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This volume contains the proceedings of the 1995 AMS-IMS-SIAM Joint Summer Research Conference on Matroid Theory held at the University of Washington, Seattle. The book features three comprehensive surveys that bring the reader to the forefront of research in matroid theory. Joseph Kung's encyclopedic treatment of the critical problem traces the development of this problem from its origins through its numerous links with other branches of mathematics to the current status of its many aspects. James Oxley's survey of the role of connectivity and structure theorems in matroid theory stresses the influence of the Wheels and Whirls Theorem of Tutte and the Splitter Theorem of Seymour. Walter Whiteley's article unifies applications of matroid theory to constrained geometrical systems, including the rigidity of bar-and-joint frameworks, parallel drawings, and splines. These widely accessible articles contain many new results and directions for further research and applications. The surveys are complemented by selected short research papers. The volume concludes with a chapter of open problems. Features self-contained, accessible surveys of three active research areas in matroid theory; many new results; pointers to new research topics; a chapter of open problems; mathematical applications; and applications and connections to other disciplines, such as computer-aided design and electrical and structural engineering.