Other Past Events

PDEs of incompressible fluid flows, computer assisted proofs and neural networks

Event Overview

The aim of the conference is to bring together both experts and young scholars in three areas undergoing rapid progress: PDEs of fluid dynamics, computer assisted proofs and machine learning, to discuss the latest developments and facilitate discussion and collaboration.

Schedule Abstracts


  • Javi Serrano Gomez  – Brown University                    
  • Ching-Yao Lai – Stanford University  
  • Yongji Wang – Princeton University
  • Jiajie Chen – New York University
  • In-jee Jeong – Seoul National University
  • Sanchit Chaturvedi – New York University
  • Jia Shi – Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Joonhyun La – Korea Institute for Advanced Study
  • Tristan Leger – New York University
  • Raj Beekie – Duke University
  • Xinyu Zhao – McMaster University
  • Sifan Wang – University of Pennsylvania
  • Susanna Haziot – Brown University


  • Tristan Buckmaster
  • Javier Serrano Gomez
  • Alexandru Ionescu
  • Hao Jia
  • Ching-Yao Lai


Supported by NSF DMS-2245228 "FRG: Collaborative Research: Singularities in incompressible flows: computer assisted proofs and physics-informed neural networks”

Willard Miller

Willard Miller Jr. 

1937 – 2023

Willard Miller, Jr. was born September 17, 1937 in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  As a child he discovered a collection of math books in his family's attic, and his exploration of them ignited an intense interest in mathematics.  This led Willard to undergraduate work in mathematics and physics at the University of Chicago, where the physicists tried to steer him away from math, while the mathematicians did the reverse.  This led him to graduate school in Berkeley, where he thought of doing both. He took a course on methods of applied mathematics under Bernard Friedman.  When he turned out to be the best student on the first exam, Friedman called him into his office and wanted him to be his student, not realizing that Willard was already his advisee.   The main themes of Willard's research began at that time; the title of his Ph.D. thesis was "On a Class of Vector-Valued Functions Covariant under the Classical Groups with Applications to Physics". A year after finishing his doctorate in 1963, Willard secured a postdoc position at the Courant Institute.  He was then offered a job at Minnesota and arrived in 1965.  He was soon promoted to associate professor, in 1967, and then to full professor in 1972.  In 1973, Willard spent a transformative sabbatical year in Montreal, where he came in close contact with many of his closest research collaborators and friends.

Regarding Willard's research accomplishments:  After Wigner, and then Vilenkin pioneered the remarkable connections between Lie group representation theory, special functions, and separation of variables, Willard soon became the most prominent researcher in the subject, and a mentor and role model for many younger researchers.  He was a prolific author, publishing well over 200 research papers and three influential texts on symmetry and separation of variables, as well as a later book, coauthored with Steve Damelin, on signal processing.  The vast majority of his papers were coauthored with Ernie Kalnins, who was in the University of Waikato, New Zealand, and, at times, included a wide range of senior and younger researchers.  Ernie was a frequent visitor to Minnesota while Willard often reciprocated by visiting Ernie in New Zealand.  The fact that his research output showed no sign of abating during all his years of administrative service is astonishing.  Indeed, his later discoveries in the field of superintegrable systems, both classical and quantum, provided compelling new insight into the Askey-Wilson scheme of orthogonal polynomials, and his 2012 paper on the subject, coauthored with Ernie and his former student Sarah Post, was awarded the Journal of Physics A Best Paper Prize.  In 2010, the School of Mathematics and the IMA organized the Conference on Symmetry, Separation, Super-integrability and Special Functions (S^4) in his honor and to celebrate his retirement.  The list of organizers and speakers constituted a "Who's Who" of the field of symmetry analysis and special function theory, and included many close friends, collaborators, and admirers.  Even following his retirement, his research output showed no sign of slowing down, and he was often seen hard at work in his office, at least until covid hit, and his illness prevented him from coming in to the department.

In addition to his research prowess, Willard has an exemplary and almost unparalleled record of service to the School of Mathematics and the University of Minnesota.  He was a man who was apparently unable to say no when asked to serve!  While chairing the search committee, he was convinced to serve as department head, and continued in that role for seven years (1978-1986).  During this period, the National Science Foundation (NSF) solicited proposals for a new, national mathematics research institute.  Willard along with Hans Weinberger, and George Sell spearheaded a Minnesota proposal, emphasizing applied mathematics.  After a long period, the NSF began to inform rejected applicants of their fate, but no direct news came to Minnesota until at last the NSF scheduled a site visit.  The Minnesota proposal was deemed to be so compelling that NSF decided to fund two institutes starting in 1982: a pure Institute (MSRI) at Berkeley, and the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) at Minnesota.  After some arm-twisting, Hans Weinberger agreed to serve as director, with George as deputy director.  Thanks to Willard, George, and Hans' vision, its broad range of annual programs and workshops, and the number of visitors, both young and old, the IMA had an indelible impact on applied mathematics, in the broadest possible sense.  After Hans stepped down in 1987 and was replaced by Avner Friedman, Willard became the deputy director, serving until 1994.  Later, from 1997 to 2001, he served as the full director of the IMA until Doug Arnold took over.  While head, Willard also played a key role fostering Harvey Keynes' founding of the highly successful University of Minnesota Talented Youth Mathematics Project (UMTYMP), that continues to this day to offer accelerated classes in mathematics to talented junior high and high school students.  Between his stints at the IMA, Willard served as associate dean (1994-1997) and, for a brief period (July-November, 1995), acting dean of the Institute of Technology (now the College of Science and Engineering).  In 2008, he briefly resumed his role as Acting Deputy Director of the IMA.  In 2005, in recognition of his many years of service and his research prominence, Willard was appointed College of Science and Engineering Distinguished Professor.

Sadly, Willard died on October 29, 2023.  He is survived by his wife Jane, son Stephen, daughter Andrea, and granddaughter Kalinda. His far-reaching impact on the School of Mathematics, the University of Minnesota, and the broader mathematical community continues unabated.

Willard Miller's archived website

April 9, 2024 Program 

Willard Miller and Separation of Variables -  the story of an exceptional research success  

Niky Kamran, McGill University 
2:30pm - 3:15pm  | 16 Vincent Hall 

Abstract: “I will describe some of Willard Miller’s outstanding and deeply influential contributions to the separation of variables theory for the Hamilton-Jacobi, Helmholtz and Dirac equations.”  

Tea in Common Room  

3:15pm | 120 Vincent Hall  

Remembering Willard Miller:  Beyond separation of variables, superintegrability  

Alexander V. Turbiner, Instituto de Ciencias Nucleares, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México 
3:45pm – 4:30pm | 16 Vincent Hall 

Abstract: “ I will focus on the heuristic value of Willard Miller’s numerous contributions to separation of variables and superintegrability, including classical and quantum n body problems.”  

Watch a recording of Kamran and Turbiner's talks here.

Memorial Program  

5:00pm – 7:00pm | Math Library, Vincent Hall 

Professor Peter Olver will share remarks about Willard and his career, followed by memories and stories from family and colleagues. Light refreshments will be available.

Watch a recording of the memorial program here.

View photos from the event here

84th William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition

This year, the 84th William Lowell Putnam competition will be held on Saturday, December 2, 2023 in Vincent Hall Room 16 on the East Bank Campus  This is a test of mathematical creativity in problem solving, and is directed to students of science and engineering, as well as mathematics.

The exam consists of two three-hour sessions (9am - noon, and 2pm - 5pm), punctuated by a two-hour lunch break. While taking the exam, each participant works independently, and participation also includes a pledge not to post or discuss the exam questions online or otherwise before 7 p.m. (“8 p.m. EST”, which is the end of the exam on the West Coast) that day.

The questions posed in previous editions are posted (together with solutions) on the examination website, and the “Putnam Exam Archive” managed by Kiran Kedlaya (www.kskedlaya.org/putnam-archive/) displays many more. 

You are eligible to compete if you are an undergraduate student currently studying here (even as a visiting student), do not already hold a Bachelor's degree (or its equivalent or superior), and have not already participated in four of the previous competitions.

Practice sessions will be held every Wednesday afternoon until the date of the exam, starting on October 11 from 2:30 - 4:00 in Vincent Hall 215. 

To register for the exam and/or RSVP for the practice sessions please fill out this Google Form.

New Trends in Kinetic and Optimal Transport

Kinetic theory offers an effective approach to reduce the complexity of particle systems by evolving probability density functions instead of tracking individual particles. This reduction in dimensionality significantly simplifies the problem, enabling efficient analysis and computation. Optimal transport, on the other hand, provides a natural geometric framework for understanding gradient flows, diffusive partial differential equations, and diffusion processes.

The connection between these fields dates back to McKean's work in the 1960s, where he establishes an explicit convergence rate for Kac's caricature, a one-dimensional toy model for the Boltzmann equation. Moreover, optimal transport has played a crucial role in establishing the rigorous theory of mean field limits, bridging the gap between particle systems and mean field kinetic equations. Furthermore, it has emerged as a vital numerical analysis tool for studying particle methods. The remarkable contributions of Cédric Villani in both fields has earned him the Fields Medal in 2010. Recent advancements have deepened the connection between the two fields, opening up exciting new research directions. These include the exploration of sampling techniques, solving inverse problems, quantifying uncertainty, and building mathematical foundations for deep learning. 

This workshop aims to foster collaboration and facilitate fruitful discussions among researchers from both backgrounds, with a focus on exploring the interdisciplinary nature of these subjects. 

Diving into Math with Emmy Noether

Emmy Noether (1882-1935) was one of the most influential mathematicians of the last century. Her works and teachings left a lasting mark on modern algebra, opening new avenues for a new structural perspective in mathematics. Noether was also one of the first women to gain the right to teach at a German university. She acquired that certification (Habilitation) on June 4, 1919, after submitting a thesis in which she solved one of the central problems in Einstein’s general theory of relativity. Her two celebrated theorems relating symmetries of variational problems and conservation laws of the field equations form the cornerstone of modern physical theories and beyond.

To celebrate the centenary of this event and the career of a unique personality in the history of mathematics, the ensemble Portrait Theater Vienna has produced a biographical play, Diving into Math with Emmy Noether. The production is directed by Sandra Schüddekopf and stars Anita Zieher as Emmy. The play is based on historical documents and events, and was written in cooperation with the historians Mechthild Koreuber and David E. Rowe. Further information can be found on the play’s website.

The University of Minnesota is pleased to announce that an English-language version of the play will be performed on Sep 26, 2023 at 7 p.m. in Coffman Memorial Union Theater. Associated events are being planned to showcase the mathematical, scientific, and philosophical impact of Emmy Noether’s legacy.

Symposium on Fronts, Patterns, and Self-Organization

The Symposium on Fronts, Patterns, and Self-Organization will feature three 40-minute invited presentations on complex systems in the sciences and engineering, where fronts and patterns play an important role in the self-organized properties of the system. The talks will emphasize open questions and leave ample room for discussion. The symposium will also include several shorter contributed presentations. 

Register for the Event

Fall 2021 Orientation

The School of Mathematics Orientation is mandatory for all incoming Mathematics graduate students. During our orientation you will find out about curriculum requirements, preliminary exams, and opportunities in research, teaching, and service.  You will also participate in practice teaching sessions, and your responsibilities as a graduate assistant will be explained. Please make an appointment with your faculty advisor and the director of graduate studies (mcgehee@umn.edu) to make registration plans.

Special Events and Seminars

 Titles and abstracts of the talks will be made available close to each talk at the seminar website https://sites.google.com/view/hagmtpdeseminar. To subscribe to the weekly seminar mailing list, please contact Bruno Poggi Cevallos, at poggi008@umn.edu. The seminar is organized by Bruno Poggi Cevallos (University of Minnesota), Ryan Matzke (University of Minnesota), and José Luis Luna García (University of Missouri).

Multiscale Theory and Computation

An International Conference Honoring Mitchell Luskin on the Occasion of his 65th Birthday

Multiscale modeling, theory, and computation have made fundamental contributions to many areas of physical, chemical, and biological sciences. Recent theoretical and experimental advances present new challenges for multiscale theory and computation. This conference will seek to stimulate new approaches and collaborations by bringing together both senior and junior researchers with expertise spanning molecular to continuum scales and stochastic to deterministic methods.

Event Page