Seminars and Colloquia by Series

Series: Other Talks
Monday, September 14, 2009 - 15:00 , Location: Student Services Building, Auditorium 117 , Richard Tapia , Rice University , Organizer: Robin Thomas
In this talk Professor Tapia identifies elementary mathematical frameworks for the study of popular drag racing beliefs. In this manner some myths are validated while others are destroyed. Tapia will explain why dragster acceleration is greater than the acceleration due to gravity, an age old inconsistency. His "Fundamental Theorem of Drag Racing" will be presented. The first part of the talk will be a historical account of the development of drag racing and will include several lively videos.
Monday, September 14, 2009 - 14:00 , Location: Skiles 269 , Dishant M. Pancholi , International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy , Organizer: John Etnyre
 After reviewing a few techniques from the theory of confoliation in dimension three we will discuss some generalizations and certain obstructions in extending these techniques to higher dimensions. We also will try to discuss a few questions regarding higher dimensional confoliations. 
Monday, September 14, 2009 - 11:00 , Location: Skiles 269 , Jose M. Arrieta , Universidad Complutense de Madrid , Organizer: Yingfei Yi
We study the behavior of the asymptotic dynamics of a dissipative reaction-diffusion equation in a dumbbell domain, which, roughly speaking, consists of two fixed domains joined by a thin channel. We analyze the behavior of the stationary solutions (solutions of the elliptic problem), their local unstable manifold and the attractor of the equation as the width of the connecting channel goes to zero.
Friday, September 11, 2009 - 15:00 , Location: Skiles 255 , Jinwoo Shin , MIT , Organizer: Prasad Tetali
We consider the #P complete problem of counting the number of independent sets in a given graph. Our interest is in understanding the effectiveness of the popular Belief Propagation (BP) heuristic. BP is a simple and iterative algorithm that is known to have at least one fixed point. Each fixed point corresponds to a stationary point of the Bethe free energy (introduced by Yedidia, Freeman and Weiss (2004) in recognition of Hans Bethe's earlier work (1935)). The evaluation of the Bethe Free Energy at such a stationary point (or BP fixed point) leads to the Bethe approximation to the number of independent sets of the given graph. In general BP is not known to converge nor is an efficient, convergent procedure for finding stationary points of the Bethe free energy known. Further, effectiveness of Bethe approximation is not well understood. As the first result of this paper, we propose a BP-like algorithm that always converges to a BP fixed point for any graph. Further, it finds an \epsilon approximate fixed point in poly(n, 2^d, 1/\epsilon) iterations for a graph of n nodes with max-degree d. As the next step, we study the quality of this approximation. Using the recently developed 'loop series' approach by Chertkov and Chernyak, we establish that for any graph of n nodes with max-degree d and girth larger than 8d log n, the multiplicative error decays as 1 + O(n^-\gamma) for some \gamma > 0. This provides a deterministic counting algorithm that leads to strictly different results compared to a recent result of Weitz (2006). Finally as a consequence of our results, we prove that the Bethe approximation is exceedingly good for a random 3-regular graph conditioned on the Shortest Cycle Cover Conjecture of Alon and Tarsi (1985) being true. (Joint work with Venkat Chandrasekaran, Michael Chertkov, David Gamarnik and Devavrat Shah)
Friday, September 11, 2009 - 15:00 , Location: Skiles 269 , John Etnyre , Georgia Tech , Organizer:
We will discuss how to put a hyperbolic structure on various surface and 3-manifolds. We will being by discussing isometries  of hyperbolic space in dimension 2 and 3. Using our understanding of these isometries we will explicitly construct hyperbolic structures on all close surfaces of genus greater than one and a complete finite volume hyperbolic structure on the punctured torus. We will then consider the three dimensional case where we will concentrate on putting hyperbolic structures on knot complements. (Note: this is a 2 hr seminar)
Friday, September 11, 2009 - 15:00 , Location: Skiles 154 , Sergio Almada , Georgia Tech , Organizer:
The talk is based on the recent paper by M.Hairer, J.Mattingly, and M.Scheutzow with the same title.There are many Markov chains on infinite dimensional spaces whose one-step transition kernels are mutually singular when starting from different initial conditions. We give results which prove unique ergodicity under minimal assumptions on one hand and the existence of a spectral gap under conditions reminiscent of Harris' theorem. The first uses the existence of couplings which draw the solutions together as time goes to infinity. Such "asymptotic couplings" were central to recent work on SPDEs on which this work builds. The emphasis here is on stochastic differential delay equations.Harris' celebrated theorem states that if a Markov chain admits a Lyapunov function whose level sets are "small" (in the sense that transition probabilities are uniformly bounded from below), then it admits a unique invariant measure and transition probabilities converge towards it at exponential speed. This convergence takes place in a total variation norm, weighted by the Lyapunov function. A second aim of this article is to replace the notion of a "small set" by the much weaker notion of a "d-small set," which takes the topology of the underlying space into account via a distance-like function d. With this notion at hand, we prove an analogue to Harris' theorem, where the convergence takes place in a Wasserstein-like distance weighted again by the Lyapunov function. This abstract result is then applied to the framework of stochastic delay equations.
Friday, September 11, 2009 - 13:00 , Location: Skiles 255 , Ruoting Gong , Georgia Tech , , Organizer:
We develop a stochastic control system from a continuous-time Principal-Agent model in which both the principal and the agent have imperfect information and different beliefs about the project. We attempt to optimize the agent’s utility function under the agent’s belief. Via the corresponding Hamilton-Jacobi-Bellman equation we prove that the value function is jointly continuous and satisfies the Dynamic Programming Principle. These properties directly lead to the conclusion that the value function is a viscosity solution of the HJB equation. Uniqueness is then also established.
Thursday, September 10, 2009 - 15:00 , Location: Skiles 269 , Christian Houdré , Georgia Tech , Organizer:

Given a random word of size n whose letters are drawn independently
from an ordered alphabet of size m, the fluctuations of the shape of
the corresponding random RSK Young tableaux are investigated, when both
n and m converge together to infinity. If m does not grow too fast and
if the draws are uniform, the limiting shape is the same as the
limiting spectrum of the GUE. In the non-uniform case, a control of
both highest probabilities will ensure the convergence of the first row
of the tableau, i.e., of the length of the longest increasing
subsequence of the random word, towards the Tracy-Widom distribution.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009 - 14:00 , Location: Skiles 269 , Shannon Bishop , Georgia Tech , Organizer:
We describe how time-frequency analysis is used to analyze boundedness and Schatten class properties of pseudodifferential operators and Fourier integral operators.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009 - 13:00 , Location: Skiles 114 , Amy Novick-Cohen , Technion , Organizer: John McCuan
Grain boundaries within polycrystalline materials are known to be governed by motion by mean curvature. However, when the polycrystalline specimen is thin, such as in thin films, then the effects of the exterior surfaces start to play an important role. We consider two particularly simple geometries, an axi-symmetric geometry, and a half loop geometry which is often employed in making measurements of the kinetic coefficient in the motion by mean curvature equation, obtaining corrective terms which arise due to the coupling of grain boundaries to the exterior surface.   Joint work with Anna Rotman, Arkady Vilenkin & Olga Zelekman-Smirin