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Foundations of Computational Mathematics 2017

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The conference on the Foundations of Computational Mathematics (FoCM 2017, http://www.ub.edu/focm2017/) took place in Barcelona between July 10th–19th, 2017.

It was organized by the Society for the Foundations of Computational Mathematics in partnership with the Local Organizing Committee with members from Universitat de  Barcelona (UB), Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), Universitat Pompeu  Fabra (UPF) and ICREA, and administrative and logistic support from the UB Institut de Matemàtiques (IMUB) and the Centre de Recerca Matemàtica (CRM). The conference also received the institutional support of the Barcelona Graduate School of Mathematics (BGSMath).

This conference was the ninth in a sequence that started with the Park City meeting in 1995, organized by Steve Smale and where the idea of the FoCM Society was born, and followed by the FoCM conferences in Rio de Janeiro (1997), Oxford (1999), Minneapolis (2002), Santander (2005), Hong Kong (2008), Budapest (2011), and Montevideo (2014). Each of these conferences had several hundred participants from all branches of computational mathematics.

The conference took a format tried and tested to a great effect in the former FoCM conferences: plenary invited lectures in the mornings, and theme-centered parallel workshops in the afternoons. It consisted of three periods of three days each. Each workshop extended over a period. It included two semi-plenary lectures, of interest to a more general audience, as well as (typically shorter) talks aimed at a more technical audience. The choice of these speakers was the responsibility of the workshop organizers, and all of these workshop talks were by invitation. There were also contributed poster presentations associated to the workshops.

Although some participants chose to attend just one or two periods, on past experience the greatest benefit resulted from attending the conference for its full nine days: the entire idea of FoCM is that we strive to break out of narrow boundaries of our specific research areas and open our minds to the broad range of exciting developments in computational mathematics.

FoCM conferences currently appear to be a unique meeting point of workers in computational mathematics and of theoreticians in mathematics and in computer science. While presenting plenary talks by foremost world authorities and maintaining the highest technical level in the workshops, the emphasis is on multidisciplinary interaction across subjects and disciplines, in an informal and friendly atmosphere, giving the possibility to meet colleagues from different subject-areas and identify the wide-ranging (and often surprising) common denominator of research.