A History of the Combinatorial Potlatches

Brian Alspach
Robert A. Beezer

September 18, 2017
This is a brief history of the Combinatorial Potlatches and their speakers. It was maintained by Brian Alspach (BA) through November 2001, then by Robert Beezer (RAB) through the 2016 edition. Send additions, clarifications and corrections to Amites Sarkar, amites.sarkar@wwu.edu. Copyright 2002-2017, Licensed with a Creative Commons BY-SA License.
  1. Combinatorial Potlatch One, 27 February 1982, University of Washington
    Branko Grünbaum Edge-transitive planar graphs
    C. C. Lindner How to embed a partial Steiner triple system
  2. Combinatorial Potlatch Two, 27 November 1982, Simon Fraser University
    Bill Kantor Algorithms for graph isomorphism and other group theoretic problems
    Peter Kleinschmidt Properties of simplicial complexes and Hilbert functions
  3. Combinatorial Potlatch Three
    BA: I have no record, but I believe this was our first visit to Western Washington University.
  4. Combinatorial Potlatch Four, 19 November 1983, University of Washington
    Geoffrey Shephard The theory of fabrics
    Richard Weiss Some aspects of graph theory in the classification of finite simple groups
  5. Combinatorial Potlatch Five, 19 May 1984, Simon Fraser University
    Richard Weiss Some aspects of graph theory in the classification of finite simple groups
    Egan Schulte A combinatorial theory of regular polytopes

BA: At this point we have lost track of the numerical sequence, but perhaps we can reconstruct the other meetings.

  1. 1 December 1984, Western Washington University
    Peter Cameron
    Random sum-free sets and cyclic automorphisms
    Tudor Zamfirescu
    Most stars are thin, most thick stars are not smooth
  2. 14 December 1985, University of Washington
    Richard Nowakowski
    Pursuit and search games on graphs
    Brian Alspach
    Orthogonal factorizations of graphs
  3. 5 April 1986, Western Washington University
    Moshe Rosenfeld
    Data allocation problem: Or how to divide a square into rectangles
    Dave Kirkpatrick
    Algorithms for finding maximal vectors
  4. 13 December 1986, University of British Columbia
    Bojan Mohar
    Embeddings of infinite graphs
    Peter Gritzman
    Finite packing and covering
  5. 9 May 1987, Pacific Lutheran University
    Stan Wagon
    Fourteen different (?) proofs of a result about tiling a rectangle
    Don Chakerian
    How to fit an elephant into a small cube
  6. 28 November 1987, Simon Fraser University
    J.-C. Bermond
    DeBruijn-Kautz networks
    H. S. Wilf
    The exponential formula: Combinatorics’ best kept secret
  7. 9 December 1989, University of Washington
    Joan P. Hutchinson
    When does a graph contain a spanning tree with no vertex of degree 2? (And why would you want to know this?)
    Charles J. Colburn
    Intersections and supports of designs
  8. 12 January 1991, Simon Fraser University
    C.C. Chen, National University of Singapore
    The edge-toughness of a graph and of its complement
    Peter Horak, Bratislava
    Transversals and matroids
  9. 25 January 1992, University of Puget Sound
    Jason Rush, University of Washington
    Very dense packings of spheres and other shapes in Euclidean n-space
    Jarek Nešetril
    Dimension and boolean dimension
  10. 11 February 1995, Simon Fraser University
    Mike Fellows
    Coping with intractability: The parametric point of view
    Anna Karlin
    Randomized and multipointer paging with locality of reference
  11. 11 May 1996, Pacific Lutheran University
    Dick Karp
    Error-Resilient molecular computation
    Gene Luks, University of Oregon
    Algorithmic applications of the simple groups classifications
  12. 24 May 1997, Simon Fraser University (Harbour Centre Campus)
    Gary MacGillivray, University of Victoria
    The achromatic number of graphs
    Kathie Cameron
    Disjoint monotone paths in simple regions: Existence, uniqueness, min-max relations, algorithms and applications
    Peter Hamburger
    A graph-theoretic approach to problems in elementary and combinatorial geometry
  13. 16 February 2002, University of Puget Sound,
    Brian Alspach, University of Regina and Simon Fraser University
    Group actions and hamilton decompositions of complete graphs
    Brett Stevens, Carleton University (Ottawa)
    On universal cycles of k-sets of an n-set
    Jonathan Jedwab, Simon Fraser University
    Combinatorial design theory and the IEEE 802.12 transmission code
  14. 9 November 2002, University of Victoria, Main Campus
    Andrzej Proskurowski, University of Oregon
    Width parameters of graphs and discrete optimization problems
    Branko Grunbaum, University of Washington
    Polyhedra: Combinatorial and geometric
    Jozef Siran, Slovak University of Technology
    Links between graph theory, group theory, geometry, Riemann surfaces, and Galois theory
  15. 8 November 2003, University of Victoria, Downtown Campus
    Steph van Wilgenburg, University of British Columbia (Vancouver)
    Enumerative properties of Ferrers graphs
    Peter Horak, University of Washington (Tacoma)
    Graph theory as an integral part of mathematics
    Rick Brewster, University College of the Cariboo (Kamloops)
    Categorical aspects of graph homomorphisms
    Zdenek Ryjacek, University of Western Bohemia (Czech Republic)
    Closure concepts, contractible subgraphs and hamiltonian properties of line graphs
  16. 20 November 2004, Simon Fraser University, Harbour Centre Campus
    John Gimbel, University of Alaska (Fairbanks)
    The traveling sales rep gets into abelian groups
    Xuding Zhu, National Sun Yat-sen University (Taiwan)
    The game chromatic number of a graph
    Jozsef Solymosi, University of British Columbia (Vancouver)
    Bounds on incidences and problems from additive number theory
  17. 19 November 2005, Seattle University
    Bojan Mohar, University of Ljubljana (Slovenia) and Simon Fraser University
    Small separations in symmetric graphs
    Jenny Quinn, Occidental College and University of Puget Sound
    Determinants via determined ants
    John Caughman, Portland State University
    How distance-regular graphs got all tangled up with the theory of knots
  18. 11 November 2006, Portland State University
    Richard A. Brualdi, University of Wisconsin at Madison
    The Bruhat order for (0,1)-matrices
    Gary Gordon, Lafayette College
    Graph polynomials for you; graph polynomials for me
    Matt De Vos, Simon Fraser University
    Sumsets and subsequence sums
  19. 29 September 2007, University of Victoria
    Manley Perkel, University of Puget Sound
    Antibandwidth and cyclic antibandwidth of Kneser graphs
    John Moon, University of Alberta
    On the number of proper nodes in rooted trees
    Anthony Quas, University of Victoria
    Distances in positive density sets
  20. 22 November 2008, University of Puget Sound
    Eric Fusy, University of British Columbia
    Bijective links on planar maps via orientations
    Chuck Dunn, Linfield College
    Complete multipartite graphs and the relaxed coloring game
    Ioana Dumitriu, University of Washington
    Path counting and the moment method for random matrices or Fun with Walter and Theo
  21. 21 November 2009, Simon Fraser University
    Glencora Borradaile, Oregon State University
    Graph constrained knapsack problems
    Louis Deaett, University of Victoria
    New dimensions to graph coloring
    Omer Angel, University of British Columbia
    Locally transitive graphs
  22. 11 December 2010, Western Washington University
    Christine Kelley, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
    Codes from algebraic lifts of graphs
    Richard Guy, University of Calgary
    Some columns Martin Gardner might have written
    Kai-Uwe Schmidt, Simon Fraser University
    What’s special about 0.3420...? How to increase the merit factor of binary sequences
  23. 19 November 2011, Seattle University
    William Stein, University of Washington, Seattle
    Sage — Creating a viable free open source alternative to Magma, Maple, Mathematica and Matlab
    Josh Laison, Willamette University
    Obstacle numbers of graphs
    Peter Winkler, Dartmouth College
    Cop vs Drunk: Chasing the random walker on a graph
  24. 17 November 2012, Simon Fraser University
    Chris Godsil, Waterloo University
    Continuous quantum walks on graphs
    Dan Drake, University of Puget Sound
    Higher order matching polynomials and d-orthogonality
    Ron Graham,  University of California, San Diego
    The combinatorics of solving linear equations
  25. 23 November 2013, University of Victoria
    Richard Hoshino, Quest University
    Applying combinatorics to inspire change
    Dillon Mayhew, Victoria University of Wellington
    Characterizing representable matroids
    Jeremie Lumbroso, Simon Fraser University
    Analytic random generation of combinatorial objects
  26. 22 November 2014, Western Washington University
    Jane Butterfield, University of Victoria
    Line-of-sight pursuit in sweepable polygons
    Steven Klee, Seattle University
    Face enumeration on simplicial complexes
    Richard Anstee, University of British Columbia
    Forbidden configurations
  27. 21 November 2015, University of British Columbia
    Kilian Raschel, Université de Tours
    A Human Proof of Gessel’s Lattice Path Conjecture
    Daniel Johnston, University of Montana
    On k-Ramsey Numbers of Graphs
    Cory Palmer, University of Montana
    Turán-type Theorems for Berge-Hypergraphs
    Alexander Holroyd, Microsoft Corporation
    Finitely Dependent Coloring
  28. 19 November 2016, Seattle University
    Sara Billey, University of Washington, Seattle
    Enumeration of Parabolic Double Cosets for Symmetric Groups and Beyond
    Shahriar Shahriari, Pomona College
    Forbidden Configurations and other Combinatorial Problems for Posets of Subspaces
    Marni Mishna, Simon Fraser University
    The Remarkable Ubiquity of Standard Young Tableaux of Bounded Height

BA: You will note that Richard Weiss is listed as giving the same talk at two consecutive Potlatches. I vaguely recall that Richard had to cancel his appearance for the first of the two listed so that I think the later listing is correct. I undoubtedly have an early announcement in my files. It is certainly the case that he talked only once.