The Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery (BIRS) is a collaborative Canada-US venture that provides an environment for optimizing opportunities for creative interaction and the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and methods within the mathematical sciences and with related sciences and industry.
The BIRS mandate is to embrace all aspects of the mathematical and statistical sciences from the most fundamental work on the great problems of algebra, number theory, geometry and analysis to modern pure and applied mathematics, theoretical and applied statistics, mathematical physics, financial and industrial mathematics, the mathematics of information technology and computer science, and bio-mathematics.
It all began on September 24, 2001, in joint international ceremonies held simultaneously in Washington, D.C. and at the Banff Centre, funding for BIRS was announced by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the US National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Alberta Science Research Authority (ASRA). This was the fulfillment of an effort led by the Pacific Institute of the Mathematical Sciences (PIMS) on the Canadian side and the MSRI, on the American side, along with the help and participation of the Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems (MITACS) and other related institutes and professional organizations. Thus BIRS is, from its inception, a truly international venture.
Following a two-day workshop at the Banff International Research Station on October 14 - 15, 2005, representatives from international mathematical institutions, including MITACS Scientific Director Arvind Gupta, joined together to form the Pacific Rim Mathematical Association (PRIMA). PRIMA aims to promote and facilitate the development of the mathematical sciences throughout the Pacific Rim region.
The PRIMA partners have agreed that a well coordinated and concerted effort among institutions and countries would stimulate a vibrant and interconnected mathematical community whose activities would have an unprecedented impact on economic, social, and cultural development. PRIMA plans to work collaboratively to expand participation in Pacific Rim graduate summer schools and workshops, establish a scholar exchange, share mathematical expertise around the region and promote mathematics in developing countries.