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Search and Rendezvous
The London School of Economics had organized a yearly workshop on search and rendezvous for over a decade, with a small mathematical audience that is mainly based in the UK. This is the first workshop that has been organized abroad, in the Lorentz Center, for a larger and much more international audience. The workshop had a total number of 45 participants from Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, UK, USA, with a background in biology, computer science, mathematics, operations research, and even forensic science. The Dutch national police (nationale recherche) illustrated their search strategy by presenting details of an actual case of a detainee that had dug her way out of Breda prison with a spoon.
The main subjects of the conference were rendezvous between multiple agents on networks, search for mobile and immobile hiders in various geometries, and predator-prey dynamics in biology. These different topics lead to research problems that are surprisingly similar, and it is remarkable that computer scientists can come up with suggestions to study the effect of climate change on fish movements, or that spider movements turn out to be similar to the optimal path of a searcher in an ambush game. Similar, but not the same, and that is why many of the participants found new ideas to proceed on their previous research.
Since most of the participants had never met before, there have been many fruitful exchanges of ideas in the conference room, but it will take some time before such preliminary interactions lead to actual joint research. To establish this, there will be sequels to this workshop in 2013 in the USA and in 2014 in the UK. The University of Maryland in College Park will organize the next workshop on Search and Rendezvous in the final week of May 2013.
Alpern (London, United Kingdom)