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August 18, 1999

Canada-China Mathematics Congress to be Held in Beijing

From August 23 to 28, Dr. Tom Brzustowski, President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), will lead a delegation of more than 60 Canadian mathematical scientists to Beijing to take part in a high-level Canadian-Chinese Mathematics Congress. This unprecedented bilateral event is designed to establish close linkages between the two mathematics communities so that Canadian and Chinese students and researchers can collaborate and benefit from their respective scientific strengths.

Hundreds of scientists are expected to attend the mathematics congress. The Canadian scientists will join more than 70 Chinese scientists to present lectures, give workshops and short courses for students and demonstrate new technological tools for doing mathematics. A particular focus of the Congress will be the linkages between mathematics and the modern economy. Following the congress, a number of Canadian experts will stay on in China to take part in three one-week short courses. These courses will cover areas including cryptography, mathematical finance and mathematical biology. Such intensive courses for graduate students provide a unique opportunity for young Chinese and Canadians to understand how mathematics is taught and applied in the context of the other country.

In China, the congress will rely extensively on the infrastructure provided by the three Chinese mathematics institutes in Beijing, Tsing Hua and Nankai. In Canada, coordination is being undertaken by the Canadian Mathematics Society and the three Canadian mathematics institutes: The Centre de Recherche Mathematiques in Montreal, the Fields Institute in Toronto and the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences in Western Canada. The three Canadian Institutes themselves represent a partnership of more than 15 Canadian universities.

On August 27, the Canadian Embassy in Beijing will host a reception honouring President Brzustowski, his counterpart Dr. Zhang Chun-Hao, President of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), the visiting Canadian delegation and their Chinese hosts. Other distinguished attendees will include Shi-sun Ding, the Deputy Director of the National People's Congress, and the Presidents of Peking University, Tsinghua University and Nankai University.

Recently, the Canadian Government has recognized the central importance of mathematics for the Canadian economy. NSERC has significantly strengthened funding for the three Canadian mathematics institutes. As well, the government has established a Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) in the mathematical sciences known as "The Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems Network" (MITACS). A brainchild of the three mathematics institutes, MITACS will see a four-year, $14.5 million federal investment bring together Canadian universities and industries to develop new mathematical tools for many key sectors of the future Canadian economy. For instance, these new tools will help to unlock the genetic code of biological materials, to analyse environmental factors that affect our health, and to evaluate risks that impact costs and prices. Here again, a collaborative effort with the prominent Chinese mathematical community will greatly enhance the position of both countries as intellectual and scientific powers in dealing with the challenges of the 21st century.

For Further Information Contact:

Dr. Arvind Gupta
The Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences
(604) 822-3922 / (604) 291-3349

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