The curve complex on an orientable surface, introduced by William Harvey about 30 years ago, is the abstract simplicial complex whose vertices are isotopy classes of simple close curves. A set of vertices forms a simplex if they can be represented by pairwise disjoint elements. The mapping class group of S acts on this complex in a noatural way, inducing a homomorphism from the mapping class group to the group of automorphisms of the curve complex. A remarkable theorem of Nikolai V. Ivanov says that this natural homomorphism is an isomorphism. From this fact, some algebraic properties of the mapping class group has been proved. In the last twenty years, this result has been extended in various directions. In the joint work with Ferihe Atalan, we have proved the corresponding theorem for nonorientable surfaces: the natural map from the mapping class group of a nonorientable surface to the automorphism group of the curve compex is an isomorphism. I will discuss the proof of this theorem and possible applications to the structure of the mapping class groups

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