Workshop Format

Pre-Workshop:
 
Problem Submission by Graduate Applicants
 
All graduate students applying to participate in the GRWC will submit an open problem in combinatorics. These problems will form the basis of the collaborative research undertaken at the workshop. Submitted problems may come from any area of combinatorics, and should satisfy the following general criteria.
 

1. Problems should be broad enough to be accessible to a reasonable segment of workshop participants, and a student should be able to concisely summarize his or her problem and any relevant history and related prior research. At the same time, problems should also be of sufficient depth and interest to form the basis of a serious research project with the potential to obtain impactful results. 

2. Problems should be at least initially approachable by student participants. For instance, we hope to avoid the proposal of long-standing conjectures that have stymied field leaders for many years. On the other hand, we envision that relaxations or variants of such problems could provide an excellent basis for collaborations within the GRWC

3. While it is intended that collaborations started at the GRWC will extend into the 2015-16 academic year and beyond, it is important that collaborative groups within the workshop have a reasonable chance to begin serious work on the proposed problems.
 
Individual Mentoring and Problem Refinement
 
In order to ensure that the submitted problems meet the stated criteria, organizing faculty will engage in 1-on-1 mentoring with applicants to help them refine their submissions.  Faculty mentors will work with applicants so that their problems are sufficiently clear and well-developed. This is to ensure that the problem will be ready for inclusion on the workshop website, described below. Each mentor will ensure that proposed problems strike the appropriate balance of depth and accessibility. Further, mentors will help students carry out thorough literature searches surrounding their problems and develop some possible first approaches.
 
Selection of Graduate and Postdoctoral Speakers
 
After the initial mentoring and problem refinement is completed, the organizing committee will select 15-20 student participants to present their submitted problems during the first week of the workshop. Student speakers will primarily be selected based upon the quality of their problems (as measured by the above mentioned criteria), however the organizing committee will also strive to select a sufficiently broad spectrum of problems that will engage a diverse group of students. 
 
Additionally, participating postdoctoral researchers will give one hour problem talks related to their research interests. 

Development of Workshop Website and "Open Problem Garden"
 
The organizers intend to have approximately 30-35 students participating in the workshop, and as such not all students will be able to present their submitted problems. At the same time, it is possible that the presented problems may not support sustained collaboration throughout the conference, either due to new insights into the difficulty of the problem, or the discovery of additional prior work after collaboration has started. 
 
As such, all student problems will be posted on a secure workshop website or wiki, with those problems not presented serving as an "open problem garden" for the workshop. This will provide a bank of appropriate problems that can be used to supplement presented problems during the workshop and thereafter. It is likely that the organizing committee will also contribute problems to the open problem garden. 
 
In-Workshop:

Week One: Problem Sessions and Group Formation
 
Each morning during the first week of the workshop will consist of problem presentations by students and postdocs. It is likely that the first and possibly second day of the workshop will have more presentations than the other days, allowing for the introduction of problems in a number of different areas. This will ensure that all students will have the opportunity to undertake problems that lie sufficiently close to their research interests. 
 
Following the problem presentations, participants will divide up into research groups focused on each problem. We anticipate that participants will take part in multiple collaborative groups, although efforts will be made to ensure that students do not dilute their experience by trying to work on too many problems simultaneously. 
 
Week Two: Continued Collaboration
 
The focus of the second week will be to continue the collaborative group work started in week one. In this time, it is likely that some groups will disperse, and others will form to work on other presented problems or those on the wiki. 
 
Professional Development Seminars
 
During the second week of the workshop, the organizing committee will plan several panel discussions about various aspects of the profession. Some possibilities include:
  1. Preparing for the Job Market
  2. Delivering Quality Research Presentations and General Audience Job Talks
  3. Choosing the Right Publication Venues for Your Work
  4. Grant Writing: What is it all About?
  5. Is a Postdoc for Me (and how might I get one?)
  6. Taking the Long View:  Developing a 5-year Research Plan
  7. Vita Vitals: Improving your C.V.