Bert Gerards will give an invited lecture at the International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) 2006 on 28 August in Madrid. It is a great honour to speak at ICM, the most important conference for mathematicians in the world with thousands of participants. The conference is organized every four years by the International Mathematical Union. Bert Gerards is cluster leader at CWI and part-time professor at the Technische Universiteit Eindhoven.
Gerards' lecture at ICM 2006 is entitled 'Towards a structure theory for matrices and matroids'. Graphs and matrices are widely used as modelling tools for real-world problems dealing, e.g., with road networks, telephone communications, and train schedules. Roughly speaking, graphs consist of points and connections in pairs. They can be represented by matrices. Gerards' work aims at a better understanding of the structure of graphs and matrices, abstracted by matroids, with as ultimate goal finding more efficient algorithms. Together with Jim Geelen (University of Waterloo, Canada) and Geoff Whittle (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand), Gerards works on extending the famous Graph Minors Project of Robertson and Seymour to matrices and matroids.