Centre for the Mathematics of Symmetry and Computation

Newsletter, January 2016

January 2016 newsletter of the Centre for the Mathematics of Symmetry and Computation

The Centre for the Mathematics of Symmetry and Computation is located within the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Western Australia. We provide a focus for mathematical research and research training in the areas of group theory, combinatorics and computation, to give mathematics the increased visibility it deserves.


  • Congratulations and best wishes to Alice Devillers and Sam Norton on the birth of their daughter, Emilia.
  • Cheryl Praeger was awarded the Mehdi Behzad Prize of the Iranian Mathematical Society for service to mathematics on 24 August 2015. This is the first time the prize was awarded to a mathematician from outside Iran.
  • Cheryl Praeger was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of St. Andrews on St. Andrew's Day (30 November) 2015.
  • Mark Ioppolo won the 2015 CMSA prize for the best student talk at 39th Australasian Conference on Combinatorial Mathematics and Combinatorial Computing (ACCMCC), The University of Queensland, 7-11 December 2015.
  • Gabriel Verret will take up a lectureship at The University of Auckland in March 2016.
  • Melissa Lee has been awarded a full scholarship to undertake her PhD at Imperial College London under the supervision of Martin Liebeck, beginning October 2016.
  • Michael Giudici and Cheryl Praeger won an Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant for their project "Permutation groups: factorisations, structure and applications" (2016-2018, total funding $334,000). Stephen Glasby will also work on this grant.
  • Luke Morgan won an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) for his project "Structure theory for permutation groups and local graph theory conjectures" (2016-2018, total funding $306,000).
  • Alice Devillers' Australian Research Council Discovery Project application (with James Parkinson, Bernhard Mühlherr and Hendrik Van Maldeghem) was ranked in the top 10% nationally amongst unfunded applications. As such, the project will receive funding of $50,000 under The University of Western Australia's Near-Miss Central scheme.
  • All three of our graduating Honours students received First Class Honours: 
    • Jesse Lansdown, thesis "Metric coset geometries" supervised by John Bamberg and Joanna Fawcett.
    • Adrian Petersen, thesis "Pairwise transitive 1-designs" supervised by Alice Devillers and Cheryl Praeger.
    • Kyle Rosa, thesis "Invariable generation of finite permutation groups" supervised by Luke Morgan and Cheryl Praeger.
  • Jesse Lansdown has commenced a PhD under the supervision of John Bamberg and Gordon Royle.
  • Adrian Petersen and Kyle Rosa have both commenced MPhil degrees.
  • Jesse Lansdown was interviewed at the 2016 AMSI Summer School for the ABC Morning Show on ABC News 24. The interview was about how geometry can be applied to CGI animation, which was the subject of Margeret Wertheim's public lecture.
  • Melissa Lee volunteered for three mathematics-related outreach programmes: Teach Learn Grow (TLG) Rural Program (Nulsen Primary School, Esperance, 23-27 November 2015); Curious Minds: Girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (The Australian National University, Canberra, 9-13 December 2015); National Mathematics Summer School (NMSS) (The Australian National University, Canberra, 3-16 January 2016).
  • The council of University Hall, The University of Western Australia, has re-named its annual academic award for the highest achieving undergraduate student in residence to the Professor Cheryl Praeger Award for Academic Achievement.
  • Cheryl Praeger became the Chair of the Management Committee for Mathematics by Inquiry, a new national programme to promote innovative approaches to mathematics teaching in Australian schools, funded by the Australian government and managed by the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers.
  • Cheryl Praeger gave a Visiting Fellows Seminar at All Souls College, Oxford, on 17 November 2015.


  • Hui Zhou (Peking University), September 2015-March 2017. (Visiting PhD student.)
  • James Parkinson (University of Sydney) 3-6 November 2015.
  • Jingjian Li (Guangxi University), January 2016-January 2018.
  • Marcel Fernandez (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya), 25 January-5 February 2016.
  • Sara Sabrina Zemljič (University of Iceland), 2-13 February 2016.
  • Alexander Bors (University of Salzburg), 4-24 February 2016.
  • Joy Morris (University of Lethbridge), 7 February-7 March 2016. (Cheryl E. Praeger Visiting Fellow.)
  • Dillon Mayhew (Victoria University of Wellington), February 2016.
  • Binzhou Xia (Peking University), February-March 2016.


SymOmega is a mathematical blog run by CMSC members John Bamberg, Michael Giudici and Gordon Royle.

CMSC Retreat

The fifth annual CMSC retreat will be held between 10-12 February 2016 at the Moondyne Country Convention Centre, in the Perth hills. The retreat will bring together members of our research group, including postgraduate students, and several international visitors. We are looking forward to engaging in new research projects, starting and strengthening collaborations, and learning something new in the organised lecture series (given by Joy Morris) and paper reading group. The venue also has plenty of walking trails and meeting spaces for relaxing and socialising in the evenings.



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Last updated:
Wednesday, 9 March, 2016 9:09 AM