School of Mathematics Colloquium
Friday, November 16, 2018 - 11:00am
1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
University of Michigan
please note special time!
Random matrices arise naturally in various contexts ranging from theoretical physics to computer science. In a large part of these problems, it is important to know the behavior of the spectral characteristics of a random matrix of a large but fixed size. We will discuss a recent progress in this area illustrating it by problems coming from combinatorics and computer science: Condition number of “full” and sparse random matrices. Consider a system of linear equations Ax = b where the right hand side is known only approximately. In the process of solving this system, the error in vector b gets magnified by the condition number of the matrix A. A conjecture of von Neumann that with high probability, the condition number of an n × n random matrix with independent entries is O(n) has been proven several years ago. We will discuss this result as well as the possibility of its extension to sparse matrices. Random matrices in combinatorics. A perfect matching in a graph with an even number of vertices is a pairing of vertices connected by edges of the graph. Evaluating or even estimating the number of perfect matchings in a given graph deterministically may be computationally expensive. We will discuss an application of the random matrix theory to estimating the number of perfect matchings in a de- terministic graph. Random matrices and traffic jams. Adding another highway to an existing highway system may lead to worse traffic jams. This phenomenon known as Braess’ paradox is still lacking a rigorous mathematical explanation. It was recently explained for a toy model, and the explanation is based on the properties of the eigenvectors of random matrices.