In July 2007, the nineteenth international conference entitled Formal Power Series and Algebraic Combinatorics (FPSAC) will be held at the Center for Combinatorics at Nankai University in Tianjin, China. In June 2008, the twentieth FPSAC international conference will be held in Valparaiso, Chile. The funding from this grant will be used to exclusively support the attendance, at each of these 2 conferences, of 45 graduate students, post-doctoral students, early career researchers, and researchers from underrepresented groups, who are studying or working at American Universities.
Traditionally, the FPSAC conferences feature 9 plenary speakers, approximately 30 contributed talks, and 2 poster sessions. The number of participants varies between 120 to 200 from all around the world, of whom between 70 to 120 are graduate students and early career researchers. The continuing success of the annual FPSAC conferences stems in part from their considerable interdisciplinary breadth---linking leading researchers in combinatorial mathematics with strong researchers in allied fields drawn from pure and applied mathematics, theoretical computer science, physics, and biology. The considerable span of this conference series is unique among international conferences with an emphasis on combinatorial mathematics.
The principal topics featured during the next two FPSAC conferences will be: algebraic and enumerative combinatorics and their applications and relations to other areas of mathematics, physics, biology, and computer science. The interdisciplinary span is evidenced by the choice of plenary speakers. All the plenary speakers for China have confirmed their participation. Those are: Bruce C. Berndt (U. of Illinois, USA), Philippe Biane (Ecole Normale Superieure, France), Anders Buch (Rutgers U., USA), Maxime Crochemore (U. of Marne-la-Vallee, France), Eva-Maria Feichtner (U. of Stuttgart, Germany), Sergey Fomin (U. of Michigan, USA), Ezra Miller (U. of Minnesota, USA), Soichi Okada (Nagoya U. Japan), and Peter Paule (U. of Linz, Austria). As for the FPSAC'08 in Chile, the following speakers have confirmed their participation: Marcelo Aguiar (Texas AM), Micheal Albert (U. of Otago, New Zealand), Jonathan Brundan (U. of Oregon, USA), Ian Grojnowski (U. of Cambridge, UK), Maria Ronco (U. de Valparaiso, Chile). The Chair and co-Chair for the Scientific program of the FPSAC'07 conference are: Bill Chen of Nankai University, China and Jean-Yves Thibon of the University of Marne-La-Vall'ee, France. For the FPSAC'08 conference the chair and co-chair are: Luc Lapointe of the Universidad de Talca, and Bruce Sagan of Michigan State University.
A distinguishing characteristic of FPSAC conferences is the concerted effort to recognize and encourage outstanding young scientists. This is accomplished in part by choosing at least one plenary speaker to be an ``emerging'' star (Eva-Maria Feichtner, Marcelo Aguiar and Jonathan Brundan) and by ensuring that talented young researchers are well represented among the speakers selected for contributed talks. Another special feature of the FPSAC conferences is a continuing effort to emphasize inclusiveness among participants. The conference seeks to draw substantial participation from groups which have been traditionally under-represented in the mathematical sciences. Attendance at these two conferences will be exceptionally valuable for graduate students and junior researchers. China has a vibrant community of researchers in combinatorics, and in recent years they have sought to significantly increase their international research collaborations. This will be a unique opportunity for graduate students and early career resarchers to develop ties with Chinese researchers. FPSAC 2007 marks the first time this conference series will take place in Asia. FPSAC 2008 also marks the first time this conference will be held in South America. In contrast to other countries in the region such as Argentina and Brazil, Chile still has a relatively small mathematical community. However, it has been fast growing in recent years. We are hopeful that FPSAC will bolster the efforts for the developement of mathematics in Chile, at the very least in the field of Discrete Math. There will be conference Proceedings for each of these two conferences.