The Second Malta Conference in Graph Theory and Combinatorics, an international conference organised by Prof. Peter Borg, Dr John Baptist Gauci, Prof. Josef Lauri, and Prof. Irene Sciriha (in alphabetical order), was held at db San Antonio Hotel + Spa (Qawra, St Paul's Bay) during the period 26-30 June, 2017. The organisers form the combinatorial mathematics (combinatorics for short) research group of the Department of Mathematics within the Faculty of Science at the University of Malta. They will be the editors of a special issue of the prestigious international peer-reviewed journal Discrete Applied Mathematics that will be dedicated to the conference and that will contain original research papers authored by participants.
The conference marked the 75th birthday of Prof. Stanley Fiorini, who introduced graph theory and combinatorics to the department. Prof. Fiorini, a former member and Head of the Department, made several important contributions to graph theory, nowadays a very popular branch of combinatorics, in its infancy. In 1990, he organised The First Malta Conference on Graph Theory and Combinatorics together with Prof. Josef Lauri. Prof. Fiorini is also one of Malta's foremost scholars in Maltese medieval history, in which area he published 80 papers and 24 books. The university appointed him Senior Fellow 'in view of his contribution to the University and his ongoing research and scholarship on Maltese History.' He is one of only 3 academics on whom this honour was bestowed by the university.
The conference saw the participation of 14 foreign plenary speakers, most of whom are of world class status, together with Prof. Fiorini’s PhD supervisor, Prof. Robin Wilson, as a special guest of honour. It brought together almost 200 participants coming from 46 countries and 115 universities from across all the continents. The participants varied from researchers in the initial stages of their career to others who are very renowned in their area. Many of those present had the opportunity to present their recent research findings. There were 150 contributed talks organised in 4 parallel sessions spread over the 5 days of the conference.
The opening of the conference was marked by a ceremony addressed by Hon. Evarist Bartolo (Minister for Education and Employment), Dr. Gavin Gulia (Chairman of the Malta Tourism Authority), Prof. Alfred Vella (Rector of the University of Malta), Prof. Robin Wilson, and Prof. Stanley Fiorini. The conference had a strong cultural component with no less than 4 cultural excursions to several places in Malta and Gozo, including Valletta and the Ggantija Temples.
The conference served to promote the mathematical research carried out at the University of Malta and to strengthen the reputation of the Department of Mathematics, the university, and the country in international fora.
The organisers gratefully acknowledge financial support towards this conference from the Ministry for Finance, Conventions Malta, the Ministry for Education and Employment, the University of Malta, the Department of Mathematics, and the Mathematical Awareness Trust Fund.