International Workshop on Random Matrix Theory
From April 15-21, OIST’s Seaside House was abuzz with eigenvalues and Gaussian ensembles as the university hosted its first Spring Course on Random Matrix Theory for Complex Systems. The workshop drew 30 graduate students, postdocs, and professors from all over the world, as well as 9 speakers. Organized by Shinobu Hikami of the Mathematical and Theoretical Physics Unit, with help from Jonathan Miller of the Physics and Biology Unit, it was OIST’s first physics-focused workshop.
Random matrices are a mathematical tool that can accurately model complex systems with many uncertain variables. Random matrix theory (RMT) is now a popular and rapidly-growing field, according to University of Chicago physics professor Paul Wiegmann, who spoke at the workshop. But this was more interdisciplinary than most RMT workshops, he said, since it focused on biological and physical applications for the theory as well as its mathematical aspects.
The program for most days consisted of a physics-related lecture in the morning and a biology-related talk in the afternoon. Participants also exchanged ideas at a poster session and toured the OIST campus.
Prof. Hikami said the workshop had turned out even better than he expected. “We’ve seen very interesting talks by Haim Sompolinsky of the Hebrew University and Paul Wiegmann which are directly connected to work done by OIST units,” he said. “Attendees include very good students, some of whom will be joining OIST’s first graduate class in September.”