Joint GT-UGA Seminar at UGA - Homological knot invariants and the unknotting number

Geometry Topology Seminar
Monday, August 27, 2018 - 2:30pm
1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Boyd 328
Columbia University
Unknotting number is one of the simplest, yet mysterious, knot invariants. For example, it is not known whether it is additive under connected sum or not. In this talk, we will construct lower bounds for the unknotting number using two homological knot invariants: knot Floer homology, and (variants of) Khovanov homology. Unlike most lower bounds for the unknotting number, these invariants are not lower bound for the slice genus and they only vanish for the unknot. Parallely, we will discuss connections between knot Floer homology and (variants of) Khovanov homology. One main conjecture relating knot Floer homology and Khovanov homology is that there is a spectral sequence from Khovanov homology to knot Floer homology. If time permits, we will sketch an algebraically defined knot invariant, for which there is a spectral sequence from Khovanov homology converging to it. The construction is inspired by counting holomorphic discs, so we expect it to recover the knot Floer homology. This talk is based on joint works with Eaman Eftekhary and Nathan Dowlin.