Combinatorial Optimization into the Future:
A Celebration of Bill Pulleyblank's Fifty Nine and One Half Birthday

April 1 - April 8, 2007. Bellairs Institute, Holetown, Barbados.


A small group of researchers (largely students and coauthors of Bill) will come to explore where Combinatorial Optimization has been and where we are going. What are the most interesting and fruitful directions? We also expect to hear about some recent advances and hopefully some old problems whose time has come.

As in past workshops, there is plenty of time to form working groups. There are usually one or two talks as well as problem sessions each day. The morning session runs from 9-12 and the evening session takes place during or after dinner.

Particpants include: Bill Pulleyblank (IBM), George Nemhauser (GATech), Bill Cook (GATech), Michel Goemans (MIT), Bruce Reed (McGill), Adrian Vetta (McGill), Bruce Gamble (Schneider), Weiguo Liu (Yahoo), Sandor Fekete (TUBraunschweig), Sylvia Boyd (Ottawa), Bruce Shepherd (McGill), Gerard Cornuejols (CMU), Bill Steiger (Rutgers), David Applegate (ATT), Paul Elliott-Magwood (Ottawa) Greg Costain (McGill), Conor Meagher (McGill), Denis Naddef (Grenoble), Victor Campo (McGill), Nick Harvey (MIT), Sean Kennedy (McGill), Omid Amini (INRIA).

Talks: Michel Goemans (Bounded-degree spanning trees); George Nemhauser (Scheduling On-demand Air Transportation); Bruce Reed (Hardcore Models for Matchings in Graphs); Bruce Gamble (Take the Dual: new models for pricing truck loads); Weiguo Liu (Optimization Problems in Online Advertisement); Sandor Fekete (Swarmnet: models and algorithms for sensor networks); Sylvia Boyd and Paul Elliott-Magwood (Vertices of the subtour polytope of the STSP); Gerard Cornuejols (Lehman Matrices); Bruce Shepherd (Packing paths in trees and packing integer programs).

Open problems document: A list of open problems presented during the workshop has been created by G. Costain, S. Kennedy and C. Meagh.

Location:The workshop takes place at the Bellairs Research Institute in Barbados. The airport is on the south-east point of the island and Bellairs is on the west side (about a 30 minute taxi drive). Here is a map of Barbados.

Directions: Tell the taxi drivers to take you to Bellairs Research Centre in Holetown. Holetown is on the main street - you can't really miss it. The taxi ride should cost about $30 U.S. There are buses but one must first travel to Bridgetown (the capital) and transfer to another line.

Some things to know: Barbados is safe and one shouldn't worry about travelling alone. US currency is freely accepted at 2 Barbadian dollars per US dollar. Other currencies (Pound sterling, Canadian dollars) are not accepted; you will have to change them at banks or at the airport.  People had trouble using their bank cards from Europe, but Canadian and US cards seem to work fine. Note that some of the better restaurants in the area do require long pants in the evenings (swim attire is not accepted). Also, there are three computers (and one printer) at Bellairs for people to read e-mail. There is wireless hookup for laptops so you can bring your own laptop. There is a small fee for using the computers or using the line with a laptop to connect to the internet.

Accommodation: Reservations are already made. You pay Bellairs directly during the workshop. The cost of a room is between 35 and 40 US $ per day per person. Breakfast is "make it yourself" (food/instant coffee provided - bring your own ground coffee if you wish) and costs 5 US$ a day. We tend to buy lunch at local restaurants or at the shopping centre 10 minutes walk from the Institute. The cook prepares dinner (6:30pm sharp) for approximately $20 U.S. The accomodations are of the level of student dormitories, please do not expect the level of the (very expensive) hotels on either side of the institute. We can of course expect the mathematics and scenery to be at a very high level.
If you snore considerably, please let us know in advance. It helps when making the room assignments. Trust us, we have experience (famous last words of one colleague: "I'm determined to teach myself to embrace this").

Speaking of which, a lot more information can be found at the website of Godfried Toussaint - one of the McGill colleagues who invited me to my very first Bellairs workshop in the late 80's (life has never been the same since). Here is his workshop info package.

For more information please contact the organizers: Sylvia Boyd ( or Bruce Shepherd (