CMSA E-Newsletter 4

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CMSA E-Newsletter Number 4 (October 2000)


Many thanks to the members who have sent information for this newsletter.

CLOSING DATE for Issue 5: 31 January 2001. Email with all your news and information.




   * AIMS of the newsletter

AIMS of the newsletter:

   * to promote combinatorics within Australasia
   * to provide a forum for sharing combinatorial and related information
   * to keep CMSA Members informed and in touch with combinatorial and related matters


After making a great contribution to the CMSA over a period of years, Helen Gustafson and Ed Dawson are planning on retiring from the date of the AGM at the Perth ACCMCC in July next year. We are therefore seeking people who might be interested in being nominated for these positions. Because the CMSA is incorporated in Queensland, it appears necessary for the secretary to come from that State.

These positions involve a non-trivial amount of work. We are advertising them well in advance so that potential nominees will have time to think carefully about the positions well before the Perth AGM.

Anyone interested in the posts might like to get in touch with Helen at or Ed at regarding the magnitude and scope of the jobs. If not already on Council, potential secretaries and treasurers might like to be nominated for Council to gain some experience of the way that it works before taking on an executive role.

Derek Holton CMSA President


The 44th Annual Meeting of the Australian Mathematical Society, held at the University of Queensland in early July 2000, included a Special Session on Combinatorics. Besides a plenary talk from Peter CAMERON entitled The random graph revisited, (see from Peter's home page, for slides), there were 13 shorter talks presented. The speakers were

Lynn Batten         Simon Blackburn
Andrew Blinco       N.J. Cavenagh
Michelle Davidson   Roger Eggleton
Joanne Fuller       Yvonne Hitchcock
Kathy Horadam       Andrei Kelarev
Wei-Hung Liu        E.S. Mahmoodian
Ian Roberts

The Eleventh Australasian Workshop on Combinatorial Algorithms was held from 29th July to 1st August at the Pokolbin Village Resort in the Hunter Valley and organised by the University of Newcastle's Department of Computer Science and the School of Management.

The resort is in the middle of Pokolbin's vineyards, within walking distance of several wineries and driving distance of many more. The accommodation was excellent with helpful staff who remained calm even when it was found, two hours before commencement, that the overhead projector wasn't working. Four computer scientists, each giving contradictory advice, were able to get it going again in time for the opening address by Professor Janet Aisbett, Head of the School of IT.

AWOCA is held annually and is intended to be a small gathering of combinatorial algorithmic specialists sharing their ideas and problems. This year there were 38 delegates from 11 countries.

Invited speakers were Martin Baca (Slovakia), Brendan McKay (ANU), Frank Ruskey (Canada), Jennifer Seberry (Wollongong) and Nick Wormald (Melbourne).

Although many types of algorithm were considered there were also many talks on graph labelling, particularly magic and antimagic labellings. A special feature was the Sunday Symmetry Day with talks on graph drawing and associated topics.

There was also a problem session organised by Sue Whitesides. Sue is writing up the problems and they will soon appear on the workshop's web site .

The main workshop dinner was held at the nearby Rothbury Estate in a spectacular setting. We were placed along a long table in a barn-like building with two levels of giant barrels lining each side. Impromptu entertainment was provided by a capella performance by Jennie Seberry and Elias Dahlhaus singing, respectively, in English and German.

The Twelfth AWOCA will be held in July 2001 at ITB Bandung, Indonesia.


The 25th ACCMCC will be held in Christchurch, New Zealand, from 4 - 8 DECEMBER 2000. See the web page for details.

NOTE: Last date for early registration (without financial penalty): FRIDAY 13 OCTOBER 2000.

Last date for receipt of Abstracts: FRIDAY 10 NOVEMBER 2000.

Invited Speakers include

   * Joan Hutchinson, Macalester College
   * Chris Rodger, Auburn University
   * Ralph Stanton, University of Manitoba
   * Robin Thomas (to be confirmed), Georgia Institute of Technology
   * Geoff Whittle, Victoria University of Wellington
   * Nick Wormald, University of Melbourne

For more details please see the web page (URL above), or contact the Conference Organisers: Charles Semple at Mike Steel at

Algebraic and Topological Methods In Graph Theory ATMGT2000, December 11-15, 2000 Department of Mathematics, University of Auckland, New Zealand See or email In memory of Dr Margaret Morton (1944-2000) This is a conference devoted to all aspects of Graph Theory with a particular emphasis on Algebraic and Topological methods. It follows the 25th Australasian Conference on Combinatorial Mathematics & Combinatorial Computing at the University of Canterbury (December 4-8th).


   * Bruce Richter, University of Waterloo, Canada
   * Joan Hutchinson, Macalester College, St Paul, Minnesota
   * Dragan Marusic, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
   * Tomaz Pisanski, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
   * Cheryl Praeger, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
   * Jozef Siran, Slovak Technical University, Bratislava, Slovakia
   * Robin Thomas, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia
   * Tom Tucker, Colgate University, Hamilton, New York
   * Mark Watkins, Syracuse University, New York

PARTICIPATION Registration fee: NZ$200 (NZ$100 for students) if paid before October 21. October 21 onwards: NZ$240 (Students NZ$120).

Full details are available from the conference web site: Any enquiries can be directed to the ATMGT2000 Secretary,, or fax: 64-9-3737457. Titles and Abstracts for contributed talks are due by NOVEMBER 15.

Emerging Applications of Combinatorial Designs Sunday, November 5, 2000 through Friday, November 10, 2000

Organizing Committee: Esther Lamken (chair), Charlie Colbourn, Jeff Dinitz

This workshop will emphasize constructions and computational methods for combinatorial designs and the growing number of new and useful applications of designs in biology/biotechnology, computer science, information theory, and numerical finance. All of these applications share a common feature; they require the construction of highly structured combinatorial designs. In recent years a great deal of work has been done on developing new constructions for designs and a powerful theory of combinatorial constructions is emerging. So these new applications come at a time when the power of combinatorial constructions combined with computational methods is beginning to be fully realized. The problems appearing in these applications are providing us with new and challenging existence questions as well as surprising applications of familiar and long studied combinatorial designs. The purpose of this workshop is to bring together experts in the construction and analysis of designs and researchers from industry and other departments who have come up with problems in design theory.

The workshop will feature keynote talks on applications of designs in biology/biotechnology, computer science, information theory, and numerical finance as well as talks in the areas of design theory that come up frequently in applications including computational methods, combinatorial constructions, and coverings and packings.

For more information or to register for this workshop see: Communications about this workshop should be sent either by email to or by regular mail to: Emerging Applications of Combinatorial Designs Mathematical Sciences Research Institute 1000 Centennial Drive, Berkeley, CA 94720-5070, U.S.A.

Brazilian Symposium on Graphs, Algorithms and Combinatorics GRACO 2001 will be held from March 17-19, 2001 in Fortaleza, Ceara State, Brazil. See or the previous CMSA E-Newsletter 3 for details.

GRACO 2001 is open to faculty members, researchers, specialists and graduate students from around the world, and will take place in conjunction with the Brazilian Summer School on Combinatorics and Algorithms (see

Submissions: Authors are invited to submit an extended abstract not exceeding 4 pages, including figures and bibliography, and using 11pt or larger font, before October 25, 2000. This deadline is firm. A detailed description of the electronic submission process will be available soon at

Notification: Authors will be sent notification of acceptance or rejection by e-mail before December 16, 2000. A final version of the extended abstract is required by January 13, 2001. Accepted papers are supposed to be presented at the symposium.

Publication: Selected full papers from the symposium will appear as a special issue of a journal to be announced shortly. The submission of the full texts for the special issue is encouraged, but not compulsory. The deadline for submission is April 21, 2001.

For the Program Committee please see . Organizing Committee: Manoel Campelo Neto, Fortaleza (Co-Chair); Ricardo Correa, Fortaleza (Chair); Fernando Gomes, UFC, Fortaleza (Co-Chair).

Important dates: Submissions: October 25, 2000 Notification: December 16, 2000 Final version due: January 13, 2001 Journal submission: April 21, 2001

18th British Combinatorial Conference This conference will take place at the University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom from Sunday 1 to Friday 6 July, 2001. You are warmly welcome to participate. For all information and registration, see

James Hirschfeld Richard Lewis (Organisers)

The 26th ACCMCC The 26th Australian Conference on Combinatorial Mathematics and Combinatorial Computing will be held at Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Australia from JULY 9 - 13, 2001. The Conference aims to bring together researchers in all areas of combinatorial mathematics and combinatorial computing from Australia, New Zealand and overseas to exchange ideas and information on their work. The 26th ACCMCC will feature a special session on Optimization. The following invited speakers are confirmed :

   * Richard Anstee    UBC
   * Curt Lindner    Auburn
   * John Moon    Alberta
   * Tank Aldred    Otago
   * Elizabeth Billington   UQ
   * Cheryl Praeger    UWA

Additional speakers will be added to this list. Detailed information on the conference including a call for papers will be circulated soon. For those not familiar with Western Australia, Perth is a modern city, located on the banks of the picturesque Swan River, with a population of around 1.4 million. Although July is winter, the weather can be very nice. Perth is ideally located as Australia's gateway to Asia and Europe and is in fact the closest Australian State Capital city to those countries.

Professor Louis Caccetta Department of Mathematics and Statistics School of Applied Science Curtin University of Technology email : phone : (08) 9266 7672 fax : (08) 9266 7672

APPLICATIONS OF DISCRETE MATHEMATICS At the 45th Annual Meeting of the Australian Mathematical Society, to be held at the Australian National University, Canberra, Saturday 22 September to Wednesday 26 September 2001, inclusive, a special session entitled Applications of Discrete Mathematics is being organized by Lynn Batten (Deakin University) and Ian Roberts (Northern Territory University). The session will accommodate about twenty speakers over the four and a half day period, including presentations by students. The focus of the session will be on all applications of discrete mathematics.

Contact Ian Roberts at or Lynn Batten at for details on the special session. More information about the meeting will soon be available on the Australian Mathematical Society website; see or else Financial support is available for students presenting a paper who are members of the Australian Mathematical Society.

AAECC-14, the 14th INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON APPLIED ALGEBRA, ALGEBRAIC ALGORITHMS AND ERROR-CORRECTING CODES will be held for the first time in Australia: from November 26-30, 2001, in Melbourne at RMIT.

A very useful website giving upcoming conferences in Coding, Cryptography and Effective Algebra AND their deadlines is . Thanks to Graham Norton for pointing this out; he says "Should be useful for some CMSA members. Amazing how many crypto conferences there are in Asia."



With much sadness we have to report the death of our friend and colleague, Margaret Morton, aged only 56. As some of you will know already, Margaret discovered late last year while on leave in the US that she had stomach cancer. Margaret underwent a course of chemotherapy before returning to Auckland in April, but the cancer was widespread by that stage, and her health deteriorated quite quickly. She was admitted to a hospice mid-August, and with her children (Dave, Robyn and Andy) and her brother (Don James) present, she died peacefully on 31st August.

Margaret was an amazing person. After years of raising a family and then moving back home to New Zealand from the US in the mid-1980s, she set out to establish an academic career at the University of Auckland while in her 40s. This was no mean feat! In addition to teaching and more general service, Margaret wanted to fully engage in research, in both pure mathematics and mathematics education. The fact that she succeeded in all these areas is a tribute to Margaret's tenacity and inner strength, as well as her natural ability.

Following an early publication in 1976, Margaret returned to research in the late 1980s and went on to publish 8 papers in graph theory between 1990 and 1999, six of these in the last five years, and many more in maths education. Initially she worked with Marston Conder and Cheryl Praeger, but also she did some great work on her own, established a joint programme with Neal Brand in Texas, and combined with Paul Bonnington to win a Marsden Fund grant in 1998.

Although Margaret was always modest of her abilities and the results of her research, what she achieved was phenomenal. Also, at Auckland she made us all sit up and re-think what we do in the Department. She helped us learn to see things from many perspectives (not just our own), and was a wonderful advocate for students and for younger staff. She did a fantastic job as Teaching Coordinator, helping introduce much better feedback mechanisms and well thought out processes for maintaining and improving our teaching resources.

She was also a champion for new appointments, and especially the need for mentoring of new and younger staff.

Margaret was devoted to her family, and had a wide range of personal interests, especially outdoor activities such as tennis, walking, kayaking and golf. She particularly loved the ocean.

We have decided to dedicate our conference in Auckland in mid-December (on Algebraic and Topological Methods in Graph Theory) to Margaret, and we are planning a half-day special session in her honour. Further details about the conference can be found at .

Paul Bonnington Marston Conder University of Auckland

NICHOLAS and Jillian HAMILTON are now the proud parents of a 3.9 kg baby boy, called Edan Jack Hamilton. Nick says Edan is a celtic name which means "little fiery one". Congratulations to both Jillian and Nick; the sleepless nights will be worth it! Nick says: "At about 11 pm on Monday the 25th of September (that makes him a libran) Jillian popped the sprog. Both are doing really well. He weighed 8 pounds 9 ounces (3.9 Kg) so is quite a big boy! He's a handsome devil as well. The labour took about 6 hours, and Jillian was brilliant. I thought they were supposed to swear at the husband. The only time she swore was when she said "Where's that **** anesthetist?". The whole birth was truly amazing. Seeing the head pop out was unbelievable." He also has pictures on the web; see Jillian, Nick and Edan will return from Brisbane to Gent around 8 October.

Further CONGRATULATIONS to NICHOLAS HAMILTON: The Institute of Combinatorics and its Applications awarded Nicholas a Kirkman Medal in 1999; this was presented to him at the Isle of Thorns Conference (U.K.), which was held from 16-21 July 2000.

The Australian Mathematical Society Medal for 2000 was shared by two people, one of whom is CHRISTINE O'KEEFE. This medal is the Australian Mathematical Society's most prestigious award; it is awarded to a member of the Society, under 40 years of age on 1 Jan 2000, for distinguished research in the Mathematical Sciences. This was presented at the 44th Annual Meeting of the AustMS, held at the University of Queensland in July 2000. Congratulations to Christine!

CHRISTINE O'KEEFE joined the Business Intelligence group in CSIRO Mathematical and Information Sciences in April 2000, taking leave without pay from her Queen Elizabeth II Fellowship at the University of Adelaide. The position at CSIRO was originally for six months, but on 1 September 2000 Christine accepted an indefinite appointment. Christine writes "I will certainly miss the Australian and international combinatorics and geometry communities and activities ... especially the many friends I have made all over the world. I would like to thank everyone for their friendship, help and support throughout my career (so far!), and I trust that we'll stay in touch in the future. However I am enjoying the new challenges presented by my position at CSIRO, including whole new fields of mathematics."

Christine also included information about vacation scholarships at CSIRO, although the official closing date for these has just passed. Nevertheless, here is the information she sent:

I'd like to encourage people to encourage their good students to apply for vacation scholarships at CSIRO. Students are treated very well and should gain a lot from the experience. Check and follow the links under Undergraduate Vacation Scholarship Program.

The scholarships are intended to provide students with the opportunity to work on a real world problem and to develop future links with the Division. Undertaking a CMIS project has influenced previous scholarship holders in their choice of further study and future career. Many have gone on to undertake PhDs in the Division and to be employed in senior positions in CSIRO, Universities and industry.

The scholarships are open to students who have completed at least three years of undergraduate study and should have maintained a credit average or better. The scholarship rate is $525 per week, placements are from late November to February for a period of 8 - 12 weeks.

There are some really interesting projects including: Artificial Intelligence in e-Business Internet Marketplaces Business Intelligence Business and Financial Engineering and many others.

In some email from CURT LINDNER in Auburn:

Subject: How to be an administrator

Lesson 1. Pair a word from the left list with a word from the right list. Select the words at random. When you have, say, five distinct pairs, write a one-page memorandum using these pairs once each. Repeat using more and more pairs. The more pairs you use, the longer your memo can be. To get an A+, you need to use all 196 possible pairs in a single memo.

    achieving       vision
    creating        gap
    strategic       initiatives
    tactical        actions
    define          projects
    justify         survey          
    implementation  strategy
    phase           completion
    fund            objective
    manage          mission
    successful      goals
    position        phases
    support         expertise
    information     technology

Lesson 2. Choose at random two words from the left list and put either and or or between them. Do the same from the right list to form a pair. Repeat Lesson 1 with pairs formed in this way.

Lesson 3. Put Boolean connectives between three---or even more, for a real fun time---words from each list and proceed as before. The least comprehensive memo resulting in this manner will earn the author a doctoral degree in administration.

OK; I know this has been done before. However, the words in the above lists all appear in a recent IT memo from the president.


The Engineering, Physical Sciences and Architecture Faculty, EPSA, at the University of Queensland, has a Dean's Commendation List for Outstanding PhD theses (generally the top 10%). These have recently been decided for students obtaining their PhD in 1999. Four of these were in combinatorics [supervisors given in brackets]:

   * Phil HAWKES [D. Donovan/L. O'Connor];
   * Barbara MAENHAUT [A. Street/M. Sharry];
   * Sarah ZAHRAI [S. Williams/B. Jones];
   * Marks NESTER [A. Street/K. Matthews].

Congratulations to these four people for their highly successful PhD theses!


After Volume 23 of the Australasian Journal of Combinatorics, which appears in March 2001, Anne Street will be stepping down as Editor-in-Chief, and Neil Williams as Managing Editor, of the AJC. Both Anne and Neil have done a fantastic job with the AJC: Anne since its inception in March 1990, and Neil since September 1992. The CMSA Council has decided (see Minutes of Council Meetings available from the CMSA home page, ) that from Volume 24, September 2001, Elizabeth Billington will be Editor-in-Chief and Paul Bonnington will be Managing Editor.

From January 2001, submissions to the AJC may be sent to either of the addresses below. Paul will mainly deal with papers in graph theory, and Elizabeth with other areas of combinatorics. However, a paper may be submitted to either address below, or indeed (as in the past) to any member of the Editorial Board, or emailed to .

Dr C.P. Bonnington, Australasian Journal of Combinatorics, Department of Mathematics, The University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand.

Dr E.J. Billington, Australasian Journal of Combinatorics, Department of Mathematics, The University of Queensland, Qld 4072 Australia

REMINDER: Deadline for next issue 31 January 2001. Elizabeth Billington, Dept Maths, UQ, Qld 4072.