Just like every year since about 2004 I have attended the Nikolauskonferenz in Aachen in December 2015.
Nikolaus is a relatively small meeting of mathematicians interested in group- or representation theory, and computational methods in these fields in particular. As such this meeting is a good venue to meet users of the GAP system, hear about their experiences and do some advertising work for HPC-GAP.
One particular highlight to be mentioned here was my conversation with Sergio Siccha, who just started his PhD in Aachen and wants to use HPC-GAP, and Jürgen Müller, one of the authors of the Orb GAP package. Sergio is going to attend our first joint GAP and SageMath days in January and we will work on a HPC version of the orbit-by-suborbit algorithm.
Thanks to Frank Lübeck, who has been organising this meeting for as long as I can remember, to all the speakers who gave interesting talks, and all attendees who made this meeting a memorable experience.
Last but not least, thanks to CoDiMa for making this visit possible for me!
In our discussions we found out that search in permutation groups is a topic that intersects our interests, and Rebecca suggested that we should apply for a grant from Deutsche Forschungsgesellschaft (DFG) to fund mutual visits over the course of a year to continue our collaboration.
Rebecca’s application has been successful and we will receive 6460 EUR in travel support for two visits by Rebecca Waldecker to St Andrews and two visits by Chris Jefferson and Markus Pfeiffer to Halle.
We are planning to attack the theory and practice of search in permutation groups such as group intersection, automorphisms of structures, canonical images and parallelisation.
With our different backgrounds in group theory and computation, we would also like to make the theory more accessible to programmers, and the practical aspects more accessible to mathematicians.
What makes this topic even more exciting and promising is Babai’s most recent publication on the complexity of the graph isomorphism problem.