Thematic Semester on Calculus of Variations and Probability

Calculus of variations is a branch of mathematical analysis that aims at finding and analyzing extrema of functionals via studying the effects of small perturbations in their argument. Many concrete problems from natural sciences can be recast as such problems. For example, equilibria configurations of physical systems are often critical points of some energy functional, while evolutions of many physical systems follow some least action principle (optics, Newtonian mechanics, general relativity...). Techniques from calculus of variations have found applications in virtually all branches of mathematics: partial differential equations, geometry (minimal surfaces, isoperimetric problems), numerical analysis, probability (large deviations, statistical physics), statistics, linear algebra (eigenvalue problems), dynamical systems (Hamiltonian systems)...

This is a semester of activities on calculus of variations for the period February-June 2019, with an emphasis on connections with other areas of mathematics such as probability, geometry and statistics.


Main Events

Winter school

Intensive course on numerical optimal transport

Workshop on optimal transport and applications

Workshop on variational problems in physics

Workshop on geometric analysis



Long-Term Guests

Guido De Philippis (SISSA Trieste)

Alessio Figalli (ETH Zurich)
Mikaela Iacobelli (Durham University)
Robert Jerrard (University of Toronto)
Karl-Theodor Sturm (University of Bonn)
(Dates of stay will be posted here once they are confirmed)