CRM-Fields-PIMS Prize Colloquium: Bálint Virág

  • Date: 09/23/2022
  • Time: 15:00



Random plane geometry -- a gentle introduction





Abstract: Consider Z^2, and assign a random length of 1 or 2 to each edge based on independent fair coin tosses. The resulting random geometry, first passage percloation, is conjectured to have a scaling limit. Most random plane geometric models (including hidden geometries) should have the same scaling limit. I will explain the basics of the limiting geometry, the "directed landscape", the central object in the class of models named after Kardar, Parisi and Zhang.


2022 Award Winner: Bálint Virág, University of Toronto. 

Speaker Biography: Bálint Virág earned his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley in 2000, after which he was a Moore Instructor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, before coming to the University of Toronto in 2003 as a Canada Research Chair. Among other awards, he has received the Rollo Davidson Prize in Probability, the Canadian Mathematical Society's Coxeter-James Prize in 2010 and the John L. Synge Award from the Royal Society of Canada in 2014. Virág was a speaker at the International Congress of Mathematicians in 2014. 


Virág's research has spanned a wide range of cutting-edge areas of probability, including random matrix theory, Kardar-Parisi-Zhang (KPZ) universality, random sorting networks and more. Referees cited the introduction of the "Brownian Carousel", by Virág and his former postdoc, Valkó, to describe the distribution of the point process arising from the collection of eigenvalues of large random matrices, citing its beauty and its fruitfulness in terms of leading to new results and links between probabilistic objects. Referees also point to his recent papers with his former graduate student, Duncan Dauvergne, and others on the "Directed Landscape", which is a probabilistic model arising as the limit of last passage percolation, expected to appear as the limit of all KPZ models.



About the CRM-Fields-PIMS prize 

The CRM-Fields-PIMS prize is the premier Canadian award for research achievements in the mathematical sciences. It is awarded jointly by the three largest Canadian mathematics institutes: the Centre de Recherches Mathématiques (CRM), the Fields Institute, and the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (PIMS). The winner's research should have been conducted primarily in Canada or in affiliation with a Canadian university. The main selection criterion is outstanding contribution to the advancement of research. As part of this recognition, Professor Virág will receive a monetary award and an invitation to present a lecture at each institute.


Other Information: 

Location: University of British Columbia

Room Details: ESB 2012

Time: 3:00pm Pacific 

Light refreshments served from 2:30pm, in ESB 4133 


Zoom Registration: For those joining this meeting via zoom. Please register online here.