Combinatorial Potlatch 2017
University of Victoria
Saturday, November 18, 2017

About the Combinatorial Potlatch

The Combinatorial Potlatch is an irregularly scheduled, floating, one-day conference. It has been held for many years at various locations around Puget Sound and southern British Columbia, and is an opportunity for combinatorialists in the region to gather informally for a day of invited talks and conversation. While most who attend work in, or near, the Puget Sound basin, all are welcome.  Typically there are three talks given by speakers who are visiting or new to the area, along with breaks for coffee and lunch. Many participants remain for dinner at a local restaurant or pub.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines "potlatch" as: A ceremonial feast among certain Native American peoples of the northwest Pacific coast, as in celebration of a marriage or an accession, at which the host distributes gifts according to each guest's rank or status. Between rival groups the potlatch could involve extravagant or competitive giving and destruction by the host of valued items as a display of superior wealth. [Chinook Jargon, from Nootka p'achitl, to make a potlatch gift.]

This fall's Potlatch is being hosted by the Department of Mathematics at the University of Victoria in Victoria, BC on Saturday, November 18, 2017.

More info, including a history and links to previous Potlatches, is at The Combinatorial Potlatch Home Page.


A tentative schedule follows.

  • 10:00 AM Registration, Bagels and Coffee
  • 11:00 AM First Talk
  • 12:00 PM Lunch
  •   2:30 PM Second Talk
  •   3:00 PM Cookies, Coffee and Cokes
  •   3:30 PM Third Talk
  •   5:00 PM Happy Hour, Dinner

Talks and Abstracts


The Combinatorial Potlatch has no permanent organization and no budget. And we like it that way. Consequently, there are no registration fees because we wouldn't know what to do with them. You are on your own for meals and lodging, and the sponsoring institutions provide facilities, food for the breaks and sometimes a little support for speakers' travel. So expressions of appreciation to the speakers and the hosts are preferred and especially encouraged. Thanks.

Getting There

Victoria is on Vancouver Island, so a ferry or float plane will likely be part of your travel plans. Specific information about travel from Seattle or Vancouver can be found here. And this page has detailed listings for various services. Float planes and the Black Ball ferry (the MV Coho from Port Angeles) arrive in the harbour in central Victoria, and so place you within walking distance to many hotels. The morning run of the MV Coho should give you time to come directly to the talks if you take a taxi after clearing immigration.

The University of Victoria Campus is located away from the central downtown area. So if you wish to overnight where there are more hotels and restaurants, you will need to arrange transportation to/from the campus (bus, taxi). The number 4 bus departs from near the Marriott and goes to the campus.

If you are driving, Parking Lot 4 is suggested as your best option. $2 for the day.

Talks will be held in room B143 of the Cornett Building, inside the ring road on the campus map.


No special arrangements have been made for lodging. Here are some suggestions. Many hotels in Victoria offer a UVic rate, which attendees can ask about, but we recommend also checking online to make sure that's the best available rate.

The James Bay Inn
It is a 10-20 minute walk to the bus to UVic, unless you transfer.
Helm's Inn
Same general area as James Bay Inn. Maybe a bit closer to town.
Best Western Plus Inner Harbour
Close to ferry landing.
Days Inn Victoria
Close to ferry landing.
Marriott Inner Harbour
Convenient public bus to campus.
Chateau Victoria
Close to Marriott, but cheaper.
Swans Suite Hotel
Lots of character, but try not to get a room right over the pub.
Delta Hotels by Marriott Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort
On the waterfront.

Dining and Happy Hour

You are encouraged to join other conference participants at the various meals and other events we are planning for the day. Details here as we have them.


Happy Hour:



  • Nancy Ann Neudauer, Pacific University, nancy (at) pacificu (dot) edu, Program Chair
  • Amites Sarkar, Western Washington University, amites (dot) sarkar (at) wwu (dot) edu, Communications Chair
  • Gary MacGillivray, University of Victoria, gmacgill (a) math (dot) uvic (dot) ca, Local Arrangements Chair
Last updated: September 19, 2017