22nd EUROPEAN MEETING
of STATISTICIANS
7th VILNIUS CONFERENCE
on Probability Theory and Mathematical Statistics

August 12-18, 1998
VILNIUS, LITHUANIA

REPORT

The 7th International Vilnius Conference
on Probability Theory and Mathematical Statistics

On August 12(18, 1998, the 7th International Vilnius Conference on Probability Theory and Mathematical Statistics was held in the Vilnius Gediminas Technical University. This is a traditional conference held every 4-5th year.


President of Lithuania V. Adamkus took part in the opening ceremony of this forum

This time it was held jointly with the 22nd European Meeting of Statisticians. About 400 specialists of probability theory, mathematical and applied statistics from 37 countries of the world participated in it. Honorary chairman of the Organizing committee of the Conference ant the Meeting was Prime Minister G. Vagnorius, mean while President of Lithuania V. Adamkus took part in the opening ceremony of this forum who after official congratulations of the participants made an impressive speech

Not only the Lithuanian mathematicians were made happy by the attitude of President and the Government towards science as one of the most important spheres supported by the state. The Government of Lithuania was the principal sponsor of the Conference.

Since the First International Vilnius Conference in 1973, this has been the greatest and most significant event organized by the Lithuanian mathematicians and it has its own history and traditions.

It can be supposed that the Vilnius conferences are a continuation of the famous Berkeley symposia. After the sixth and the last Berkeley symposium in 1969, its organizer one of the most world-renown statisticians. Prof. J.Neyman suggested to transfer the symposium to Vilnius. That was a weighty enough recognition of the Vilnius probability theory school.


The participants of this forum at the lecture room

The participants at one of breaks between sessions

The number of participants was constantly increasing up to the fifth conference and in 1989 it exceeded 600. The significance and role of the first conferences differed but a little from, say, the latter two held in 1993 and this year. For most mathematicians of Lithuania and the former Soviet Union our first conferences rendered a rare opportunity of exchanging the latest information and ideas, entering into personal contacts, communicating with the scientists of Western countries in an informal environment. The papers in scientific journals appear only in a year or even in several years. That is why one can say that the first conferences were like a slit in an 'iron screen curtain' that separated the Eastern and Western world.

The 6th conference took place in rather a hard time for Lithuania, the summer of 1993. Only 300 participants took part in it. Many scientists of the ex-USSR and other countries of the Eastern bloc had no possibility to attend it due to the lack of financial means. For the organizers it was also not so simple a task to organize a conference on a high enough level to keep the name of the largest conference in the world on probability theory.

The 7th conference surpassed the former ones in number of the participating countries, ( this time there were representatives from 37 countries: 37 from Russia, 33 from the USA, 28 from Germany, 21 from both Great Britain and France, etc. One participant arrived from each nontraditional country such as Cyprus, Mongolia, Kuwait. To tell the truth, the numbers presented are not sufficiently correct since it is not a simple matter to identify a state represented by a scientist. Many scientists (especially from the Eastern countries) are working in other countries.


L.Giraitis

Joining of the 7thVilnius Conference and the 22nd European Meeting of Statisticians stipulated a larger number of applied works both in statistics and probability theory. 350 reports were made, including 100 invited lectures and 5 plenary lectures. 34 sections were in action.

One of the plenary lectures presented the work of a Lithuanian mathematician, working presently in Germany, Dr.habil. V.Bentkus and a professor of Bielefeld university F.Goetze, in which the problems of number theory are solved by the methods of probability theory.

In the opinion of many Conference participants, this was one of the most interesting presentations. Lithuanian probabilists delivered 55 reports at the Conference and Meeting. After world-renown specialist of mathematical physics G. Jona-Lasinio who was a candidate for the Nobel prize twice, a young Lithuanian mathematician V. Sidoravičius has made a report. L.Giraitis who is working at present in a prestigious scientific institution ( London School of Economics ( made one of the major reports at the session 'Long-range dependence'. At the session of probabilistic number theory, the reports of A.Laurinčikas (Vilnius University) and K.Matsumoto (Nagoya University) drew attention of many specialists. Their works were one more step in the solution of the famous Riemann hypothesis.


From left to right: Prof. B.Grigelionis, Prof. J.Kubilius,
President of Lithuania V. Adamkus and Prof. V.Statulevičius

Most of the Lithuanian scientists were sucessfully working at the Conference which is the best indication of high levels of the Vilnius probability theory and the probabilistic number theory school, whose founders were prof. dr. J. Kubilius and prof. dr. V. Statulevičius.

Lithuanian probabilists as well as statisticians are working at present in Brasil, Great Britain, USA, Canada, France, and Germany. As compared to the Conference of 1993, some new, rapidly developing fields came into being. One should note here the session of financial and actuarial mathermatics.

Quite a few works have been published recently in which various financial markets are rather well described by stochastic mathematical models. Mathematical models are widely applied in the activities of insurance companies, too. It is therefore quite natural that mathematicians working in banks and insurance companies also took part in the Conference.

Thus, side by side with the works in pure probability theory and mathematical statistics, mathematical models in economics, physics, biology, medicine, and other fields were widely considered as well.


Prof. M.Sapagovas (at right), Dr. A.Plikusas (at left) and other organisers

Organizers of the Conference took a little risky step by including into the programme a session of official statistics and a special 'round table' discussion on the role of statistics in the countries of emerging democracies and economies in transition. Prof. dr. E.Vilkas was chairman of the 'Round table'.

We have strong hopes that this discussion, in which Lithuanian statisticians-practitioners took an active part and the issues urgent only for Lithuania were probably overstressed a bit, will consolidate the links between the specialists of both theoretical and practical statistics.

It was the Institute of Mathematics and Informatics that had to do the main organizational job in this as well as other conferences. The Vilnius Gediminas Technical University also was one of the organizers of this international forum and it contributed a lot to prepare for the Conference and to ensure rather smooth work of the Conference and Meeting. On the initiative of Chairman of the Organizing Committee, prof. dr. V. Statulevičius an honorary member of the Committee, rector of the Vilnius Gediminas Technical University prof. dr. E. Zavadskas, and a member of the Organizing Committee, director of the Institute of Mathematics and Informatics prof. dr. M. Sapagovas, most of the organitional problems were successfully solved.


A book exhibition of the most famous publishers of scientific literature was held during the Conference. It gave an opportunity to prescribe to the latest manuals, monographs, journals.

The majority of the books exhibited remained at the library of the Institute of Mathematics and Informatics.

It should be emphasised that the Vilnius Conferences on probability theory and mathematical statistics are undoubtedly useful for Lithuanian mathematicians, they promote high level fundamental research, help to enter into new and keep the existing contacts of international cooperation.

We have strong hopes that events of this kind will stimulate a deeper interest in science of our youth. As a matter of fact, Lithuania needs qualified specialists (especially in statistics) who could work in the present and newly emerging fields. We hope that in future Lithuania will manage to keep a duly deserved name as a country of 'probabilists'.


Last updated on October 29, 1998