Bootstrap Percolation and its Applications (24w5300)


Brett Kolesnik (University of Oxford)

Jozsef Balogh (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

(University of California, Davis)

Karen Gunderson (University of Manitoba)



The Banff International Research Station will host the “Bootstrap Percolation and its Applications” workshop in Banff from April 14 - 19, 2024.

External Webpage

Bootstrap percolation is a mathematical model for the spread of an infection (or, e.g., information, beliefs, behavior, etc.) throughout a network over time. Initially, a subset of a population is infected. There is a local rule by which the virus spreads thereafter (e.g., once a vertex has at least a certain number of infected neighbors). If all of the population is infected eventually, we say that the process percolates.

This model was introduced by physicists in the 1970s to describe sharp threshold behavior observed in disordered magnets. Its rigorous mathematical study began later in the 1980s, and a large literature has developed since then, with significant breakthroughs appearing even very recently. For instance, the 2022 Fields Medalist Hugo Duminil-Copin proved landmark results in this area in joint work with József Balogh, Béla Bollobás and Rob Morris. Bootstrap percolation has even been featured in the New York Times (see "Béla Bollobás: The Spread of Infection on a Square Grid,'' Wordplay, July 8, 2013).

This workshop will be the first large-scale international meeting devoted entirely to this subject, and will bring together leading experts, young researchers and relevant interdisciplinary figures alike, to help sustain and accelerate the successful development of this area of research into the future.

The Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery (BIRS) is a collaborative Canada-US-Mexico venture that provides an environment for creative interaction as well as the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and methods within the Mathematical Sciences, with related disciplines and with industry. The research station is located at The Banff Centre in Alberta and is supported by Canada’s Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), and Alberta Technology and Innovation.