The first IRTG summer school took place from 14 to 17 September 2020 at Döllnsee close to Berlin. Owing to the current Covid-19 pandemic, it has been the first chance for the PhD students and principal investigators (PIs) to meet in person since the introduction of the IRTG in April 2020. As such, it has been an overwhelming success: The group spent three fantastic days together, getting to know each other and their research interests on a personal basis, setting the stage for future collaboration and mutual learning.

The academic highlights of the summer school have been two courses by the renowned researchers

  • François Delarue (Université Nice-Sophia Antipolis) on Mean Field Games and
  • Richard Nickl (University of Cambridge) on Bayesian Inverse Problems, Gaussian Processes, and Partial Differential Equations.

Richard has been able to join in person, fascinating the audience with an overview of current hot topics in statistics and beyond. While he spoke from a pure mathematicians point of view, real-world applications such as X-Ray transforms have served as motivating examples and will stay with the group beyond his lectures.

Unfortunately, the pandemic has prevented François from joining us in person. Motivated by the study of electric networks, traffic jams, and collective human behaviour, he gave a comprehensive overview of modern techniques in the study of mean field games via Zoom. The group has been captivated by the enthusiasm he has been able to convey through an incredible tour de force even when not physically present.

Under usual circumstances, the colleagues from our partner institution, the Oxford-Imperial Centre for Doctoral Training “Mathematics of Random Systems” would have travelled to Döllnsee as well. While current circumstances have forbidden that, we are happy that many of them have joined via Zoom, both during the courses of Richard and François and when the Berlin PIs as well as Oxford professors Harald Oberhauser and Rama Cont spoke on their research interests. We have tried to make the most of the current situation, but of course our colleagues from Oxford have been dearly missed. As pointed out by Terry Lyons in his greetings, they would have loved to be with us on this occasion.

Finally, the social highlight has been a joint hiking trip in the pleasant surroundings of lake Döllnsee, all the more so because the weather has treated us to three pleasently warm days in late summer.