Grassmannians and Random Polygons

Geometry Topology Seminar
Monday, November 7, 2011 - 2:00pm for 1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Skiles 005
Clay Shonkwiler – UGA
John Etnyre
In 1997 Hausmann and Knutson discovered a remarkable correspondence between complex Grassmannians and closed polygons which yields a natural symmetric Riemannian metric on the space of polygons. In this talk I will describe how these symmetries can be exploited to make interesting calculations in the probability theory of the space of polygons, including simple and explicit formulae for the expected values of chord lengths. I will also give a simple and fast algorithm for sampling random polygons--which serve as a statistical model for polymers--directly from this probability distribution.