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Disordered Systems: Spin Glasses

(Web site soon online)

June 8 - 13, 2009
Organizers: G. Ben Arous (Courant Institute), E. Bolthausen (Zürich), M. Mézard (Paris-Sud), D. Stein (New York)

The modelling and mathematical analysis of disordered spin systems has proven to be among the most fascinating fields of statistical mechanics over the last 25 years. A fundamental difficulty in these models is the extremely complicated many-valley structure of the energy landscape. Even the seemingly simple mean-field model, introduced by Sherrington and Kirkpatrick, turned out to have an amazingly rich mathematical structure. Only recently, there has been a growing mathematical understanding of mean-field spin glasses, but many questions --- some of which transcend the original physical questions --- remain unsolved.

This workshop will bring together leading experts in the mathematical and physical analysis of spin glasses and disordered systems.  It will focus on new developments concerning the statics and dynamics of both mean-field and short-range spin glasses, as well as related problems such as combinatorial optimization.  A variety of different groups with varying perspectives will come together to share and compare their results, and to present them to a wider audience, in particular young researchers. The timing for such an event is optimal considering both the progress of the past few years and the numerous challenges that ensure the subject's remaining a promising field for the future.