Oberwolfach Meeting on Complexity Theory

Former organizers: Joachim von zur Gathen (1992-2009), Claus Schnorr (co-founder, 1972-2005), Volker Strassen (1974-1994), Arnold Schonhage (co-founder, 1972-1990), Madhu Sudan (2005-2015).
Current organizers: Peter Buergisser, Irit Dinur, Oded Goldreich, and Salil Vadhan.

Coming meeting: November 11-17, 2018.

Past reports: 1974-94, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2015,


The Oberwolfach Mathematical Institute hosts, every year, nearly 50 weekly meetings on various topics in mathematics. These meetings are organized on a voluntary basis by groups of researchers, pending on the approval of their proposal by the board of the Institute. The Meeting on Complexity Theory (first initiated by Schnorr and Schonhage) has taken place since the early 1970's, usually once in two years.

The policy and capacity of the Institute support only medium-sized meetings with emphasis on actual interaction among the attendees. Currently, the organizers are allowed to invite around 50 researchers to attend the meeting. Needless to say, this policy does not allow to invite all suitable researchers in a certain area, and painfully-hard choices must be made by the organizers.

In accordance with the above policy, the meeting consists of few "plenary" talks attended by all participants, more "imformal" talks given in "specialized sessions" attended by the relevant experts, and free time allocated for more intensive interaction in even smaller groups. Only the "plenary sessions" are organized by the organizers and the rest of the activity is organized by the participants themselves in a rather ad-hoc manner. This format seems to provide a good balance between high-level expositions intended for all participants and more extensive interaction within specialized groups.

How are researchers invited to the meeting: The organizers try to keep informed of the developements in the area and make invitations accordingly. However, they face the aforementioned harsh constraints. Furthermore, the organizers have to submit to the Institute a list of invitees more than a year before the meeting.

How are participants selected to give a plenary talk: The organizers view the plenary talks as service that some participants do to the rest, and consider the very participation in the meeting as the most important thing. The selection is done accordingly.

Basic schedule: The scientific program starts Monday morning and end on Friday late afternoon (i.e., just before dinner). You are welcome to arrive on Sunday afternoon (please contact the office if you wish to arrive before 4PM) and stay till Saturday morning.

Other FAQ:

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Oded Goldreich's homepage.

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