Seminars and Colloquia by Series

Thursday, October 5, 2017 - 11:05 , Location: Skiles 005 , Yuri Kifer , Hebrew University , Organizer:
Thursday, March 30, 2017 - 11:05 , Location: Skiles 006 , Larry Goldstein , University of Southern California , Organizer: Christian Houdre
Charles Stein brought the method that now bears his name to life in a 1972 Berkeley symposium paper that presented a new way to obtain information on the quality of the normal approximation, justified by the Central Limit Theorem asymptotic, by operating directly on random variables. At the heart of the method is the seemingly harmless characterization that a random variable $W$ has the standard normal ${\cal N}(0,1)$ distribution if and only if E[Wf(W)]=E[f'(W)] for all functions $f$ for which these expressions exist. From its inception, it was clear that Stein's approach had the power to provide non-asymptotic bounds, and to handle various dependency structures. In the near half century since the appearance of this work for the normal, the `characterizing equation' approach driving Stein's method has been applied to roughly thirty additional distributions using variations of the basic techniques, coupling and distributional transformations among them. Further offshoots are connections to Malliavin calculus and the concentration of measure phenomenon, and applications to random graphs and permutations, statistics, stochastic integrals, molecular biology and physics.
Thursday, March 16, 2017 - 16:05 , Location: Skiles 006 , Erich Kaltofen , North Carolina State University , Organizer: Anton Leykin
We present algorithms for performing sparse univariate polynomial interpolation with errors in the evaluations of the polynomial. Our interpolation algorithms use as a substep an algorithm that originally is by R. Prony from the French Revolution (Year III, 1795) for interpolating exponential sums and which is rediscovered to decode digital error correcting BCH codes over finite fields (1960). Since Prony's algorithm is quite simple, we will give a complete description, as an alternative for Lagrange/Newton interpolation for sparse polynomials. When very few errors in the evaluations are permitted, multiple sparse interpolants are possible over finite fields or the complex numbers, but not over the real numbers. The problem is then a simple example of list-decoding in the sense of Guruswami-Sudan. Finally, we present a connection to the Erdoes-Turan Conjecture (Szemeredi's Theorem). This is joint work with Clement Pernet, Univ. Grenoble.
Thursday, March 2, 2017 - 11:05 , Location: Skiles 006 , Sam Payne , Yale University , Organizer: Anton Leykin
The piecewise linear objects appearing in tropical geometry are shadows, or skeletons, of nonarchimedean analytic spaces, in the sense of Berkovich, and often capture enough essential information about those spaces to resolve interesting questions about classical algebraic varieties.  I will give an overview of tropical geometry as it relates to the study of algebraic curves, touching on applications to moduli spaces.
Thursday, January 26, 2017 - 11:05 , Location: Skiles 006 , Bill Massey , Princeton , Organizer: Shahaf Nitzan
The multi-server queue with non-homogeneous Poisson arrivals and customer abandonment is a fundamental dynamic rate queueing model for large scale service systems such as call centers and hospitals. Scaling the arrival rates and number of servers gives us fluid and diffusion limits. The diffusion limit suggests a Gaussian approximation to the stochastic behavior. The fluid mean and diffusion variance can form a two-dimensional dynamical system that approximates the actual transient mean and variance for the queueing process. Recent work showed that a better approximation for mean and variance can be computed from a related two-dimensional dynamical system. In this spirit, we introduce a new three-dimensional dynamical system that estimates the mean, variance, and third cumulant moment. This surpasses the previous two approaches by fitting the number in the queue to a quadratic function of a Gaussian random variable. This is based on a paper published in QUESTA and is joint work with Jamol Pender of Cornell University.
Thursday, January 19, 2017 - 11:05 , Location: Skiles 006 , Alex Haro , Univ. of Barcelona , , Organizer: Yao Yao
The long term behavior of dynamical systems can be understood by studying invariant manifolds that act as  landmarks that anchor the orbits. It is important to understand which invariant manifolds persist under modifications of the system. A deep mathematical theory, developed in the 70's shows that invariant manifolds which persist under changes are those that have sharp expansion (in the future or in the past) in the the normal directions. A deep question is what happens in the boundary of these theorems of persistence. This question requires to understand the interplay between the geometric properties and the functional analysis of the functional equations involved.In this talk we present several mechanisms in which properties of normal hyperbolicity degenerate, so leading to the breakdown of the invariant manifold. Numerical studies lead to surprising conjectures relating the breakdown to phenomena in phase transitions. The results have been obtained combining numerical exploration and rigorous reasoning.
Tuesday, January 3, 2017 - 11:05 , Location: Skiles 006 , Barry Simon , California Institute of Technology , Organizer: Shahaf Nitzan
This is not a mathematics talk but it is a talk for mathematicians. Too often, we think of historical mathematicians as only names assigned to theorems. With vignettes and anecdotes, I'll convince you they were also human beings and that, as the Chinese say, "May you live in interesting times" really is a curse.  More tales following up on the talk I gave at GaTech in Nov., 2013.  It is not assumed listeners heard that earlier talk.
Friday, December 9, 2016 - 16:00 , Location: Skiles 006 , Daniel Wise , McGill University , Organizer: John Etnyre
Cube complexes have come to play an increasingly central role within geometric group theory, as their connection to right-angled Artin groups provides a powerful combinatorial bridge between geometry and algebra. This talk will introduce nonpositively curved cube complexes, and then describe the developments that have recently culminated in the resolution of the virtual Haken conjecture for 3-manifolds, and simultaneously dramatically extended our understanding of many infinite groups.
Thursday, December 1, 2016 - 11:05 , Location: Skiles 006 , Ronen Eldan , Weizmann Institute of Science , , Organizer: Galyna Livshyts
The probabilistic method, pioneered by P. Erdös, has been key in many proofs from asymptotic geometric analysis. This method allows one to take advantage of numerous tools and concepts from probability theory to prove theorems which are not necessarily a-priori related to probability. The objective of this talk is to demonstrate several recent results which take advantage of stochastic calculus to prove results of a geometric nature. We will mainly focus on a specific construction of a moment-generating process, which can be thought of as a stochastic version of the logarithmic Laplace transform. The method we introduce allows us to attain a different viewpoint on the method of semigroup proofs, namely a path-wise point of view. We will first discuss an application of this method to concentration inequalities on high dimensional convex sets. Then, we will briefly discuss an application to two new functional inequalities on Gaussian space; an L1 version of hypercontractivity of the convolution operator related to a conjecture of Talagrand (joint with J. Lee) and a robustness estimate for the Gaussian noise-stability inequality of C.Borell (improving a result of Mossel and Neeman).
Thursday, November 17, 2016 - 11:05 , Location: Skiles 006 , Andrew Suk , University of Illinois at Chicago , Organizer: Shahaf Nitzan
The classic 1935 paper of Erdos and Szekeres entitled ``A combinatorial problem in geometry" was a starting point of a very rich discipline within combinatorics: Ramsey theory.  In that paper, Erdos and Szekeres studied the following geometric problem.  For every integer n \geq 3, determine the smallest integer ES(n) such that any set of ES(n) points in the plane in general position contains n members in convex position, that is, n points that form the vertex set of a convex polygon.  Their main result showed that ES(n) \leq {2n  - 4\choose n-2} + 1 = 4^{n -o(n)}.  In 1960, they showed that ES(n) \geq 2^{n-2} + 1 and conjectured this to be optimal.  Despite the efforts of many researchers, no improvement in the order of magnitude has been made on the upper bound over the last 81 years. In this talk, we will sketch a proof showing that ES(n) =2^{n +o(n)}.