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Request for feedback from the ICM Construction Committee


[This post is collectively authored by the ICM structure committee, whom I am currently chairing – T.]

The ICM construction committee is liable for the preparation of the Scientific Program of the Worldwide Congress of Mathematicians (ICM). It decides the construction of the Scientific Program, particularly,

  • the variety of plenary lectures,
  • the sections and their exact definition,
  • the goal variety of talks in every part,
  • different sort of lectures, and
  • the association of sections.

(The precise collection of audio system and the native group of the ICM are dealt with individually by the Program Committee and Organizing Comittee respectively.)

Our committee can even suggest extra radical adjustments to the format of the congress, though sure elements of the congress, such because the prize lectures and satellite tv for pc occasions, are exterior the jurisdiction of this committee. As an example, in 2019 we proposed the addition of two new classes of lectures, “particular sectional lectures” and “particular plenary lectures”, that are broad and experimental classes of lectures that don’t fall below the normal format of a mathematician presenting their current advances in a given part, however can as a substitute spotlight (for example) rising connections between two areas of arithmetic, or current a “massive image” speak on a “sizzling matter” from an professional with the suitable perspective. These new classes made their debut on the just lately concluded digital ICM, held on July 6-14, 2022.

Over the subsequent yr or so, our committee will conduct our deliberations on proposed adjustments to the construction of the congress for the subsequent ICM (to be held in-person in Philadelphia in 2026) and past. As a part of the preparation for these deliberations, we’re soliciting suggestions from the final arithmetic neighborhood (on this weblog and elsewhere) on the present state of the ICM, and any proposals to enhance that state for the following congresses; we had issued a comparable name on this weblog again in 2019. This time round, in fact, the scenario is difficult by the extraordinary and distinctive circumstances that led to the 2022 ICM being moved to a digital platform on quick discover, and so it’s tough for a lot of causes to carry the 2022 digital ICM as a mannequin for subsequent congresses. Alternatively, the scientific program had already been chosen by the 2022 ICM Program Committee previous to the invasion of Ukraine, and suggestions on the content material of that program will probably be of nice worth to our committee.

Among the many particular questions (in no specific order) for which we search feedback are the next:

  1. Are there strategies to alter the format of the ICM that may improve its worth to the mathematical neighborhood?
  2. Are there strategies to alter the format of the ICM that may encourage larger participation and curiosity in attending, significantly close to junior researchers and mathematicians from creating nations?
  3. The particular sectional and particular plenary lectures had been launched partly to extend the emphasis on the standard of exposition at ICM lectures. Has this the truth is resulted in a notable enchancment in exposition, and will any alternations be made to the particular lecture part of the ICM?
  4. Is the stability between plenary talks, sectional talks, particular plenary and sectional talks, and public talks at an optimum stage?  There may be solely a finite quantity of house within the calendar, so any improve within the quantity or size of one in all a lot of these talks will come on the expense of one other.
  5. The ICM is mostly perceived to be extra necessary to pure arithmetic than to utilized arithmetic.  In what methods can the ICM be made extra related and enticing to utilized mathematicians, or ought to one not attempt to take action?
  6. Are there structural obstacles that trigger sure areas or kinds of arithmetic (akin to utilized or interdisciplinary arithmetic) or sure teams of mathematicians to be under-represented on the ICM?  What, if something, might be finished to mitigate these obstacles?
  7. The just lately concluded digital ICM had a sui generis format, through which the core digital program was supplemented by various bodily “overlay” satellite tv for pc occasions. Are there any constructive options of that format which may probably be usefully tailored to such congresses? As an example, ought to there be any digital or hybrid elements on the subsequent ICM?

In fact, we don’t count on these complicated and tough inquiries to be resolved inside this weblog publish, and debating these and different points would seemingly be a serious part of our inner committee discussions.  However, we’d worth constructive feedback in direction of the above questions (or on different subjects throughout the scope of our committee) to assist inform these subsequent discussions.  We subsequently welcome and invite such commentary, both as responses to this weblog publish, or despatched privately to one of many members of our committee.  We might even be fascinated with having readers share their private experiences at previous congresses, and the way it compares with different main conferences of this kind.   (However in an effort to hold the dialogue targeted and constructive, we request that feedback right here chorus from discussing subjects which can be out of the scope of this committee, akin to suggesting particular potential audio system for the subsequent congress, which is a job as a substitute for the 2022 ICM Program Committee. Feedback which can be particular to the just lately concluded digital ICM might be made as a substitute at this weblog publish.)

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