The 39th Midwest Probability Colloquium will be held at Northwestern University in October 2017. The Midwest Probability Colloquium (MPC) is an annual conference series on probability theory and related topics held every year during the second weekend (Thursday to Saturday) of October at Northwestern University. It has been financially supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation for the past 38 years. Northwestern University is the other major sponsor by providing the meeting venue and staff support. Each year October is the time just before the hiring season for mathematics Ph.D's and postdoctors gets earnestly under way. For this reason the conference has always been eagerly anticipated by graduate students and young researchers all over the country. It provides them with a great opportunity to interact with senior mathematicians and to broaden their employment prospects. Among the conferences of similar nature, the MPC stands out for its unique format in dividing its program into tutorial and research programs. The speakers of these programs are selected by a scientific committee elected at the previous year's conference. They are chosen not only for their outstanding research records but also for their excellent lecturing style.
Probability theory is a major branch of modern mathematics. It aims at a rigorous mathematical investigation of collective behavior of random phenomena and is one of the most applicable branches of mathematics. Mathematical models established with the aid of probability theory have been successfully applied in diverse areas such as applied physics, biological science, and finance. Probabilistic models can be roughly classified into two major classes: continuous and discrete. The most important representative of the first class is Brownian motion and general diffusion processes. The second class includes random walks and percolation models. Besides its wide applications in applied sciences and social sciences, the last few decades have also seen probabilistic methods making its sometime unexpected way into other branches of pure mathematics such as differential geometry, number theory, partial differential equations, mathematical physics. The common underlying theme for such applications is that probability theory puts a measure on a space (often a function space or a configuration space) much larger than original problems dictate, thus providing much richer structures and selections of tools to solve original problems. Mathematicians working in probability and related fields are scattered around the country in universities. It is very important for them to have a regular forum at which they can exchange ideas and results and keep informed with the latest development in their respective special areas and to broaden their research prospects. The annual Midwest Probability Colloquium provides such a forum and is one of the most successful and longest running annual meetings of probabilists around the country.
The conference website is at http://sites.math.northwestern.edu/mwp/