Another postdoc position

Gordon, Michael, and I are currently advertising a 2.5 year postdoc position to work on the ARC Discovery Project “The synchronisation hierarchy of permutation groups” in the CMSC at The University of Western Australia. Applicants should have a PhD in mathematics and a background in permutation groups and/or finite geometry.

The deadline is the 28th of February, 2020.

Details of how to apply can be found at

Postdoc Position at UWA

I am currently advertising  an 18 month postdoc position to work on the ARC Discovery Project “Graph symmetry and simple groups” in the CMSC at The University of Western Australia. Applicants should have a background in permutation groups, simple groups or graph symmetry. The deadline is the 30th of January.

Details of how to apply can be found at

People interested in other postdoc positions in Perth should keep their eyes posted as there should be another advertisement appearing soon.

PhD scholarships

Applications are now open for scholarships for international PhD students at UWA to commence in the first half of 2019.  Myself and other members of the CMSC are interested in taking on new PhD students so if you are interested then please contact one of us about applying.

The deadline is the 31st of August 2018. Please see here for details on how to apply.

Please note that applications are ranked at our faculty level and in particular there are no scholarships specifically devoted to mathematics students.  In particular the process is highly competitive.


Fields Medal

There is lots of excitement at UWA this morning with the news overnight that Akshay Venkatesh was one of the winners of the 2018 Fields medal. He did his undergraduate here in the 90s. I watched the live feed of the opening ceremony to see it. There is a great article at the Quanta magazine about him and his work. Other articles are here, here and here, and a video here.

Postdoc position at UWA

I have just advertised a 9 month postdoc position here in Perth to work on the ARC grant entitled `Symmetries of finite digraphs’.  The deadline is the  28th of March.  More details are available here.


Irsee (Day 4 and 5)

Thursday began with my own talk, which I had spent hours over-preparing all week! I think it went well, and it was followed by talks in related topics by my student Jesse Lansdown and Ferdinand Ihringer. Overall, it was a very enjoyable list of talks, and in topics I’ve had a dabble in. Thursday evening saw the FinInG group spend a few hours becoming acquainted with Git and BitBucket.

Friday began with a marvellous talk by Kai-Uwe Schmidt … again, on a topic I was familiar with. I missed one of the sessions for another research session with Anurag Bishnoi and Ferdinand Ihringer, but the last session finished the conference off nicely with three nice talks by Gabor Korchámros, Daniele Bartoli, and Simeon Ball. We then had a conference dinner, comprising not only of food, but of impromptu piano performances by Giovanni Longobardi and Jan De Beule. Michel Lavrauw gave an interesting stat during his conference dinner speech: there were 73 attendees and 58 talks! So it was indeed a busy conference.

Irsee (Day 2 and 3)

I’ve been extremely busy at this conference, and so a summary of the past two days comes at once. On Tuesday, we had Dieter Jungnickel’s talk on Hamada’s Conjecture and related things. We then had “design-like” talks for most of the day. I did miss one of the sessions where I had some urgent work to do, but I very much enjoyed the talks that I did attend. In particular, Jim Davis’ talk was spectacular, on difference sets of groups of order 256. Tuesday evening was particularly special with Jan De Beule playing a mini-concert as bookends to an ICA medal presentation. Jan played a set of three Chopin numbers that I knew well, and finished with Beethoven’s Adagio Cantible (2nd movement). Yesterday (Wednesday), we had a short day, for the afternoon was free time. We had three talks: Joachim Rosenthal, Karen Meagher, and Leo Storme. All of these talks were interesting to me, hence why I’m so exhausted! After lunch, a bunch of us went for a long walk out into the local farmlands. On the way back from a small tea/wine/beer-house, it rained a bit, so I was feeling a little wet and wind-swept when we got back. In the evening, we (Michel Lavrauw, Jan De Beule, and I) had our FinInG-demo, which was a success, apart from some problems with the projector at the beginning. Many of the attendees came along, and I hope, we will have some new users of our finite geometry package soon.

Here is a photo from the walk:

Irsee (Day 1)

I am currently at the fifth Irsee conference on “Finite Geometry” which takes place in at the old monastery in the village of Irsee (Germany). The first day consisted mainly of talks on maximum distance rank codes, which is currently a hot topic in finite geometry. The plenary lecture on this topic, by Olga Polverino, was fantastic, and the contributed talks in the morning session continued the theme. One of the main themes was “John Sheekey” who could not attend, but was probably mentioned two-score times in the morning session. I even learnt of a new expression: the Sheekey connection. It has a ring to it! Some talks I expecially enjoyed were by Giuseppe Marino and Geertrui van de Voorde.

The afternoon session was on finite semifields, bent functions, and related objects. Then the late afternoon session was a bit more random, but I particularly enjoyed the talks by Sudhir Ghorpade and my close colleague Tomasz Popiel.

After a long of day of interesting talks and many many research meetings, I was exhausted. Four more days to go!


Long time since I (or any of us) last posted, but it would be good to get back into it again.

The winter months, especially June and July, are usually cold and rainy in Perth and this year is no exception.  So, like migratory birds heading for the sun, most of us head to the northern hemisphere for their summer conference season.

So I’m currently writing this from a student cafe at the University of Lisbon where a conference+workshop to celebrate Peter Cameron’s birthday is on its final day. But more of this particular conference later.

Continue reading “Conferences”

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