with the loser(s) owing the winner(s) a Japanese dinner! A similar bet I made with Klaus Schmidt in the early 1990s, with the same stakes, on a entropy question (which I lost) resulted in the discovery of Mahler measure as entropy, and created in a small industry that is quite active even today. Perhaps the outcome of this bet will have an impact like this as well, but in any event I'm sure some very interesting mathematics will come out of settling this problem, not to mention a satisfying dinner!

Douglas Lind Professor Emeritus
Mathematics, University of Washington

This workshop gave me the opportunity to meet and discuss with people who are not directly in my field of research. This led to some interesting conversations which may potentially lead to new collaboration.

Yinon Spinka University of British Columbia

The organization of the workshop (both scientific and practical) was simply perfect. I have rarely been to a scientific meeting which was so pleasant and efficient. Having worked for most of my career in Europe means that I do not very often get a chance to meet and discuss with researchers from Americas and Asia. This workshop was a rare opportunity to meet people whom I knew only from their papers as well other people with closely related research topics whom I did not know before. I could also combine the trip for the workshop with visits to my colleagues in Mexico City and San Luis Potosi (all present in the workshop) hence progressing with earlier projects and starting new ones.

Siamak Taati Researcher
Bernoulli Institute, University of Groningen