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Series: Geometry Topology Seminar

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.

Series: Geometry Topology Seminar

We will describe a geometric interpretation of Khovanov homology as Lagrangian Floer homology of two immersed curves in the 4-punctured 2-dimensional sphere. The main ingredient is a construction which associates an immersed curve to a 4-ended tangle. This curve is a geometric way to represent Khovanov (or Bar-Natan) invariant for a tangle. We will show that for a rational tangle the curve coincides with the representation variety of the tangle complement. The construction is inspired by a result of [Hedden, Herald, Hogancamp, Kirk], which embeds 4-ended reduced Khovanov arc algebra (or, equivalently, Bar-Natan dotted cobordism algebra) into the Fukaya category of the 4-punctured sphere. The main tool we will use is a category of peculiar modules, introduced by Zibrowius, which is a model for the Fukaya category of a 2-sphere with 4 discs removed. This is joint work with Claudius Zibrowius and Liam Watson.

Series: Analysis Seminar

Spherical averages, in the continuous and discrete setting, are a canonical example of averages over lower dimensional varieties. We demonstrate here a new approach to proving the sparse bounds for these opertators. This approach is a modification of an old technique of Bourgain.

Series: High Dimensional Seminar

We show that there is a symmetric n-dimensional convex set whose Banach--Mazur distance to the cube is bounded below by n^{5/9}/polylog(n). This improves previously know estimate due to S.Szarek, and confirms a conjecture of A.Naor. The proof is based on probabilistic arguments.

Series: Graph Theory Working Seminar

Many combinatorial questions can be formulated as problems about independent sets in uniform hypegraphs, including questions about number of sets with no $k$-term arithmetic progression and questions about typical structure of $H$-free graphs. Balogh, Morris, and Samotij and, independently, Saxton and Thomason gave an approximate structural characterization of all independent sets in uniform hypergraphs with natural contitions on edge distributions, using something called "containers". We will go through the proof of the hypergraph container result of Balogh, Morris, and Samotij. We will also discuss some applications of this container result.

Series: Graph Theory Seminar

Vertex minors are a weakening of the notion of induced subgraphs that

benefit from many additional nice properties. In particular, there is a

vertex minor version of Menger's Theorem proven by Oum. This theorem

gives rise to a natural analog of branch-width called rank-width.

Similarly to the Grid Theorem of Robertson and Seymour, we prove that a

class of graphs has unbounded rank-width if and only if it contains all

"comparability grids'' as vertex minors. This is joint work with Jim

Geelen, O-joung Kwon, and Paul Wollan.

Series: Stochastics Seminar

This talk concerns the description and analysis of a variational framework for empirical risk minimization. In its most general form the framework concerns a two-stage estimation procedure in which (i) the trajectory of an observed (but unknown) dynamical system is fit to a trajectory from a known reference dynamical system by minimizing average per-state loss, and (ii) a parameter estimate is obtained from the initial state of the best fit reference trajectory. I will show that the empirical risk of the best fit trajectory converges almost surely to a constant that can be expressed in variational form as the minimal expected loss over dynamically invariant couplings (joinings) of the observed and reference systems. Moreover, the family of joinings minimizing the expected loss fully characterizes the asymptotic behavior of the estimated parameters. I will illustrate the breadth of the variational framework through applications to the well-studied problems of maximum likelihood estimation and non-linear regression, as well as the analysis of system identification from quantized trajectories subject to noise, a problem in which the models themselves exhibit dynamical behavior across time.

Series: Combinatorics Seminar