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Next Step in Random Walks: Understanding Mechanisms Behind Complex Spreading Phenomena
From Monday 08 October 2018
To Thursday 11 October 2018
Contact Yael Yogev (

This workshop is supported by CECAM IL & The Mark Ratner Institute for Single Molecule Chemistry                                                                                   


Workshop's Poster

Workshop Description









Michael Urbakh (Tel Aviv University, Israel)
Eli Barkai (Bar-Ilan University, Israel)
Sergey Denisov (
University of Augsburg, Germany)


Workshop's Poster

The workshop's poster is available here

Workshop Description

Spreading is an omnipresent phenomenon which plays either negative or positive role, depending on what is spreading, an invasive pathogen or holes in a semiconductor.   There are many facets of spreading that have been studied in different fields. On the micro time-space scales compared with the lifetime of a single mover, an atom migrating over a substrate or a foraging animal, spreading splits into a set of point-like random processes, so that individual trajectories look like trajectories of random walkers. It was therefore very natural that the paradigm of random walks heavily influenced the development of the fields where spreading plays the key role – solid state electronics, turbulence, molecular biophysics, ecology, and others. At the beginning, Gaussian random walks, as a well-established concept, were extensively used. Then in many labs, it was observed that the obtained data do not fit this model, so new tools and models were demanded. The complexity of the observed phenomena can be captured in more detail with such updates as continuous-time random and Lévy walks (LW). These approaches have found a striking number of applications in diverse fields, including optics, dynamical chaos, turbulence, many-body physics (both quantum and classical ones), biophysics, behavioral science, and even robotics.

Existing models, such as LWs and fractional Fokker-Planck equations, have a strong appeal – they are very well developed, they are famous and have very good reputations and agenda. It is very tempting therefore to use them immediately when an experimentalist or a field ecologist comes with the statistical data and ask “Could you please explain it with your theories?”. But even if the matching is perfect, it does not serve an explanation. The explanation is encoded in the data and in order to extract it, the theoretician has, first of all, to understand the process which produced this data.

Spreading of cold atoms in dissipative optical potentials is an example where this path is already taken. At first, a specific classical diffusion equation was derived to capture the specific cooling mechanism (essentially quantum by its nature) governing the dynamics of atoms; and then it was possible to demonstrate that on the microscopic level trajectories of individual atoms appear as LWs. In such a way, a LW-like process has been derived from physics. Yet these experiments have also revealed that a simple LW description does not capture all features of the observed phase space dynamics. In a very different direction another microscopic origin of anomalous diffusion of bacteria was recently developed. These two examples are only part of a trend of a maturing field switching from phenomenological methods to deeper modeling, and our primary goal is to help diffuse these new ideas among the relevant practitioners.

The main emphasis of the workshop is on changing the “cargo-cult” paradigm prevailing now on the field of anomalous diffusion and random walks when it comes to their practical applications. Namely, it is not that experimental data should be analyzed in the view of the existing random walk and diffusion models but models themselves have to be constructed in a way as to capture essential physics behind the emerging spreading. That simply means that physical mechanisms running the spreading have to be understood first by those theoreticians who want to describe them with their mathematical constructions. The focus of the proposed workshop is to leave the phenomenological stage of the theory and bring together experts who work on the basics mechanism still covering a large body of models and systems.



Confirmed Invited Speakers (in alphabetic order)

Gil Ariel (Bar-Ilan University, Israel)

Olivier Benichou (LPTMC, France)

Ronen Berkovich (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel)

Brian Berkowitz  (Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel)

Stanislav Burov (Bar-Ilan University, Israel)

Aleksei Chechkin (University of Potsdam, Germany)

Nir Davidson  (Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel)

Efi Efrati (Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel)

Iddo Eliazar (Israel Math Museum Initiative, Israel)

Rony Granek (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel)

Yoav Lahini (Tel Aviv University, Israel)

Nava Leibovich (Bar-Ilan University, Israel)

Serge G. Lemay (University of Twente, The Netherlands)

Pierre E. Levitz (Sorbonne University, France)

Michael A. Lomholt (University of Southern Denmark , Denmark)

Dmitrii E. Makarov (University of Texas at Austin, USA)

Yasmine Meroz (Tel Aviv University, Israel)

Ralf Metzler (University of Potsdam, Germany)

Gleb Oshanin (LPTMC, France)

Rami Pugatch  (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel)

Shlomi Reuveni (Tel Aviv University, Israel)

Yael Roichman (Tel Aviv University, Israel)

Michael F. Shlesinger (US Naval Academy, USA)

Igor Sokolov (Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany)

Alessandro Taloni (Sapienza University, Italy)

Felix Thiel (Bar-Ilan University, Israel)

Raphaël Voituriez (LPTMC, France)

Aleksander Weron (Wroclaw University of Science and Technology, Poland)

Vasily Zaburdaev (Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems Dresden, Germany)



Erez Aghion (Bar-Ilan University, Israel)

Yevgeny Bar Lev (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel)

Ronny Bartsch (Bar-Ilan University, Israel)

Melka Bruno (Bar-Ilan University, Israel)

Prasenjit Das (Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel)

Avihai Didi (Bar-Ilan University, Israel)

Boris Fainberg (Holon Institute of Technology, Israel)

Itay Fayer (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel)

Xiang Gao (Tel Aviv University, Israel)

David Gomez (Tel Aviv University, Israel)

Ewa Gudowska-Nowak (Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland)

Mario Hidalgo-Soria (Bar-Ilan University, Israel)

Marc Hoell (Bar-Ilan University, Israel)

Jennifer Joseph (Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India)

David Kessler (Bar-Ilan University, Israel)

Tal Koren (Tel Aviv University, Israel)

Alexander Lomin (Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Israel)

Tal Maaravi (Tel Aviv University, Israel)

Maria Makrinich (Tel Aviv University, Israel)

Davide Mandelli (Tel Aviv University, Israel)

Immanuel Meyer (Bar-Ilan University, Israel)

Wengen Ouyang (Tel Aviv University, Israel)

Alessia Perilli (Sapienza University of Rome, Italy)

Somrita Ray (Tel Aviv University, Israel)

Jakub Ślęzak (Bar-Ilan University, Israel)

Eial Teomy (Potsdam University, Germany)

Prasad Vadakke Veettil (Weizmann Institue of Science, Israel)

Ruoyu Yin (Bar-Ilan University, Israel)

Lior Zarfaty (Bar-Ilan University, Israel)





The program is available here.



Participation is free but requires registration in advance. There would be an on-site registration fee for un-registered participants. 

Registration before workshop (till October 1st) Late/On-site registration 
Students/Post-Docs Free  100 Euro
Faculty  Free 100 Euro
Tutors and invited
 No registration fees  No registration fees


Please register at:  registration

You can also contact us directly at with any question.


From the airport: Once you exit the terminal at Ben-Gurion airport, you will find a good (and relatively affordable) taxi service that can take you to your hotel. More information regarding this and other transportation routes to and from the airport (and a lot of other relevant information) can be found on the webpage of the Ministry of Tourism.

By car: Nearest exit to us from the Ayalon is Rokach Boulevard.

By bus: Lines 74, 86, 572, 274, 604, and 475 of the Egged bus company stop near the campus. Lines 7, 13, 24, 25, 27, 45, 49, and 112 of the Dan bus company have also nearby stops.

By train: The Tel Aviv University train station is within walking distance of the campus. Bus 112 can be also used to go back and forth between the train station and the campus. For additional information, see the Israel Railways website.


A. Tel Aviv University (TAU) Guest Houses (

We have a limited number of rooms available for our workshop guests at TAU's guest house "Broshim", which is within walking distance from the workshop's venue. These rooms cost 290 NIS pre night and will be reserved on a first-register first-served basis. 

Each room includes:

  • Linens and towels.
  • A fully operational kitchen including: pots and pans, cutlery, ceramic stove, microwave, kettle and refrigerator.
  • LCD 32'' television + expanded cable package.
  • Air conditioning/heating.
  • Free Wi-Fi access.
  • Basic coffee and tea set.

Please note that there is no breakfast service in the guest houses.

Reservations: for further details and reservations, please contact Yael Yogev (


Tel-Aviv University (TAU) has signed agreements with several hotels in the Tel-Aviv area to provide attractive prices for TAU affiliates. As participants of a CECAM activity @ TAU you are entitled to book these hotels at a reduced price. Transportation will be provided every day between the hotels and the site of the Workshop and back.

Available Hotels:

  • Shalom Hotel
    Rate per single room per night including breakfast: 770 NIS
    Rate per double room per night including breakfast: 847 NIS

  • Melody Hotel or Tal Hotel
    Rate per single room per night including breakfast: 715 NIS
    Rate per double room per night including breakfast: 792 NIS

  • Artplus  Hotel or Yam Hotel 
    Rate per single room per night including breakfast: 600 NIS
    Rate per double room per night including breakfast: 666 NIS

As a business client, you can enjoy the following:

  • Free WIFI throughout the hotel
  • Complimentary newspaper available (in English, Russian or Hebrew)
  • Happy Hour; complimentary beverages & snacks available every week day from 17:00h – 19:00h l.
  • Every guestroom comes equipped with coffee corner & mini-fridge
  • Free personal safe
  • In-room welcome refreshments
  • At the Artplus Hotel : Free dry sauna and gym.

For reservations - please fill and send the attached hotel registration form - Hotel Form- to Ms Ayelet Giat -


The workshop will be held at The Raymond & Beverly Sackler Faculty of Exact Sciences, Melamed Hall 006, inside the Tel Aviv University Campus.


An interactive map of TAU campus can be found at:



You can check the exact forecast close to your arrival at: weather forecast.


Located in Lausanne, Switzerland, CECAM is a well established (since 1969) European organization devoted to the promotion of fundamental research on advanced computational methods and to their application to important problems in frontier areas of science and technology. CECAM's fields of interest include computational chemistry, materials science, physics, and biology.