Video Content by Date


Sea lice are a threat to the health of both wild and farmed salmon and an economic burden for salmon farms. Open-net salmon farms act as reservoirs for sea lice in near coastal areas, which can lead to elevated sea louse levels on wild salmon. With a free living larval stage, sea lice can disperse tens of kilometers in the ocean, both from salmon farms onto wild salmon and between salmon farms. This larval dispersal connects local sea louse populations on salmon farms and thus modelling the collection of salmon farms as a metapopulation can lead to a better understanding of which salmon farms are driving the overall growth of sea lice in a salmon farming region. In this talk I will discuss using metapopulation models to specifically study sea lice on salmon farms in the Broughton Archipelago, BC, and more broadly to better understand the transient and asymptotic dynamics of marine metapopulations.

Mar, 15: The Bootstrap Learning Algorithm
Speaker: Jyoti Bhadana, University of Alberta

Constructing and training the neural network depends on various types of Stochastic Gradient Descent (SGD) methods, with adaptations that help with convergence by boosting the speed of the gradient search. Convergence for existing algorithms requires a large number of observations to achieve high accuracy with certain classes of functions. We work with a different, non-curve-tracking technique with the potential of achieving better speeds of convergence. In this talk, the new idea of 'decoupling' hidden layers by bootstrapping and using linear stochastic approximation is introduced. By utilizing resampled observations, the convergence of this process is quick and requires a lower number of data points. This proposed bootstrap learning algorithm can deliver quick and accurate estimates. This boost in speed allows the approximation of classes of functions within a fraction of the observations required with traditional neural network training methods.


In a 1992 article where she surveyed her recent breakthrough on unipotent flows on homogeneous spaces, Ratner presented an argument for the equidistribution of horospherical orbits in the context of horocycle flow on SL(2,R)/Lattice. This idea is separate from the ideas in her celebrated work on unipotent flows and I will present her argument for horospherical equidistribution in the simplest situation I can think of: proving the ergodicity of a particular directional flow on the flat two torus. Ratner's argument has similarities to Masur's criterion for unique ergodicity of translation flows, proven around the same time. Time permitting I will comment on Masur's criterion as well.

Mar, 9: Kantorovich operators and their ergodic properties
Speaker: Nassif Ghoussoub

Our introduction of the notion of a non-linear Kantorovich operator was motivated by the celebrated duality in the mass transport problem, hence the name. In retrospect, we realized that they -and their iterates- were omnipresent in several branches of analysis, even those that are focused on linear Markov operators and their semi-groups such as classical ergodic theory, potential theory, and probability theory. The Kantorovich operators that appear in these cases, though non-linear, are all positively 1-homogenous rendering most classical operations on measures and functions conducted in these theories “cost-free”: From “filling schemes” in ergodic theory, to “balayage of measures” in potential theory, to dynamic programming of "gambling houses" in probability theory. General Kantorovich operators arise when one assigns “a cost” to such operations.

Kantorovich operators are also Choquet capacities and are the “least non-linear” extensions of Markov operators, which make them a relatively “manageable” subclass of non-linear maps, where they play the same role that convex envelopes play for numerical functions. Motivated by the stochastic counterpart of Aubry-Mather theory for Lagrangian systems and Fathi-Mather weak KAM theory, as well as ergodic optimization of dynamical systems, we study the asymptotic properties of general Kantorovich operators.

Mar, 8: Euler's divergent series and primes in arithmetic progressions
Speaker: Anne-Maria Ernvall-Hytönen

Euler's divergent series $\sum_{n>0} n!z^n$ which converges only for $z = 0$ becomes an interesting object when evaluated with respect to a p-adic norm (which will be introduced in the talk). Very little is known about the values of the series. For example, it is an open question whether the value at one is irrational (or even non-zero). As individual values are difficult to reach, it makes sense to try to say something about collections of values over sufficiently large sets of primes. This leads to looking at primes in arithmetic progressions, which is in turn raises a need for an explicit bound for the number of primes in an arithmetic progression under the generalized Riemann hypothesis.
During the talk, I will speak about both sides of the story: why we needed good explicit bounds for the number of primes in arithmetic progressions while working with questions about irrationality, and how we then proved such a bound.

The talk is joint work with Tapani Matala-aho, Neea Palojärvi and Louna Seppälä. (Questions about irrationality with T. M. and L. S. and primes in arithmetic progressions with N. P.)

Mar, 8: Central Limit Theorems in Analytic Number Theory
Speaker: Fatma Çiçek, University of Northern British Columbia

Central limit theorem is a significant result in probability. It states that under some assumptions, the behavior of the average of identically distributed independent random variables tends towards that of the standard Gaussian random variable as the number of variables tends to infinity. In number theory, Erdős-Kac theorem is an example of this which is about the distribution of an arithmetic function while Selberg's central limit theorem is about the distribution of the Riemann zeta-function. In this talk, we aim to provide some explanations toward the proofs of these results and mention some versions of Selberg's theorem.


The strong Allee effect plays an important role on the evolution of population in ecological systems. One important concept is the Allee threshold that determines the persistence or extinction of the population in a long time. In general, a small initial population size is harmful to the survival of a species since when the initial data is below the Allee threshold, the population tends to extinction, rather than persistence. Another interesting feature of population evolution is that a species whose movement strategy follows a conditional dispersal strategy is more likely to persist. To study the interaction between Allee effect and the biased movement strategy, we mainly consider the pattern formation and local dynamics for a class of single species population models that is subject to the strong Allee effect. We first rigorously show the existence of multiple localized solutions when the directed movement is strong enough. Next, the spectrum analysis of the associated linear eigenvalue problem is established and used to investigate the stability properties of these interior spikes. This analysis proves that there exist not only unstable but also linear stable steady states. Finally, we extend results of the single equation to coupled systems for two interacting species, each with different advective terms, and competing for the same resources. We also construct several non-constant steady states and analyze their stability.

This is a work in progress talk by a local graduate student.


I give a new explicit bound for the Riemann zeta function on the critical line. This is joint work with Dhir Patel and Andrew Yang. The context of this work highlights the importance of reliability and reproducibility of explicit bounds in analytic number theory.

This event is part of the PIMS CRG Group on L-Functions in Analytic Number Theory. More details can be found on the webpage here:

Mar, 1: L-Functions of Elliptic Curves Modulo Integers
Speaker: Félix Baril Boudreau, University of Lethbridge

Elliptic curves are one of the major objects of study in number theory. Over finite fields, their zeta functions were proven to be rational by F. K. Schmidt in 1931. In 1985, R. Schoof devised an algorithm to compute zeta functions of elliptic curves over finite fields by directly computing the numerators of these rational functions modulo sufficiently many primes. Over function fields of positive characteristic p, we know from the work of A. Grothendieck, M. Artin, J.L. Verdier (1964/1965) and others, that their L-functions are rational. They are even polynomials with integer coefficients if we assume that their j-invariants are nonconstant rational functions, as shown by P. Deligne in 1980 using a result of J.-I. Igusa (1959).

Therefore, we can meaningfully study the reduction of the L-function of an elliptic curve E with nonconstant j-invariant modulo an integer N. In 2003, C. Hall gave a formula for that reduction modulo N, provided the elliptic curve had rational N-torsion.

In this talk, we first obtain, under the assumptions of C. Hall, a formula for the L-function of any of the infinitely many quadratic twists of E. Secondly, without any condition on the rational 2-torsion subgroup of E, we give a formula for the quotient modulo 2 of L-functions of any two quadratic twists of E. Thirdly, we illustrate that sometimes the reduced L-function is enough to determine important properties of the L-function itself. More precisely, we use the previous results to compute the global root numbers of an infinite family of quadratic twists of some elliptic curve and, under extra assumptions, find in most cases the exact analytic rank of each of these quadratic twists. Finally, we use our formulas to compute directly some degree 2 L-functions, in analogy with the algorithm of Schoof.

Feb, 27: Fluctuations in the distribution of Frobenius automorphisms in number field extensions
Speaker: Florent Jouve, Institut de Mathématiques de Bordeaux (France)

Given a Galois extension of number fields L/K, the Chebotarev Density Theorem asserts that, away from ramified primes, Frobenius automorphisms equidistribute in the set of conjugacy classes of Gal(L/K). In this talk we report on joint work with D. Fiorilli in which we study the variations of the error term in Chebotarev's Theorem as L/K runs over certain families of extensions. We shall explain some consequences of this analysis: regarding first “Linnik type problems” on the least prime ideal in a given Frobenius set, and second, the existence of unconditional “Chebyshev biases” in the context of number fields. Time permitting we will mention joint work with R. de La Bretèche and D. Fiorilli in which we go one step further and study moments of the distribution of Frobenius automorphisms.

Feb, 23: Adversarial training through the lens of optimal transport
Speaker: Nicolas Garcia Trillos

Modern machine learning methods, in particular deep learning approaches, have enjoyed unparalleled success in a variety of challenging application fields like image recognition, medical image reconstruction, and natural language processing. While a vast majority of previous research in machine learning mainly focused on constructing and understanding models with high predictive power, consensus has emerged that other properties like stability and robustness of models are of equal importance and in many applications are essential. This has motivated researchers to investigate the problem of adversarial training —or how to make models robust to adversarial attacks— but despite the development of several computational strategies for adversarial training and some theoretical development in the broader distributionally robust optimization literature, there are still several theoretical questions about it that remain relatively unexplored. In this talk, I will take an analytical perspective on the adversarial robustness problem and explore two questions: 1) Can we use analytical tools to find lower bounds for adversarial robustness problems?, and 2) How do we use modern tools from analysis and geometry to solve adversarial robustness problems? In this talk I will showcase how ideas from optimal transport theory can provide answers to these questions.

This talk is based on joint works with Camilo Andrés García Trillos, Matt Jacobs, and Jakwang Kim.

Feb, 22: Total Variation Flow on metric measure spaces
Speaker: Cintia Pacchiano (UAlberta)

In this project, we discuss some fine properties and the existence of variational solutions to the Total Variation Flow. Instead of the classical Euclidean setting, we intend to work mostly in the general setting of metric measure spaces.

During the past two decades, a theory of Sobolev functions and BV functions has been developed in this abstract setting. A central motivation for developing such a theory has been the desire to unify the assumptions and methods employed in various specific spaces, such as weighted Euclidean spaces, Riemannian manifolds, Heisenberg groups, graphs, etc.

The Total Variation Flow can be understood as the process of diminishing the total variation using the gradient descent method. This idea can be reformulated using variational solutions, and it gives rise to a definition of parabolic minimizers. The approach’s advantages using a minimization formulation include much better convergence and stability properties. This is essential as the solutions naturally lie only in the space of BV functions.

More details on the abstract are available here:


The past twenty-five years have heralded an unparalleled increase in understanding of cancer. At the same time, mathematical modelling has emerged as a natural tool for unravelling the complex processes that contribute to the initiation and progression of tumours, for testing hypotheses about experimental and clinical observations, and assisting with the development of new approaches for improving its treatment. In this talk I will reflect on how increased access to experimental data is stimulating the application of new theoretical approaches for studying tumour growth. I will focus on two case studies which illustrate how mathematical approaches can be used to characterise and quantify tumour vascular networks, and to understand how microstructural features of these networks affect tumour blood flow.

Feb, 13: The principal Chebotarev density theorem
Speaker: Kelly O'Connor

Let K/k be a finite Galois extension. We define a principal version of the Chebotarev density theorem which represents the density of prime ideals of k that factor into a product of principal prime ideals in K . We find explicit equations to express the principal density in terms of the invariants of K/k and give an effective bound which can be used to verify the non-splitting of the Hilbert exact sequence.

Feb, 10: A Reintroduction to Proofs
Speaker: Emily Riehl, John Hopkins University

In an introduction to proofs course, students learn to write proofs informally in the language of set theory and classical logic. In this talk, I'll explore the alternate possibility of teaching students to write proofs informally in the language of dependent type theory. I'll argue that the intuitions suggested by this formal system are closer to the intuitions mathematicians have about their praxis. Furthermore, dependent type theory is the formal system used by many computer proof assistants both "under the hood" to verify the correctness of proofs and in the vernacular language with which they interact with the user. Thus, students could practice writing proofs in this formal system by interacting with computer proof assistants such as Coq and Lean.


We improve the best known to date result of Dress-Iwaniec-Tenenbaum, getting ($\log
x)^2$ instead of $\left(log x\right)^(5/2)$. We use a weighted form of Vaughan's identity, allowing a smooth truncation inside the procedure, and an estimate due to Barban-Vehov and Graham related to Selberg's sieve. We give effective and non-effective versions of the result.

This event is part of the PIMS CRG Group on L-Functions in Analytic Number Theory. More details can be found on the webpage here:


Pro-p groups arise naturally in number theory as quotients of absolute Galois groups over number fields. These groups are quite mysterious. During the 60's, Koch gave a presentation of some of these quotients. Furthermore, around the same period, Jennings, Golod, Shafarevich and Lazard introduced two integer sequences (a_n) and (c_n), closely related to a special filtration of a finitely generated pro-p group G, called the Zassenhaus filtration. These sequences give the cardinality of G, and characterize its topology. For instance, we have the well-known Gocha's alternative (Golod and Shafarevich): There exists an integer n such that a_n=0 (or c_n has a polynomial growth) if and only if G is a Lie group over p-adic fields.

In 2016, Minac, Rogelstad and Tan inferred an explicit relation between a_n and c_n. Recently (2022), considering geometrical ideas of Filip and Stix, Hamza got more precise relations in an equivariant context: when the automorphism group of G admits a subgroup of order a prime q dividing p-1.

In this talk, we present equivariant relations inferred by Hamza (2022) and give explicit examples in an arithmetical context.


In recent years, the problem of optimal transport has received significant attention in statistics and machine learning due to its powerful geometric properties. In this talk, we introduce the optimal transport problem and present concrete applications of this theory in statistics. In particular, we will propose a general framework for distribution-free nonparametric testing in multi-dimensions, based on a notion of "multivariate ranks" defined using the theory of optimal transport. We demonstrate the applicability of this approach by constructing exactly distribution-free tests for testing the equality of two multivariate distributions. We investigate the consistency and asymptotic distributions of these tests, both under the null and local contiguous alternatives. We further study their local power and asymptotic (Pitman) efficiency, and show that a subclass of these tests achieve attractive efficiency lower bounds that mimic the classical efficiency results of Hodges and Lehmann (1956) and Chernoff and Savage (1958).


In optimal transport problems on a finite set, one successful approach to reducing its computational burden is the regularization by the Kullback-Leibler divergence. Then a natural question arises: Are other divergences not admissible for regularization? What kinds of properties are required for divergences? I introduce required properties for Bregman divergences and provide a non-asymptotic error estimate for the optimal transport problem regularized by such Bregman divergences. This convergence is possibly faster than exponential decay as the regularized parameter goes to zero.

This talk is based on joint work with Koya Sakakibara (Okayama U. of Science) and Keiichi Morikuni (U. of Tsukuba).


In 1896, the prime number theorem was established, showing that π(x) ∼ li(x). Perhaps the most widely used estimates in explicit analytic number theory are bounds on |π(x)-li(x)| or the related error term |θ(x)-x|. In this talk we discuss methods one can use to obtain good bounds on these error terms when x is large. Moreover, we will explore the many ways in which these bounds could be improved in the future.


We investigate the interaction between a Platonic solid and an unbounded inertial flow. For a fixed Platonic particle in the flow, we consider three different angular positions: face facing the flow, edge facing the flow, and corner facing the flow, to elucidate the effects of the particle angularity on the flow regime transitions. The impact of these angular positions, notably on drag and lift coefficients, is discussed. The particle cross-section area has a prominent influence on the drag coefficients for low Reynolds numbers, but for higher Reynolds numbers, the impacts of angular positions are more significant. As for the freely moving particle, the change in symmetry of the wake region and path instabilities are strongly related to the particle's angular position and the transverse forces. We analyze and determine the two well-known regimes transitions: the loss of symmetry of the wake and the loss of stationarity of the flow.

Jan, 23: Kummer Theory for Number Fields
Speaker: Antonella Perucca

Kummer theory is a classical theory about radical extensions of fields in the case where suitable roots of unity are present in the base field. Motivated by problems close to Artin's primitive root conjecture, we have investigated the degree of families of general Kummer extensions of number fields, providing parametric closed formulas. We present a series of papers that are in part joint work with Christophe Debry, Fritz Hörmann, Pietro Sgobba, and Sebastiano Tronto.

Jan, 18: Least quadratic non-residue and related problems
Speaker: Enrique Treviño



Since Alan Turing's pioneering publication on morphogenetic pattern formation obtained with reaction-diffusion (RD) systems, it has been the prevailing belief that two-component reaction diffusion systems have to include a fast diffusing inhibiting component (inhibitor) and a much slower diffusing activating component (activator) in order to break symmetry from a uniform steady-state. This time-scale separation is often unbiological for cell signal transduction pathways.
We modify the traditional RD paradigm by considering nonlinear reaction kinetics only inside compartments with reactive boundary conditions to the extra-compartmental space that provides a two-species diffusive coupling. The construction of a nonlinear algebraic system for all existing steady-states enables us to derive a globally coupled matrix eigenvalue problem for the growth rates of eigenperturbations from the symmetric steady-state, on finite domains in 1-D and 2-D and a periodically extended version in 1-D.

We show that the membrane reaction rate ratio of inhibitor rate to activator rate is a key bifurcation parameter leading to robust symmetry-breaking of the compartments. Illustrated with Gierer-Meinhardt, FitzHugh-Nagumo and Rauch-Millonas intra-compartmental reaction kinetics, our compartmental-reaction diffusion system does not require diffusion of inhibitor and activator on vastly different time scales.
Our results elucidate a possible mechanism of the ubiquitous biological cell specialization observed in nature.


In this talk, I will present a recent joint work with Yoonbok Lee, where we investigate the number of zeros of linear combinations of $L$-functions in the vicinity of the critical line. More precisely, we let $L_1, \dots, L_J$ be distinct primitive $L$-functions belonging to a large class (which conjecturally contains all $L$-functions arising from automorphic representations on $\text{GL}(n)$), and $b_1, \dots, b_J$ be real numbers. Our main result is an asymptotic formula for the number of zeros of $F(\sigma+it)=\sum_{j\leq J} b_j L_j(\sigma+it)$ in the region $\sigma\geq 1/2+1/G(T)$ and $t\in [T, 2T]$, uniformly in the range $\log \log T \leq G(T)\leq (\log T)^{\nu}$, where $\nu\asymp 1/J$. This establishes a general form of a conjecture of Hejhal in this range. The strategy of the proof relies on comparing the distribution of $F(\sigma+it)$ to that of an associated probabilistic random model.

This event is part of the PIMS CRG Group on L-Functions in Analytic Number Theory. More details can be found on the webpage here:

Jan, 9: A walk on Legendre paths
Speaker: Youness Lamzouri

The Legendre symbol is one of the most basic, mysterious and extensively studied objects in number theory. It is a multiplicative function that encodes information about whether an integer is a square modulo an odd prime p. The Legendre symbol was introduced by Adrien-Marie Legendre in 1798, and has since found countless applications in various areas of mathematics as well as in other fields including cryptography. In this talk, we shall explore what we call "Legendre paths", which encode information about the values of the Legendre symbol. The Legendre path modulo p is defined as the polygonal path in the plane formed by joining the partial sums of the Legendre symbol modulo p. In particular, we will attempt to answer the following questions as we vary over the primes p: how are these paths distributed? how do their maximums behave? and what proportion of the path is above the real axis? Among our results, we prove that these paths converge in law, in the space of continuous functions, to a certain random Fourier series constructed using Rademakher random multiplicative functions. Part of this work is joint with Ayesha Hussain.