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Department of Mathematics and Statistics professor Dr. Steven Rayan (PhD) speaks to attendees on the first day of the CMS Summer Meeting. (Photo: CMS Staff)

‘The cutting edge in mathematics’: USask hosts CMS Summer Meeting

The Canadian Mathematical Society Summer Meeting is a major knowledge-sharing event for mathematicians


Three hundred mathematicians converged at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) earlier this month for one of the Canadian mathematical community’s most important events of the year.

From May 31–June 3, USask hosted the Canadian Mathematical Society (CMS) Summer Meeting. It was the first time the event has been held in Saskatoon since 2001.

“People came here wanting to be exposed to the cutting edge in mathematics and its interdisciplinary interactions with other sciences, and I think that is what we delivered to them,” said Dr. Steven Rayan (PhD), a professor in the USask Department of Mathematics and Statistics and the lead scientific director of the meeting.

Rayan, along with co-scientific directors Dr. Jacek Szmigielski (PhD) of USask and Dr. Elana Kalashnikov (PhD) of the University of Waterloo, had been leading the planning of the event since 2020. The annual summer meeting is a major gathering and knowledge-sharing occasion for mathematicians at all career stages.

“It is significant for the visibility it brings to (USask), because it is a way to show the rest of the world that we are on the mathematical map,” said Szmigielski. “From that point of view, this was in my opinion a very successful meeting. People were flying from all over the world to be here—from the United States, Norway, Sweden.”

The meeting featured lectures by high-profile mathematicians from across North America along with scientific sessions and mini-courses on established and emerging mathematical topics. In advance of the meeting, attendees had the option to attend a two-day quantum computing summer school titled PIMS Math2PowerQuantum.

“We were quite daring. In addition to some of the traditional scientific sessions, we also had mathematics of machine learning, for instance. We had our quantum computing summer school. We also had a scientific session on new trends in quantum sciences and technology. I think these are not things one typically sees at CMS meetings,” said Rayan.

Along with showcasing USask’s and Canada’s strengths in mathematical sciences and related fields, the meeting was a cultural learning opportunity. During an awards banquet at Wanuskewin Heritage Park, attendees viewed and had a chance to participate in an Indigenous hoop dancing performance.

“That was a magical moment,” said Rayan. “I think that people were delighted and surprised and really took some learnings away about Northern Plains Indigenous Peoples culture that they weren't necessarily expecting when they came.”

Sponsors of the 2024 CMS Summer Meeting were USask, the City of Saskatoon, the Atlantic Association for Research in the Mathematical Sciences, the Fields Institute for Research in the Mathematical Sciences, the Centre des Recherches Mathématiques, the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (PIMS), and the USask quanTA Centre.

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