Conference in Cortona, Italy, June 13-18, 2004

Sponsors / Purpose / Organizers /
Invited speakers and special guests / Conference venue / Conference program /
List of participants and accomodation / Logistic informations / PostDoc position advertisment /


The primary sponsor of the conference is

Additional funding is provided by Italian "Cofin" project "Analisi Armonica" at
(1) Dipartimento di Matematica e Applicazioni, Università di Milano - Bicocca,
(2) Dipartimento di Matematica "F. Enriques", Università degli Studi di Milano, and
(3) Dipartimento di Matematica, Università di Roma - Tor Vergata,
and also directly by
(4) Dipartimento di Matematica "F. Enriques", Università degli Studi di Milano, and
(5) Factoltà di Ingegneria, Università del Sannio.

Back to top.

Purpose of the conference

Regarding the three areas in the title of the conference, the idea is that Random Walk Theory and related probablistic thoughts may play the role of a "bridge" between the other two, big fields of Geometric Group Theory on one hand and Harmonic Analysis on the other. The purpose of the meeting, which might host up to 80 participants, is to bring together people who are open-minded towards this type of interaction.
Part of the spirit of the conference is also to continue a a row of conferences on similar, but not identical topics:

"Harmonic Analysis on Trees and Graphs", Cortona, 1988;
"Harmonic Analysis and Discrete Potential Theory", Frascati, 1992;
"Harmonic Functions on Trees and Buildings", New York, 1995;
"Random Walks and Discrete Potential Theory", Cortona, 1997;
"Random Walks and Geometry", Erwin Schrödinger Institute, Vienna, 2001.

Back to top.


The conference is organzied by

Tullio Ceccherini-Silberstein, Università del Sannio, Benevento, Italy

Tatiana Nagnibeda, Royal Insitute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, and Université de Geneve, Switzerland

Laurent Saloff-Coste, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA

Maura Salvatori, Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy

Wolfgang Woess, Graz University of Technology, Austria

conference email:

Back to top.

Invited speakers and special guests

The following colleagues have accepted the invitation to participate and to give an expository talk.

M. Bachir Bekka (Université de Metz)
Martin Bridson (Imperial College, London)
Ken Brown (Cornell University, Ithaca)
Anna Erschler (Université de Lille)
Jason Fulman (University of Pittsburgh)
Rostislav Grigorchuk (Texas A&M University)
Mikhail Gromov (Bures-sur-Yvette)
Yves Guivarc'h (Université de Rennes)
Pierre de la Harpe (Université de Genève)
Vadim A. Kaimanovich (Université de Rennes)
Alex Lubotzky (Hebrew University, Jerusalem)
Amos Nevo (Technion, Haifa)
Gilles Pisier (Texas A&M University)
Christophe Pittet (Université de Marseille I)
Sorin Popa (UCLA)
Tim Steger (Università di Sassari)
Alain Valette (Université de Neuchatel)
Bálint Virág (University of Toronto)

List of registered participants.

Back to top.

Conference venue

cortona               paesaggio

Cortona is a small town in southern Tuscany, going back Etruscan time, situated on a hill 20km North of Lake Trasimeno. Place of the meeting is the "Palazzone", a 16th century castle 2km outside of Cortona in a typical Tuscan landscape of olive and wine gardens. The Palazzone is owned by the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, who rents it to the INdAM for several meetings every year.

Back to top.

Conference program

Please have a look at the program.

Back to top.

Full list of participants & accomodiation

Here is a list of all participants (including organizers, invited speakers and special guests), including dates of arrival and departure and the hotel/guest house. The latter assignments are provisorial, please have another look a week before the conference.

In one of the messages of mid-March, W.Woess made a mistake regarding the dates. In any case, the conference program will start on Monday, June 14, in the morning and end on Friday, April 18, in the afternoon. In the light of this, please check your dates of arrival and departure and comunicate eventual changes (in parentheses: previously comuncated dates).

Name (city) Arrival-departure     Shares room with    Accomodation
Awni AL-DABABSEH (Ma'an, Jordania) 13-19 - Betania
Georges ALEXOPOULOS (Paris-Orsay) 13-19 - San Luca
Laurent BARTHOLDI (Lausanne) 14-18 fiancé Sabrina
Udo BAUMGARTNER (Newcastle, N.S.W., Australia) 13-18 - Santa Margherita
Bachir BEKKA (Metz) 13-18 - Neumann
Sebastien BLACHERE (Marseille) 12-20 wife Betania
Ron BLEI (Storrs)* 15-19 - Neumann
Emmanuel BREUILLARD (New Haven) 14-19 TesseraBetania
Martin BRIDSON (London) 13-18 - Palazzone
Sara BROFFERIO (Graz)* 13-18(-19) - Santa Margherita
Kenneth BROWN (Ithaca) 13-18 wife Palazzone
Alexander BUFETOV (Princeton) 14-19 - Santa Margherita
Angeles CARMONA (Barcelona) 12-19 - Santa Margherita
Donald CARTWRIGHT (Sydney) 13-18 - Neumann
Tullio CECCHERINI-SILBERSTEIN (Benevento) 13-19 - Palazzone
Carlo CASOLO (Firenze) 17-17 - -
Indira Lara CHATTERJI (Ithaca) 13-19 - Santa Margherita
Joel M. COHEN (Maryland) 13-16 wife & 2 childrenIl Casale
Daniele D'ANGELI (Roma) 13-19 - Santa Margherita
Alfredo DONNO (Roma) 13-19 - Neumann
Anna ERSCHLER (Lille) 13-18 Gromov Palazzone
A. FIGA-TALAMANCA (Roma) 15-17 - San Michele
Jason FULMAN (Pittsburgh) 13-18 wife Palazzone
Lee R. GIBSON (Ithaca) 13-19 - Santa Margherita
Rostislav I.GRIGORCHUK (College Station, Texas) 13-19 - Palazzone
Saverio GIULINI (Genova) 13-19 wife San Luca
Mikhael GROMOV (Bures-sur-Yvette) 13-18 Erschler Palazzone
Yves GUIVARC'H (Rennes) 13-19 - Neumann
Pierre DE LA HARPE (Genève) 13-18 wife Palazzone
Mohamad HINDAWI (Philadelphia) 13-19 - Santa Margherita
Jehad JARADEEN (Ma'an, Jordania) 13-19 - Betania
Vadim A. KAIMANOVICH (Rennes) 13-16 - Neumann
Ilya KAPOVICH (Urbana-Champaign) 13-18 - Neumann
Motoko KOTANI (Sendai) 13-19 - San Luca
Gabriella KUHN (Milano)* 13-18(-19) - San Luca
Franz LEHNER (Graz) 14-18 - Betania
Emile LE PAGE (Vannes) 13-18 - San Luca
Alexander LUBOTZKY (Jerusalem) 14-17 - Neumann
Jean MAIRESSE (Paris) 13-18 - Santa Margherita
Anna Maria MANTERO (Genova) 13-19 husband San Luca
Michel MARIAS (Thessaloniki) 13-19 - San Luca
Frederic MATHEUS (Vannes) 13-18 - Betania
Francesco MATUCCI (Firenze) 14-18 - independent
Volker METZ (Bielefeld) 12-18 - Neumann
Alexei MIASNIKOV (New York)* 13-18(-19) wife Betania
Serban NACU (Berkeley)* 14-19 - Betania
Tatiana NAGNIBEDA-SMIRNOVA (Genève) 13-18 family independent
Volodymyr NEKRASHEVYCH (Bremen) 13-19 wife Betania
Markus NEUHAUSER (Graz) 12-18 - Santa Margherita
Amos NEVO (Haifa) 13-18 - Neumann
Marc PEIGNÉ (Tours)* 12-18(-19) - Santa Margherita
Isaac PESENSON (Philadelphia) 13-16 wifeSabrina
Gabriel PICIOROAGA (Iowa City) 13-19 SunikBetania
Gilles PISIER (College Station, Texas) 14-19 - Palazzone
Christophe PITTET (Marseille)* 12-19(13-19) - Neumann
Sorin POPA (Los Angeles) 14-18 wife Sabrina
Tal POZNANSKY (New Haven) 13-19 Riley Betania
Jean-Philippe PRÉAUX (Genève) 13-18 - Santa Margherita
Florin RADULESCU (Roma)* 12-14 wife Sabrina
David REVELLE (Berkeley) 13-19 - Santa Margherita
Tim RILEY (New Haven) 13-19 Poznansky Betania
Laurent SALOFF-COSTE (Ithaca) 13-18 - Palazzone
Maura SALVATORI (Milano) 13-19 - Palazzone
Mark SAPIR (Nashville) 13-17 - Neumann
Said SIDKI (Brasilia) 13-19 - San Luca
Stansilav SMIRNOV (Genève) 13-18 family independent
Tim STEGER (Sassari) 13-19 wife Palazzone
Karl-Theodor STURM (Bonn) 14-18 - San Luca
Zoran SUNIK (College Station, Texas) 12-19Picioroaga Betania
Romain TESSERA (Paris) 13-19 BreuillardBetania
Elmar TEUFL (Graz) 12-18 - Santa Margherita
Filippo TOLLI (Roma) 14-18 - Neumann
Roman URBAN (Wroclaw) 12-18 - Santa Margherita
Alain VALETTE (Neuchatel) 13-17 - San Michele
Enric VENTURA (Barcelona) 14-18 - Santa Margherita
Balint VIRAG (Toronto) 14-18 - Neumann
Gerald WILLIAMS (Galway, Ireland) 13-19 - Santa Margherita
Wolfgang WOESS (Graz) 13-19 - Palazzone
Anna ZAPPA (Genova) 13-19 - San Luca

* status = OK, but if additional arrival/departure dates appear in parenthesis, please clarify.
** please comunicate/confirm participation plus dates of arrival and departure.

See below for details on the hotels in the list. There is NO need to book on your own behalf (...but to pay, in most cases...), except "independent".

Back to top.

Logistic informations

INFORMATIONS on how to reach Cortona.

TRAINS: if you arrive from North (Florence) you should take a train that stops at Camucia. We prepared a list of trains Firenze S.M.N. - Camucia for Sunday, 13 June. Most trains run daily. If you arrive from South (Rome), there are trains Roma Termini - Camucia and Roma Termini - Terontola.
Camucia and Terontola are the two railway stations for Cortona. From there, you should take a taxi or bus uphill to Cortona. Camucia is closer, but Terontola is better served by trains arriving from Rome.
You can also consult the timetable on internet by yourself. There are various choices: Italian State Railways, or Swiss Federal Railways, or Austrian Federal Railways, or German Railways. I (W.W.) found Swiss and Austrian most convenient.

BUS SCHEDULE Terontola - Camucia - Cortona.

Map of Cortona.
Exendend map of Cortona, including the Palazzone.

  1. Il Palazzone.
  2. Hotel Oasi Neumann, Via delle Contesse 1, Tel: +39 0575 630354, Fax: +39 0575 630477.
    Room prices: single 46,30 Euro (breakfast included).
  3. Hotel San Luca, Piazza Garibaldi 2, Tel: +39 0575 630460, Fax: +39 0575 630105.
    Room prices: single 59 Euro.
  4. Hotel San Michele, Via Guelfa 15, Tel: +39 0575 604348, Fax: +39 0575 630147.
    Room prices: single 65 Euro, double 89 Euro, double single use 69 Euro.
  5. Hotel Sabrina, Via Roma 37, Tel: +39 0575 601577, Fax: +39 0575 604627.
    Room prices: single 55 Euro, double 70 Euro (breakfast included).
  6. Guest house Santa Margherita (no web site available), Via Cesare Battisti 15, Tel: +39 0575 630336, Fax: +39 0575 630549.
    Room prices: single 35 Euro (breakfast included).
  7. Guest house Casa Betania (no web site available), Via G. Severini 50, Tel: +39 0575 62829, Fax: +39 0575 604299
    Room prices: single 35 Euro, double 44 Euro (breakfast included).
  8. Residence Il Casale, Loc. San Pietro a Cegliolo, 434, Cortona.

Here is a list of some of the above plus further hotels, along with descriptions, pictures and maps.

CONFERENCE FEE: There is a conference fee of 40 Euro for every participant except the invited speakers and special guests. Please pay by cash upon arrival.

LUNCH: Daily complete lunch is served at the Palazzone from Monday to Friday. Our funding allows us to offer the lunch for each participant. Accompanying persons may also have lunch at the Palazzone at the prize of 18 Euro upon signing in the secretary's office on the previous day. For the first day, please kindly send an email to for booking the lunch of accompanying persons.

DINNER: You can go for dinner in any of the various good restaurants in Cortona. We have agreements with two of them for complete dinner meuns at reduced prices: the restaurant at Oasi Neumann, very close to the Palazzone (price: 15 Euro), and the restaurant "Tonino" at the hotel San Luca (price: 22 Euro). For the location of both, see the above maps and the hotel list.

OVERHEAD PROJECTORS: there are only rather small blackboards available at the Palazzone. We strongly suggest that you use the overhead projector for your talk. (There is no beamer for laptop presentations.)

INTERNET ACCESS: There is a room with several PCs at your disposal. We have to pay for the internet connections, so please restrict your use to essential matters.

TELEPHONE: The phone number of the secretary's office at the Palazzone (during working hours) is +39 050 509398.

Back to top.

PostDoc position advertisment

Beginning in autumn 2004, there is an open PostDoc position for one year (or a PhD position for approximately 18 months) within the Austrian Science Fund project "Asymptotic Properties of Random Walks on Graphs" at Technische Universität Graz. See the homepage of W. Woess for details.
(In view of the topic of the conference, the present webpage appears to be a good place for this announcement.)

Back to top.

We are grateful to the organizers of the conference Commutative Rings and their Modules (Cortona, May 30 - June 5, 2004) for allowing us to use the informations and pictures of their detailed conference homepage.

Last modified on June 28, 2004