Seminars and Colloquia Schedule

Monday, January 29, 2018 - 13:55 , Location: Skiles 005 , Prof. Lou, Yifei , University of Texas, Dallas , Organizer: Sung Ha Kang
A fundamental problem in compressive sensing (CS) is to reconstruct a sparse signal under a few linear measurements far less than the physical dimension of the signal. Currently, CS favors incoherent systems, in which any two measurements are as little correlated as possible.  In reality, however, many problems are coherent, in which case conventional methods, such as L1 minimization, do not work well. In this talk, I will present a novel non-convex approach, which is to minimize the difference of L1 and L2 norms, denoted as L1-L2, in order to promote sparsity. In addition to theoretical aspects of the L1-L2 approach, I will discuss two minimization algorithms. One is the difference of convex (DC) function methodology, and  the other is based on  a proximal operator, which makes some L1 algorithms (e.g. ADMM) applicable for L1-L2.  Experiments demonstrate that L1-L2 improves L1  consistently and it outperforms Lp (0
Monday, January 29, 2018 - 14:00 , Location: Skiles 006 , Caglar Uyanik , Vanderbilt University , Organizer: Dan Margalit
I will talk about the long standing analogy between the mapping class group of a hyperbolic surface and the outer automorphism group of a free group. Particular emphasis will be on the dynamics of individual elements and applications of these results to structure theorems for subgroups of these groups.
Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - 11:00 , Location: Skiles 005 , Adam Marcus , Princeton University , , Organizer: Galyna Livshyts
 I will discuss a recent line of research that uses properties of real rooted polynomials to get quantitative estimates in combinatorial linear algebra problems.  I will start by discussing the main result that bridges the two areas (the "method of interlacing polynomials") and show some examples of where it has been used successfully (e.g. Ramanujan families and the Kadison Singer problem). I will then discuss some more recent work that attempts to make the method more accessible by providing generic tools and also attempts to explain the accuracy of the method by linking it to random matrix theory and (in particular) free probability.  I will end by mentioning some current research initiatives as well as possible future directions.
Series: PDE Seminar
Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - 15:00 , Location: Skiles 006 , Getachew K. Befekadu , University of Florida , Organizer: Yao Yao
In this talk, we present the asymptotics of exit problem for controlled Markov diffusion processes with random jumps and vanishing diffusion terms, where the random jumps are introduced in order to modify the evolution of the controlled diffusions by switching from one mode of dynamics to another. That is, depending on the state-position and state-transition information, the dynamics of the controlled diffusions randomly switches between the different drift and diffusion terms. Here, we specifically investigate the asymptotic exit problem concerning such controlled Markov diffusion processes in two steps: (i) First, for each controlled diffusion model, we look for an admissible Markov control process that minimizes the principal eigenvalue for the corresponding infinitesimal generator with zero Dirichlet boundary conditions -- where such an admissible control process also forces the controlled diffusion process to remain in a given bounded open domain for a longer duration. (ii) Then, using large deviations theory, we determine the exit place and the type of distribution at the exit time for the controlled Markov diffusion processes coupled with random jumps and vanishing diffusion terms. Moreover, the asymptotic results at the exit time also allow us to determine the limiting behavior of the Dirichlet problem for the corresponding system of elliptic PDEs containing a small vanishing parameter. Finally, we briefly discuss the implication of our results.
Wednesday, January 31, 2018 - 11:00 , Location: Skiles 006 , Prof. Mansoor Haider , North Carolina State University, Department of Mathematics , Organizer: Sung Ha Kang
TBA by Mansoor Haider
Wednesday, January 31, 2018 - 13:55 , Location: Skiles 005 , Galyna Livshyts , Georgia Tech , , Organizer: Galyna Livshyts
In the recent years, a number of conjectures has appeared, concerning the improvement of the inequalities of Brunn-Minkowski type under the additional assumptions of symmetry; this includes the B-conjecture, the Gardner-Zvavitch conjecture of 2008, the Log-Brunn-Minkowski conjecture of 2012, and some variants. The conjecture of Gardner and Zvavitch, also known as dimensional Brunn-Minkowski conjecture, states that even log-concave measures in R^n are in fact 1/n-concave with respect to the addition of symmetric convex sets. In this talk we shall establish the validity of the Gardner-Zvavitch conjecture asymptotically, and prove that the standard Gaussian measure enjoys 0.3/n concavity with respect to centered convex sets. Some improvements to the case of general log-concave measures shall be discussed as well. This is a joint work with A. Kolesnikov.
Wednesday, January 31, 2018 - 13:55 , Location: Skiles 006 , Sudipta Kolay , GaTech , Organizer: Anubhav Mukherjee
Thursday, February 1, 2018 - 23:00 , Location: TBA , Anderson Ye Zhang , Yale , Organizer: Heinrich Matzinger
The mean field variational inference is widely used in statistics and machine learning to approximate posterior distributions. Despite its popularity, there exist remarkably little fundamental theoretical justifications. The success of variational inference mainly lies in its iterative algorithm, which, to the best of our knowledge, has never been investigated for any high-dimensional or complex model. In this talk, we establish computational and statistical guarantees of mean field variational inference. Using community detection problem as a test case, we show that its iterative algorithm has a linear convergence to the optimal statistical accuracy within log n iterations. We are optimistic to go beyond community detection and to understand mean field under a general class of latent variable models. In addition, the technique we develop can be extended to analyzing Expectation-maximization and Gibbs sampler.
Friday, February 2, 2018 - 13:05 , Location: Skiles 005 , Audra McMillan , Math, University of Michigan , , Organizer: He Guo
Physical sensors (thermal, light, motion, etc.) are becoming ubiquitous and offer important benefits to society. However, allowing sensors into our private spaces has resulted in considerable privacy concerns. Differential privacy has been developed to help alleviate these privacy concerns. In this talk, we’ll develop and define a framework for releasing physical data that preserves both utility and provides privacy. Our notion of closeness of physical data will be defined via the Earth Mover Distance and we’ll discuss the implications of this choice. Physical data, such as temperature distributions, are often only accessible to us via a linear transformation of the data.  We’ll analyse the implications of our privacy definition for linear inverse problems, focusing on those that are traditionally considered to be "ill-conditioned”. We’ll then instantiate our framework with the heat kernel on graphs and discuss how the privacy parameter relates to the connectivity of the graph. Our work indicates that it is possible to produce locally private sensor measurements that both keep the exact locations of the heat sources private and permit recovery of the ``general geographic vicinity'' of the sources. Joint work with Anna C. Gilbert.