Optimal and Random Point Configurations
(February 26 – March 2, 2018)



This workshop will focus on probabilistic and physical aspects of systems of interacting points: their statistical mechanics, phase transitions, and ground states. Such systems include random point processes arising in probability and statistical physics, such as random matrices, determinantal processes, zeros of random polynomials, disordered ground states, and hyperuniform systems as well as configurations satisfying a geometric or analytic optimality constraint. Special cases also involve disordered and ordered sphere packings and covering problems.

While systems of interacting particles, their free energy and crystallization properties have been studied for a long time in the statistical physics community, there has also been much activity recently, both in the random matrix community and probability communities and in the complex analysis community to understand the microscopic laws of eigenvalues of random matrices and points in beta-ensembles, as well as understanding and quantifying the rigidity of related random point processes and obtaining explicit formulas for correlation functions. Large point sets with quantifiable distribution properties have long played an important role also in approximation, numerical integration, and coding theory. All these communities are seldom mixing, while these topics also link with globally and locally optimal point configurations that arise in approximation theory, including their crystallization properties. A central objective would thus be to connect the probability, statistical physics, mathematical physics and approximation theory communities.

Organizing Committee