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Series: PDE Seminar

Granular materials are important in a wide variety of contexts, such as avalanches and industrial processing of powders and grains. In this talk, I discuss some of the issues in understanding how granular materials flow, and especially how they tend to segregate by size. The segregation process, known scientifically as kinetic sieving, and more colorfully as The Brazil Nut Effect, involves the tendency of small particles to fall into spaces created by large particles. The small particles then force the large particles upwards, as in a shaken can of mixed nuts, in which the large Brazil nuts tend to end up near the lid. I'll describe ongoing physics experiments, mathematical modeling of kinetic sieving, and the results of analysis of the models (which are nonlinear partial differential equations). Movies of simulations and exact solutions illustrate the role of shock waves after layers of small and large particles have formed.

Series: ACO Student Seminar

The notion of a correlation decay, originating in statistical physics, has recently played an important role in yielding deterministic approximation algorithms for various counting problems. I will try to illustrate this technique with two examples: counting matchings in bounded degree graphs, and counting independent sets in certain subclasses of claw-free graphs.

Series: Geometry Topology Seminar

Based on work of Schwarz and Oh, information coming from a filtration in Hamiltonian Floer homology can be used to construct "spectral invariants" for paths of Hamiltonian diffeomorphisms of symplectic manifolds. I will show how these invariants can be used to provide a unified approach to proving various old and new results in symplectic topology, including the non-degeneracy of the Hofer metric and some of its variants; a sharp version of an inequality between the Hofer-Zehnder capacity and the displacement energy; and a generalization of Gromov's non-squeezing theorem.

Series: Geometry Topology Seminar

I will discuss a relation between the HOMFLY polynomial of a knot, its extension for a closed 3-manifold, a special function, the trilogarithm, and zeta(3). Technically, this means that we consider perturbative U(N) Chern-Simons theory around the trivial flat connection, for all N, in an ambient 3-manifold. This is rigorous, and joint with Marcos Marino and Thang Le.

Series: Analysis Seminar

The Horn inequalities give a characterization of eigenvalues of self-adjoint n by n matrices A, B, C with A+B+C=0. The proof requires powerful tools from algebraic geometry. In this talk I will talk about our recent result of these inequalities that are indeed valid for self-adjoint operators of an arbitrary finite factors. Since in this setting there is no readily available machinery from algebraic geometry, we are forced to look for an analysts friendly proof. A (complete) matricial form of our result is known to imply an affirmative answer to the Connes' embedding problem. Geometers in town especially welcome!

Monday, September 22, 2008 - 13:00 ,
Location: Skiles 255 ,
Dongbin Xiu ,
Division of Applied Math, Purdue University ,
Organizer: Haomin Zhou

There has been growing interest in developing numerical methods for stochastic computations. This is motivated by the need to conduct uncertainty quantification in simulations, where uncertainty is ubiquitous and exists in parameter values, initial and boundary conditions, geometry, etc. In order to obtain simulation results with high fidelity, it is imperative to conduct stochastic computations to incorporate uncertainty from the beginning of the simulations. In this talk we review and discuss a class of fast numerical algorithms based on generalized polynomial chaos (gPC) expansion.The methods are highly efficient, compared to other traditional In addition to the forward stochastic problem solvers, we also discuss gPC-based methods for addressing "modeling uncertainty", i.e., deficiency in mathematical models, and solving inverse problems such as parameter estimation. ones, and suitable for stochastic simulations of complex systems.

Series: Combinatorics Seminar

The Balog-Szemeredi-Gowers theorem is a widely used tool in additive combinatorics, and it says, roughly, that if one has a set A such that the sumset A+A is "concentrated on few values," in the sense that these values v each get close to n representations as v = a+b, with a,b in A, then there is a large subset A' of A such that the sumset A'+A' is "small" -- i.e. it has size a small multiple of n. Later, Sudakov, Szemeredi and Vu generalized this result to handle multiple sums A_1 + ... + A_k. In the present talk we will present a refinement of this result of Sudakov, Szemeredi and Vu, where we get better control on the growth of sums A'+...+A'. This is joint work with Ernie Croot.

Series: Probability Working Seminar

Friday, September 19, 2008 - 14:00 ,
Location: Skiles 269 ,
John Etnyre ,
School of Mathematics, Georgia Tech ,
Organizer: John Etnyre

This will be an introduction to Legendrian knots (these are interesting knots that blend topological and geometric concepts) and a powerful invariant of Legendrian knots in R^3 called contact homology. On the first pass this invariant is combinatorial and has a lot of interesting algebraic structure. In a future talk (probably a few weeks from now), I will explain more about the analytic side of the theory as well as deeper algebraic aspects. This talk should be accessible anyone interested in topology and geometry.

Series: Stochastics Seminar

I will discuss some recent (but modest) results showing the existence and slow mixing of a stationary chain of Hamiltonian oscillators subject to a heat bath. Surprisingly, even these simple results require some delicate stochastic averaging. This is joint work with Martin Hairer.