Mathematics

Equidistribution of geodesic flow pushes via exponential mixing.

Speaker: 
Jon Chaika
Date: 
Mon, Oct 5, 2020
Location: 
Zoom
Conference: 
Online Working Seminar in Ergodic Theory
CRG: 
Abstract: 

Pick a point at random in a finite volume hyperbolic surface and simultaneously flow in all directions from it. For the typical starting point these expanding circles will equidistribute and this talk will present a (more general) argument of Margulis establishing this fact.

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Conformal field theories and quantum phase transitions: an entanglement perspective

Speaker: 
William Witczak-Krempa
Date: 
Wed, Sep 30, 2020
Location: 
Zoom
University of Sasktachewan
Conference: 
quanTA CRG Seminar
CRG: 
quantum-topology
Abstract: 

Quantum phase transitions occur when a quantum system undergoes a sharp change in its ground state, e.g. between a ferro- and para-magnet. I will present a remarkable set of transitions, called quantum critical, that are described by conformal field theories (CFTs). I will focus on 2 and 3 spatial dimensions, where the conformal symmetry is powerful yet less constraining than in 1 dimension. We will probe these scale-invariant theories via the structure of their quantum entanglement. The methods will include large-N expansions, the AdS/CFT duality from string theory, and large-scale numerical simulations. Finally, we’ll see that certain quantum Hall states, which are topological in nature, possess very similar entanglement properties. This hints at broader principles that relate very different quantum states.

For other events in this series see the quanTA events website.

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Characterizing handle-ribbon knots

Speaker: 
Maggie Miller
Date: 
Sun, Sep 27, 2020
Location: 
Zoom
Conference: 
Cascade Toplogy Seminar
Abstract: 

Kauffman conjectured that a knot K is slice if and only if it bounds a genus-g Seifert surface containing a g-component slice link as a cut system. It’s very easy to show that a knot is ribbon if and only if it bounds a genus-g Seifert surface containing a g-component unlink as a cut system. Alex Zupan and I proved something in the middle of these statements: a knot is handle-ribbon (aka strongly homotopy-ribbon, aka something I will define in the talk) if and only if it bounds a genus-g Seifert surface containing a g-component R link L as a cut system—meaning that zero-surgery on L yields #_ g S^1 × S^2 . This gives a 3-dimensional definition of a 4-dimensional property. I’ll talk about these 3.5D knot properties and maybe how we use these techniques to extend a statement of Casson and Gordon. (The work in this talk is joint with Alexander Zupan from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.)

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Weak factorization and transfer systems

Speaker: 
Kyle Ormsby
Date: 
Sun, Sep 27, 2020
Location: 
Zoom
Conference: 
Cascade Toplogy Seminar
Abstract: 

Transfer systems are discrete objects that encode the homotopy theory of N∞ operads, i.e., the operads whose algebras are homotopy commutative monoids with a class of equivariant transfer (or norm) maps. They have a rich combinatorial structure defined in terms of the subgroup lattice of the group of equivariance, G. Indeed, if G is a cyclic p-group, there are Catalan-many transfer systems that assemble into the Tamari lattice (i.e., associahedron). In this talk, I will show that when G is finite Abelian, transfer systems are in natural bijection with weak factorization systems on the poset category of subgroups of G. This leads to a novel involution on the lattice of transfer systems, generalizing an observation of Balchin–Bearup–Pech–Roitzheim for cyclic groups of squarefree order. I will conclude with an enumeration of saturated transfer systems and comments on the Rubin and Blumberg–Hill saturation conjecture.

This is joint work with Angélica Osorno and a team of Reed College undergraduates: Evan Franchere, Usman Hafeez, Peter Marcus, Weihang Qin, and Riley Waugh (the Electronic Collaborative Mathematics Research Group, or eCMRG).

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Representation stability and configurations of disks in a strip

Speaker: 
Hannah Alpert
Date: 
Sun, Sep 27, 2020
Location: 
Zoom
Conference: 
Cascade Toplogy Seminar
Abstract: 

Representation stability, formalized in 2012 by Church, Ellenberg, and Farb, is a property exhibited by the homology of the configuration space of points in the plane: even as the number of points goes to infinity, the jth homology is generated by cycles in which at most 2j of the points move. What about the configuration space of disks of width 1 in an infinite strip of width w? This disks in a strip space behaves more like the no-k-equal configuration space of the line, where k-1 but not k points may be collocated; we show that the homology of this no-k-equal space exhibits generalized representation stability as defined by Sam–Snowden and Ramos. The method is to compute homology combinatorially using discrete Morse theory. Unlike other examples of homology with generalized representation stability, here the asymptotic behavior depends on the degree of homology.

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Symmetric knots and the equivariant 4-ball genus

Speaker: 
Ahmad Issa
Date: 
Sat, Sep 26, 2020
Location: 
Zoom
Conference: 
Cascade Toplogy Seminar
Abstract: 

Given a knot K in the 3-sphere, the 4-genus of K is the minimal genus of an orientable surface embedded in the 4-ball with boundary K. If the knot K has a symmetry (e.g., K is periodic or strongly invertible), one can define the equivariant 4-genus by only minimising the genus over those surfaces in the 4-ball which respect the symmetry of the knot. I'll discuss ongoing work with Keegan Boyle trying to understand the equivariant 4-genus.

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Enumerative geometry via the A^1-degree

Speaker: 
Sabrina Pauli
Date: 
Sat, Sep 26, 2020
Location: 
Zoom
Conference: 
Cascade Toplogy Seminar
Abstract: 

Morel's $A^1$ -degree in $A^1$-homotopy theory is the analog of the Brouwer degree in classical topology. It takes values in the Grothendieck-Witt ring $GW(k)$ of a field $k$, that is the group completion of isometry classes of non-degenerate symmetric bilinear forms. We can use the $A^1$ -degree to count algebro-geometric objects in $GW(k)$, giving an $A^1$-enumerative geometry over non-algebraically closed fields. Taking the rank and the signature recovers classical counts over the complex and the real numbers, respectively. For example, the count of lines on a smooth cubic surface enriched in $GW(k)$ has rank 27 and signature 3.

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Random discrete surfaces

Speaker: 
Thomas Budzinski
Date: 
Wed, Sep 23, 2020
Location: 
Zoom
PIMS, University of British Columbia
Conference: 
Emergent Research: The PIMS Postdoctoral Fellow Seminar
Abstract: 

A triangulation of a surface is a way to divide it into a finite number of triangles. Let us pick a random triangulation uniformly among all those with a fixed size and genus. What can be said about the behaviour of these random geometric objects when the size gets large? We will investigate three different regimes: the planar case, the regime where the genus is not constrained, and the one where the genus is proportional to the size. Based on joint works with Baptiste Louf, Nicolas Curien and Bram Petri.

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PIMS Summer Public Lecture: John Mighton

Speaker: 
John Mighton
Date: 
Thu, Aug 6, 2020
Location: 
Zoom
Conference: 
Diversity in Math Summer School
CRG: 
Abstract: 

Math provides us with mental tools of incredible power. When we learn math we learn to see patterns, to think logically and systematically, to draw analogies, to perceive risk, to understand cause and effect--among many other critical skills.

Yet we tolerate and in fact expect a vast performance gap in math among students and live in a world where many adults aren't equipped with these crucial tools. This learning gap is unnecessary, dangerous and tragic, and it has led us to a problem of intellectual poverty which is apparent everywhere--in fake news, political turmoil, floundering economies, even in erroneous medical diagnoses.

The study of math is an ideal starting point to break down social inequality and empower individuals to build a smarter, kinder, more equitable world. In this talk Mighton will share his vision for a numerate society for all, not just a chosen few.

Speaker Biography

Dr. John Mighton is a playwright turned mathematician and author who founded JUMP Math as a charity in 2001. His work in fostering numeracy and in building children's self-confidence through success in math has been widely recognized. He has been named a Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year, an Ernst & Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year for Canada, an Ashoka Fellow, an Officer of the Order of Canada, and has received five honorary doctorates. John is also the recipient of the 10th Annual Egerton Ryerson Award for Dedication to Public Education.

John developed JUMP Math to address both the tragedy of low expectations for students and that of math anxiety in teachers. John began tutoring children in math as a financially-struggling playwright, and his success in helping students achieve levels of success that teachers and parents had thought impossible fueled his belief that everyone has great untapped potential.

The experience of repeatedly witnessing the heart-breaking paradox of high potential and low achievement led him to conclude that the widely-held assumption that mathematical talent is a rare genetic gift has created a self-fulfilling prophecy of low achievement. A generally high level of math anxiety among many elementary school teachers, itself an outcome of that belief system, creates an additional challenge.
John had to overcome his own "massive math anxiety" before making the decision to earn a Ph.D. in Mathematics at the University of Toronto. He was later awarded an NSERC Fellowship for postdoctoral research in knot and graph theory. He is currently a Fellow of the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences and has taught mathematics at the University of Toronto. He has also lectured in philosophy at McMaster University, where he received a master’s degree in philosophy.

His plays have been performed around the world and he is the recipient of several national awards for theatre, including two Governor General’s Awards. He played the role of Tom in the film Good Will Hunting.

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Mathematical modelling of the emergence and spread of antimalarial drug resistance

Speaker: 
Jennifer Flegg
Date: 
Wed, Jul 29, 2020
Location: 
Zoom
Conference: 
Mathematical Biology Seminar
CRG: 
Abstract: 

Malaria is a leading cause of death in many low-income countries despite being preventable, treatable and curable. One of the major roadblocks to malaria elimination is the emergence and spread of antimalarial drug resistance, which evolves when malaria parasites are exposed to a drug for prolonged periods. In this talk, I will introduce several statistical and mathematical models for monitoring the emergence and spread of antimalarial drug resistance. Results will be presented from a Bayesian geostatistical model that have generated spatio-temporal predictions of resistance based on prevalence data available only at discrete study locations and times. In this way, the model output provides insight into the spatiotemporal spread of resistance that the discrete data points alone cannot provide. I will discuss how the results of these models have been used to update public health policy.

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