One-day workshop - Computational topology

1 July 2019

The primary goal of the workshop is to facilitate the formation of new and lasting research collaborations between junior and senior researchers working in the field of computational topology. The talks will be presented in colloquium style and will be followed by a poster session. All participants are encouraged to submit a poster. 

This event is open to all genders.

The one-day workshop is an event of the Women in computational topology workshop; which is part of the MSI Special Year 2019 in Computational Mathematics.

Poster submissions

Please upload your poster as a PDF. The posters will be printed through the workshop.

Submission deadline: 24th June 2019





  • Carina Curto, The Pennsylvania State University
  • Kathryn Hess, EPFL
  • Claudia Landi, Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia
  • Vanessa Robins, Australian National University

Organising committee

  • Ellen Gasparovic, Union College
  • Katharine Turner, Australian National University 
  • Vanessa Robins, Australian National University 

Funding Support

Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI)

This event is sponsored by the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI). AMSI allocates a travel allowance annually to each of its member universities (for list of members, see

Students or early career researchers from AMSI member universities without access to a suitable research grant or other source of funding may apply (with approval of their Head of Mathematical Sciences) for subsidy of travel and accommodation out of their home departmental travel allowance.

We have applied for extra funds to help support researchers from the United States, and we will post more information about applying for this support at a later stage.

National Science Foundation funding

This workshop is partially supported by NSF-CCF 1841455 - Second Workshop for Women in Computational Topology.
This workshop is also partially supported by NSF-HRD 1500481 - AWM ADVANCE grant.

Code of conduct

The Mathematical Sciences Institute (MSI) special year is committed to ensuring all workshops, conferences and seminars are accessible to a diverse range of participants. We aim to create a safe, respectful and supportive environment to allow free flow of information, discussions and ideas. All staff and students have the right to be treated with courtesy, fairness and professionalism. Discriminatory or harassing behaviour will not be tolerated.
The essential part of maintaining a safe and respectful work environment is to ensure that individuals report any witnessed or experienced discrimination or harassment to the organiser’s attention, or a member of staff you feel comfortable talking to. If you would like to contact the department anonymously, please email
We ask all participants to review the ANU’s code of conduct and maintain the principles of the document for the duration of the workshop.

Partners & sponsors


1 July 2019
Time Session
Registration & Welcome
Dynamics in neural networks
Carina Curto
This talk will apply topological methods to questions in neuroscience. Specifically, the team will study dynamics in neural networks used to model memory storage and rhythm generation in the nervous system. These dynamics are determined by topological properties of the underlying network architecture. Recent advances in the theory of recurrent neural networks have identified key structural features, including motifs, that play a role in shaping the emergent dynamics. However, these features are difficult to identify without more sophisticated tools for network analysis. The team members will thus adapt tools from topology in order to detect the relevant structures inside recurrent neural networks, and use these tools to make predictions about the set of attractors and other aspects of the network's dynamics.
Morning tea
Topological adventures in neuroscience
Kathryn Hess
Over the past decade, and particularly over the past five years, research at the interface of topology and neuroscience has grown remarkably fast. Topology has, for example, been successfully applied to objective classification of neuron morphologies and to automatic detection of network dynamics. In this talk I will focus on the algebraic topology of brain structure and function, describing results obtained by members of my lab in collaboration with the Blue Brain Project on digitally reconstructed microcircuits of neurons in the rat cortex. I will also describe our on-going work on the topology of synaptic plasticity. The talk will include an overview of the Blue Brain Project and a brief introduction to the topological tools that we use.
Insights from the persistent homology analysis of porous and granular materials
Vanessa Robins
The physical properties of porous and granular materials critically depend on the topological and geometric details of the material micro-structure. For example, the way water flows through sandstone depends on the connectivity and diameters of its pores. This talk will introduce my work with the x-ray micro-CT group at ANU developing topologically valid and efficient algorithms for studying and quantifying the intricate structure of complex porous materials using persistent homology. Persistent homology is an algebraic topological tool that measures changes in the topology of a growing sequence of spaces indexed by a real parameter. When the filtration parameter is a length-scale, persistent homology provides a comprehensive description of structure and highlights properties such as the percolating length scales in porous materials, the degree of consolidation in sandpacks/ sandstones, and the distribution of fluid trapping in two-phase fluid experiments.
Afternoon tea
Multi-parameter persistent homology meets dscrete Morse theory
Claudia Landi
Persistent homology is a popular tool for the topological analysis of scalar fields. Multi-parameter persistence is its generalization for the the analysis of vector fields. The theory of multi-parameter persistence still presents so many challenges that the tool is not ready for topological data anaysis practitioners. An idea to understand it better is based on leveraging discrete Morse theory. In this talk, we’ll review the state of the art results concerning the connection between the two theories.
Reception & Poster session

Funding Support

AMSI funding

This event is sponsored by the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI). AMSI allocates a travel allowance annually to each of its member universities (for list of members, see

Students or early career researchers from AMSI member universities without access to a suitable research grant or other source of funding may apply (with approval of their Head of Mathematical Sciences) for subsidy of travel and accommodation out of their home departmental travel allowance.

Seminar Room 1.33 & 1.37, Building #145, Science Road, The Australian National University


About Canberra

Canberra is located in the Australian Capital Territory, on the ancient lands of the Ngunnawal people, who have lived here for over 20,000 years. Canberra’s name is thought to mean ‘meeting place’, derived from the Aboriginal word Kamberra. European settlers arrived in the 1830s, and the area won selection by ballot for the federal capital in 1908. Since then the ‘Bush Capital’ has grown to become the proud home of the Australian story, with a growing population of around 390,000.

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If you are catching a taxi or Uber to the ANU Mathematical Sciences Institute, ask to be taken to Building #145, Science Road, ANU. We are located close to the Ian Ross Building and the ANU gym. A Taxi from the airport will usually cost around $40 and will take roughly 15 minutes. Pricing and time may vary depending on traffic.

Taxi bookings can be made through Canberra Elite Taxis - 13 22 27.

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