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Series: PDE Seminar

We study the problem of constructing systems of hyperbolic conservation laws with prescribed eigencurves, i.e. the eigenvector fields of the Jacobian of the flux are given. We formulate this as a (typically overdetermined) system of equations for the eigenvalues-to-be. Equivalent formulations in terms of differential and algebraic-differential equations are considered. The resulting equations are then analyzed with techniques from exterior differential systems (Cartan-Kahler theory). The cases of 2x2- and 3x3-systems can be treated in detail, and explicit examples show that already the 3x3-case is fairly complex. We also analyze general rich systems. We also characterize conservative systems with the same eigencurves as compressible gas dynamics. This is joint work with Irina Kogan (North Carolina State University).

Series: PDE Seminar

We will give an overview of results on the global existence of solutions to the initial value problem for nonlinear elastic and viscoelastic materials in 3d without boundary. Materials will be assumed to be isotropic, but both compressible and incompressible cases will be discussed. In the compressible case, a key null condition must be imposed to control nonlinear interactions of pressure waves. This necessary assumption is consistent with the physical model. Initial conditions are small perturbations of a stress free reference state. Existence is proven using a fixed point argument which combines energy estimates and with some new dispersive estimates.

Series: PDE Seminar

We discuss the global regularity vs. finite time breakdown in Eulerian dynamics, driven by different models of nonlinear forcing. Finite time breakdown depends on whether the initial configuration crosses intrinsic, O(1) critical thresholds (CT). Our approach is based on spectral dynamics, tracing the eigenvalues of the velocity gradient which determine the boundaries of CT surfaces in configuration space. We demonstrate this critical threshold phenomena with several n-dimensional prototype models. For n=2 we show that when rotational forcing dominates the pressure, it prolongs the life-span of sub-critical 2D shallow-water solutions. We present a stability theory for vanishing viscosity solutions of the 2D nonlinear "pressureless" convection. We revisit the 3D restricted Euler and Euler-Poisson equations, and obtain a surprising global existence result for a large set of sub-critical initial data in the 4D case.

Series: PDE Seminar

We consider the the following fourth order degenerate parabolic equation h_t + (hh_xxx)_x = 0. The equation arises in the lubrication approximation regime, describing the spreading of a thin film liquid with height profile h >= 0 on a plate. We consider the equation as free boundary problem, defined on its positivity set. We address existence and regularity of classical solutions in weighted Hölder and Sobolev spaces.

Series: PDE Seminar

In this talk I will describe recent work with C. N. Moore about the two-phase Stefan problem with a degenerate zone. We start with local solutions (no reference to initial or boundary data) and then obtain intrinsic energy estimates, that will in turn lead to the continuity of the temperature. We then show existence and uniqueness of solutions with signed measures as data. The uniqueness problem with signed measure data has been open for some 30 years for any degenerate parabolic equation.

Series: PDE Seminar

The problem of understanding the parabolic hull of Brownian motion arises in two different fields. In mathematical physics this is the Burgers-Hopf caricature of turbulence (very interesting, even if not entirely turbulent). In statistics, the limit distribution we study was first considered by Chernoff, and forms the cornerstone of a large class of limit theorems that have now come to be called 'cube-root-asymptotics'. It was in the statistical context that the problem was first solved completely in the mid-80s by Groeneboom in a tour de force of hard analysis. We consider another approach to his solution motivated by recent work on stochastic coalescence (especially work of Duchon, Bertoin, and my joint work with Bob Pego). The virtues of this approach are simplicity, generality, and the appearance of a completely unexpected Lax pair. If time permits, I will also indicate some tantalizing links of this approach with random matrices. This work forms part of my student Ravi Srinivasan's dissertation.

Series: PDE Seminar

We study generalized traveling front solutions of reaction-diffusion equations modeling flame propagation in combustible media. Although the case of periodic media has been studied extensively, until very recently little has been known for general disordered media. In this talk we will address questions of existence, uniqueness, and stability of traveling fronts in this framework.

Series: PDE Seminar

The transportation problem can be formulated as the problem of finding the optimal way to transport a given measure into another with the same mass. In mathematics, there are at least two different but very important types of optimal transportation: Monge-Kantorovich problem and ramified transportation. In this talk, I will give a brief introduction to the theory of ramified optimal transportation. In terms of applied mathematics, optimal transport paths are used to model many "tree shaped" branching structures, which are commonly found in many living and nonliving systems. Trees, river channel networks, blood vessels, lungs, electrical power supply systems, draining and irrigation systems are just some examples. After briefly describing some basic properties (e.g. existence, regularity) as well as numerical simulation of optimal transport paths, I will use this theory to explain the dynamic formation of tree leaves. On the other hand, optimal transport paths provide excellent examples for studying geodesic problems in quasi-metric spaces, where the distance functions satisfied a relaxed triangle inequality: d(x,y) <= K(d(x,z)+d(z,y)). Then, I will introduce a new concept "dimensional distance" on the space of probability measures. With respect to this new metric, the dimension of a probability measure is just the distance of the measure to any atomic measure. In particular, measures concentrated on self-similar fractals (e.g. Cantor set, fat Cantor sets) will be of great interest to us.

Series: PDE Seminar

In this talk I will present Hamiltonian identities for elliptic PDEs and systems of PDEs. I will also show some interesting applications of these identities to problems related to solutions of some nonlinear elliptic equations in the entire space or plane. In particular, I will give a rigorous proof to the Young's law in triple junction configuration for a vector-valued Allen Cahn model arising in phase transition; a necessary condition for the existence of certain saddle solutions for Allen-Cahn equation with asymmetric double well potential will be derived, and the structure of level sets of general saddle solutions will also be discussed.

Series: PDE Seminar

Image segmentation has been widely studied, specially since Mumford-Shah functional was been proposed. Many theoretical works as well as numerous extensions have been studied rough out the years. In this talk, I will focus on couple of variational models for multi-phase segmentation. For the first model, we propose a model built upon the phase transition model of Modica and Mortola in material sciences and a properly synchronized fitting term that complements it. For the second model, we propose a variational functional for an unsupervised multiphase segmentation, by adding scale information of each phase. This model is able to deal with the instability issue associated with choosing the number of phases for multiphase segmentation.