A glimpse into the differential geometry and topology of optimal transportation

Speaker: Robert McCann

Date: Mon, Aug 20, 2012 to Tue, Aug 21, 2012

Location: PIMS, University of British Columbia

Conference: PIMS/UBC Distinguished Lecture Series

Subject: Mathematics, Differential Geometry and Geometric Analysis, Topology

Class: Scientific


The Monge-Kantorovich optimal transportation problem is to pair producers with consumers so as to minimize a given transportation cost. When the producers and consumers are modeled by probability densities on two given manifolds or subdomains, it is interesting to try to understand the structure of the optimal pairing as a subset of the product manifold. This subset may or may not be the graph of a map.

The talk will expose the differential topology and geometry underlying many basic phenomena in optimal transportation. It surveys questions concerning Monge maps and Kantorovich measures: existence and regularity of the former, uniqueness of the latter, and estimates for the dimension of its support, as well as the associated linear programming duality. It shows the answers to these questions concern the differential geometry and topology of the chosen transportation cost. It establishes new connections --- some heuristic and others rigorous ---based on the properties of the cross-difference of this cost, and its Taylor expansion at the diagonal.

See preprint at www.math.toronto.edu/mccann/publications