May 23 – 26, 2012
Ferry Stockholm-Mariehamn and Hotel Arkipelag, Mariehamn, Åland
Europe/Stockholm timezone


The meeting aims to extend the reach of statistical mechanics from satisfiability to unsatisfiability, and the eventual connection to glasses.

Background to the field

For several years, ideas from statistical mechanics have been used in developing novel algorithmic approaches for difficult optimization problems. The theoretical framework for this borrows heavily from the physics of glasses. Concepts that are of relevance range from non-equilibrium dynamics or protocols to energy landscapes to techniques of analysis such as replica theory and the cavity method. Uncharted territory exists in many cases where the groundstate energy is not known – “non-zero” – and when the structure of the energy landscape is crucial for the dynamical properties. The two main issues for this meeting are “unsatisfiability” or in computer science language max-K-SAT problems and their variants and glasses, where for the dynamical properties and real examples the low-lying energy landscape structure defines the physics. This event is meant to gather scientists interested in applications of statistical mechanics in this area. The event is also meant to gather participants from computer science working on similar ideas.

The venue was Hotel Arkipelag in downtown Mariehamn, the capital of the province of Åland, Finland. The Åland archipelago, lying between Sweden and mainland Finland, is easily reachable by ferry from Stockholm (Sweden), from Turku (Finland), and from Helsinki (Finland). In addition, there are flights from Sweden and Finland. Please note that the program starts on a ferry from Stockholm, so your presence on that is important information for the organizers.

The meeting is generously supported by NORDITA, the Aalto University Science Institute, ACCESS Linnaeus Centre, and the National Graduate School in Materials Physics (Finland) NGSMP, the National Graduate School in Computational Sciences (Finland) FICS, and the Helsinki Doctoral Programme in Computer Science (Finland) Hecse. Deadline for registration for scientists interested in participation is April 1. There is a maximum number of participants, 50, for capacity reasons.

Invited speakers include

Dimitris AchlioptasCTI, Greece
Toby Cubitt Madrid
Uriel Feige Weizmann Institute of Science
Silvio Franz U. Paris Sud
Alexander Hartmann Oldenburg
Jorge Kurchan ESPCI, Paris
Elitza Maneva U. Barcelona
Matteo Marsili ICTP Trieste
Bart Selman Cornell U.
Stefan Szeider TU Wien
Zoltan Toroczkai U. Notre Dame, USA
Martin Weigt U. Paris VI Jussieu
Pan Zhang ESPCI, Paris
Haijun Zhou Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing

Practical information about the conference start

The conference begins on Viking Line ferry leaving Stockholm harbour May 23 2012 at 16.45 Swedish time. We will travel on the Viking Line ferries going from Stockholm to Helsinki with a stop-over in Mariehamn (where we get off).

The trip to Mariehamn from Stockholm takes almost exactly five hours. We will have a lecture room and dinner on the ship.

It is recommended that you be in the ferry terminal at 16.00, at the latest. Someone from the organizing committee (Erik Aurell, Mikko Alava or Ralf Eichhorn) will be in the ferry terminal with the tickets from 15.30 at the latest.

Practical information about the return trip

The return trip from Mariehamn is the responsibility of the individual participants.

However, to simplify things, everyone except those who have explicitly indicated a contrary preference will be booked on Viking Line sailing from Mariehamn on Saturday May 26 at 14.25 (Finnish time), arriving in Stockholm at 18.55 (Swedish time). If you continue elsewhere by air travel from Stockholm that same evening you should count at least one hour from the ferry terminal to the airport (to be on the safe side).

Registration deadline: April 1 2012

Main sponsors:

Nordita Aalto

Ferry Stockholm-Mariehamn and Hotel Arkipelag, Mariehamn, Åland
The workshop begins on the Stockholm-Mariehamn ferry, departing from Stockholm on 23 May, 4.45 p.m. After the workshop you can conveniently return on a ferry either to Stockholm or to Turku on the Finnish mainland, with a train connection to Helsinki.