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Spring 2018

date speaker title host(s)
January 29 (Monday) Li Chao (Columbia) Elliptic curves and Goldfeld's conjecture Jordan Ellenberg
February 2 (Room: 911) Thomas Fai (Harvard) The Lubricated Immersed Boundary Method Spagnolie, Smith
February 5 (Monday, Room: 911) Alex Lubotzky (Hebrew University) High dimensional expanders: From Ramanujan graphs to Ramanujan complexes Ellenberg, Gurevitch
February 6 (Tuesday 2 pm, Room 911) Alex Lubotzky (Hebrew University) Groups' approximation, stability and high dimensional expanders Ellenberg, Gurevitch
February 9 Wes Pegden (CMU) The fractal nature of the Abelian Sandpile Roch
March 2 Aaron Bertram (University of Utah) Stability in Algebraic Geometry Caldararu
March 16 (Room: 911) Anne Gelb (Dartmouth) Reducing the effects of bad data measurements using variance based weighted joint sparsity WIMAW
April 5 (Thursday, Room: 911) John Baez (UC Riverside) Monoidal categories of networks Craciun
April 6 Edray Goins (Purdue) Toroidal Belyĭ Pairs, Toroidal Graphs, and their Monodromy Groups Melanie
April 13 (911 Van Vleck) Jill Pipher (Brown) Mathematical ideas in cryptography WIMAW
April 16 (Monday) Christine Berkesch Zamaere (University of Minnesota) Free complexes on smooth toric varieties Erman, Sam
April 25 (Wednesday, Room: 911) Hitoshi Ishii (Tsuda University) Wasow lecture Asymptotic problems for Hamilton-Jacobi equations and weak KAM theory Tran
May 1 (Tuesday, 4:30pm, Room: B102 VV) Andre Neves (University Chicago and Imperial College London) Distinguished lecture Wow, so many minimal surfaces! (Part I) Lu Wang
May 2 (Wednesday, 3pm, Room: B325 VV) Andre Neves (University of Chicago and Imperial College London) Distinguished lecture Wow, so many minimal surfaces! (Part II) Lu Wang
May 4 Henry Cohn (Microsoft Research and MIT) The sphere packing problem in dimensions 8 and 24 Ellenberg
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Spring Abstracts

January 29 Li Chao (Columbia)

Title: Elliptic curves and Goldfeld's conjecture

Abstract: An elliptic curve is a plane curve defined by a cubic equation. Determining whether such an equation has infinitely many rational solutions has been a central problem in number theory for centuries, which lead to the celebrated conjecture of Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer. Within a family of elliptic curves (such as the Mordell curve family y^2=x^3-d), a conjecture of Goldfeld further predicts that there should be infinitely many rational solutions exactly half of the time. We will start with a history of this problem, discuss our recent work (with D. Kriz) towards Goldfeld's conjecture and illustrate the key ideas and ingredients behind these new progresses.

February 2 Thomas Fai (Harvard)

Title: The Lubricated Immersed Boundary Method

Abstract: Many real-world examples of fluid-structure interaction, including the transit of red blood cells through the narrow slits in the spleen, involve the near-contact of elastic structures separated by thin layers of fluid. The separation of length scales between these fine lubrication layers and the larger elastic objects poses significant computational challenges. Motivated by the challenge of resolving such multiscale problems, we introduce an immersed boundary method that uses elements of lubrication theory to resolve thin fluid layers between immersed boundaries. We apply this method to two-dimensional flows of increasing complexity, including eccentric rotating cylinders and elastic vesicles near walls in shear flow, to show its increased accuracy compared to the classical immersed boundary method. We present preliminary simulation results of cell suspensions, a problem in which near-contact occurs at multiple levels, such as cell-wall, cell-cell, and intracellular interactions, to highlight the importance of resolving thin fluid layers in order to obtain the correct overall dynamics.

February 5 Alex Lubotzky (Hebrew University)

Title: High dimensional expanders: From Ramanujan graphs to Ramanujan complexes


Expander graphs in general, and Ramanujan graphs , in particular, have played a major role in computer science in the last 5 decades and more recently also in pure math. The first explicit construction of bounded degree expanding graphs was given by Margulis in the early 70's. In mid 80' Margulis and Lubotzky-Phillips-Sarnak provided Ramanujan graphs which are optimal such expanders.

In recent years a high dimensional theory of expanders is emerging. A notion of topological expanders was defined by Gromov in 2010 who proved that the complete d-dimensional simplical complexes are such. He raised the basic question of existence of such bounded degree complexes of dimension d>1.

This question was answered recently affirmatively (by T. Kaufman, D. Kazdhan and A. Lubotzky for d=2 and by S. Evra and T. Kaufman for general d) by showing that the d-skeleton of (d+1)-dimensional Ramanujan complexes provide such topological expanders. We will describe these developments and the general area of high dimensional expanders.

February 6 Alex Lubotzky (Hebrew University)

Title: Groups' approximation, stability and high dimensional expanders


Several well-known open questions, such as: are all groups sofic or hyperlinear?, have a common form: can all groups be approximated by asymptotic homomorphisms into the symmetric groups Sym(n) (in the sofic case) or the unitary groups U(n) (in the hyperlinear case)? In the case of U(n), the question can be asked with respect to different metrics and norms. We answer, for the first time, one of these versions, showing that there exist fintely presented groups which are not approximated by U(n) with respect to the Frobenius (=L_2) norm.

The strategy is via the notion of "stability": some higher dimensional cohomology vanishing phenomena is proven to imply stability and using high dimensional expanders, it is shown that some non-residually finite groups (central extensions of some lattices in p-adic Lie groups) are Frobenious stable and hence cannot be Frobenius approximated.

All notions will be explained. Joint work with M, De Chiffre, L. Glebsky and A. Thom.

February 9 Wes Pegden (CMU)

Title: The fractal nature of the Abelian Sandpile

Abstract: The Abelian Sandpile is a simple diffusion process on the integer lattice, in which configurations of chips disperse according to a simple rule: when a vertex has at least 4 chips, it can distribute one chip to each neighbor.

Introduced in the statistical physics community in the 1980s, the Abelian sandpile exhibits striking fractal behavior which long resisted rigorous mathematical analysis (or even a plausible explanation). We now have a relatively robust mathematical understanding of this fractal nature of the sandpile, which involves surprising connections between integer superharmonic functions on the lattice, discrete tilings of the plane, and Apollonian circle packings. In this talk, we will survey our work in this area, and discuss avenues of current and future research.

March 2 Aaron Bertram (Utah)

Title: Stability in Algebraic Geometry

Abstract: Stability was originally introduced in algebraic geometry in the context of finding a projective quotient space for the action of an algebraic group on a projective manifold. This, in turn, led in the 1960s to a notion of slope-stability for vector bundles on a Riemann surface, which was an important tool in the classification of vector bundles. In the 1990s, mirror symmetry considerations led Michael Douglas to notions of stability for "D-branes" (on a higher-dimensional manifold) that corresponded to no previously known mathematical definition. We now understand each of these notions of stability as a distinct point of a complex "stability manifold" that is an important invariant of the (derived) category of complexes of vector bundles of a projective manifold. In this talk I want to give some examples to illustrate the various stabilities, and also to describe some current work in the area.

March 16 Anne Gelb (Dartmouth)

Title: Reducing the effects of bad data measurements using variance based weighted joint sparsity

Abstract: We introduce the variance based joint sparsity (VBJS) method for sparse signal recovery and image reconstruction from multiple measurement vectors. Joint sparsity techniques employing $\ell_{2,1}$ minimization are typically used, but the algorithm is computationally intensive and requires fine tuning of parameters. The VBJS method uses a weighted $\ell_1$ joint sparsity algorithm, where the weights depend on the pixel-wise variance. The VBJS method is accurate, robust, cost efficient and also reduces the effects of false data.

April 5 John Baez (UC Riverside)

Title: Monoidal categories of networks

Abstract: Nature and the world of human technology are full of networks. People like to draw diagrams of networks: flow charts, electrical circuit diagrams, chemical reaction networks, signal-flow graphs, Bayesian networks, food webs, Feynman diagrams and the like. Far from mere informal tools, many of these diagrammatic languages fit into a rigorous framework: category theory. I will explain a bit of how this works and discuss some applications.

April 6 Edray Goins (Purdue)

Title: Toroidal Belyĭ Pairs, Toroidal Graphs, and their Monodromy Groups

Abstract: A Belyĭ map [math]\displaystyle{ \beta: \mathbb P^1(\mathbb C) \to \mathbb P^1(\mathbb C) }[/math] is a rational function with at most three critical values; we may assume these values are [math]\displaystyle{ \{ 0, \, 1, \, \infty \}. }[/math] A Dessin d'Enfant is a planar bipartite graph obtained by considering the preimage of a path between two of these critical values, usually taken to be the line segment from 0 to 1. Such graphs can be drawn on the sphere by composing with stereographic projection: [math]\displaystyle{ \beta^{-1} \bigl( [0,1] \bigr) \subseteq \mathbb P^1(\mathbb C) \simeq S^2(\mathbb R). }[/math] Replacing [math]\displaystyle{ \mathbb P^1 }[/math] with an elliptic curve [math]\displaystyle{ E }[/math], there is a similar definition of a Belyĭ map [math]\displaystyle{ \beta: E(\mathbb C) \to \mathbb P^1(\mathbb C). }[/math] Since [math]\displaystyle{ E(\mathbb C) \simeq \mathbb T^2(\mathbb R) }[/math] is a torus, we call [math]\displaystyle{ (E, \beta) }[/math] a toroidal Belyĭ pair. The corresponding Dessin d'Enfant can be drawn on the torus by composing with an elliptic logarithm: [math]\displaystyle{ \beta^{-1} \bigl( [0,1] \bigr) \subseteq E(\mathbb C) \simeq \mathbb T^2(\mathbb R). }[/math]

This project seeks to create a database of such Belyĭ pairs, their corresponding Dessins d'Enfant, and their monodromy groups. For each positive integer [math]\displaystyle{ N }[/math], there are only finitely many toroidal Belyĭ pairs [math]\displaystyle{ (E, \beta) }[/math] with [math]\displaystyle{ \deg \, \beta = N. }[/math] Using the Hurwitz Genus formula, we can begin this database by considering all possible degree sequences [math]\displaystyle{ \mathcal D }[/math] on the ramification indices as multisets on three partitions of N. For each degree sequence, we compute all possible monodromy groups [math]\displaystyle{ G = \text{im} \, \bigl[ \pi_1 \bigl( \mathbb P^1(\mathbb C) - \{ 0, \, 1, \, \infty \} \bigr) \to S_N \bigr]; }[/math] they are the ``Galois closure of the group of automorphisms of the graph. Finally, for each possible monodromy group, we compute explicit formulas for Belyĭ maps [math]\displaystyle{ \beta: E(\mathbb C) \to \mathbb P^1(\mathbb C) }[/math] associated to some elliptic curve [math]\displaystyle{ E: \ y^2 = x^3 + A \, x + B. }[/math] We will discuss some of the challenges of determining the structure of these groups, and present visualizations of group actions on the torus.

This work is part of PRiME (Purdue Research in Mathematics Experience) with Chineze Christopher, Robert Dicks, Gina Ferolito, Joseph Sauder, and Danika Van Niel with assistance by Edray Goins and Abhishek Parab.

April 13, Jill Pipher, Brown University

Title: Mathematical ideas in cryptography

Abstract: This talk does not assume prior knowledge of public key crypto (PKC). I'll talk about the history of the subject and some current areas of research, including homomorphic encryption.

April 16, Christine Berkesch Zamaere (University of Minnesota)

Title: Free complexes on smooth toric varieties

Abstract: Free resolutions have been a key part of using homological algebra to compute and characterize geometric invariants over projective space. Over more general smooth toric varieties, this is not the case. We will discuss the another family of complexes, called virtual resolutions, which appear to play the role of free resolutions in this setting. This is joint work with Daniel Erman and Gregory G. Smith.

April 25, Hitoshi Ishii (Tsuda University)

Title: Asymptotic problems for Hamilton-Jacobi equations and weak KAM theory

Abstract: In the lecture, I discuss two asymptotic problems related to Hamilton-Jacobi equations. One concerns the long-time behavior of solutions of time evolutionary Hamilton-Jacobi equations and the other is the so-called vanishing discount problem for stationary Hamilton-Jacobi equations. The last two decades have seen a fundamental importance of weak KAM theory in the asymptotic analysis of Hamilton-Jacobi equations. I explain briefly the Aubry sets and Mather measures from weak KAM theory and their use in the analysis of the two asymptotic problems above.

May 1 and 2, Andre Neves (University of Chicago and Imperial College London)

Title: Wow, so many minimal surfaces!

Abstract: Minimal surfaces are ubiquitous in geometry and applied science but their existence theory is rather mysterious. For instance, Yau in 1982 conjectured that any 3-manifold admits infinitely many closed minimal surfaces but the best one knows is the existence of at least three.

After a brief historical account, I will talk about my ongoing work with Marques and the progress we made on this question jointly with Irie and Song: we showed that for generic metrics, minimal hypersurfaces are dense and equidistributed. In particular, this settles Yau’s conjecture for generic metrics.

The first talk will be more general and the second talk will contain proofs of the denseness and equidistribution results. This part is joint work with Irie, Marques, and Song.

May 4, Henry Cohn (Microsoft Research and MIT)

Title: The sphere packing problem in dimensions 8 and 24

Abstract: What is the densest packing of congruent spheres in Euclidean space? This problem arises naturally in geometry, number theory, and information theory, but it is notoriously difficult to solve, and until recently no sharp bounds were known above three dimensions. In 2016 Maryna Viazovska found a remarkable solution of the sphere packing problem in eight dimensions, which is much simpler than the proof in three dimensions but tells us nothing about dimensions four through seven. In this talk I'll describe how her breakthrough works and where it comes from, as well as follow-up work extending it to twenty-four dimensions (joint work with Kumar, Miller, Radchenko, and Viazovska).