Seminars and Colloquia by Series

Monday, October 27, 2008 - 14:00 , Location: Skiles 269 , Mohammad Ghomi , School of Mathematics, Georgia Tech , Organizer: John Etnyre
We prove that every metric of constant curvature on a compact 2-manifold M with boundary bdM induces (at least) four vertices, i.e., local extrema of geodesic curvature, on bdM, if, and only if, M is simply connected. Indeed, when M is not simply connected, we construct hyperbolic, parabolic, and elliptic metrics of constant curvature on M which induce only two vertices on bdM. Furthermore, we characterize the sphere as the only closed orientable Riemannian 2-manifold M which has the four-vertex-property, i.e., the boundary of every compact surface immersed in M has 4 vertices.
Monday, October 27, 2008 - 13:00 , Location: Skiles 255 , George Biros , CSE, Georgia Tech , Organizer: Haomin Zhou
Fluid membranes are area-preserving interfaces that resist bending. They are models of cell membranes, intracellular organelles, and viral particles. We are interested in developing simulation tools for dilute suspensions of deformable vesicles. These tools should be computationally efficient, that is, they should scale well as the number of vesicles increases. For very low Reynolds numbers, as it is often the case in mesoscopic length scales, the Stokes approximation can be used for the background fluid. We use a boundary integral formulation for the fluid that results in a set of nonlinear integro-differential equations for the vesicle dynamics. The motion of the vesicles is determined by balancing the nonlocal hydrodynamic forces with the elastic forces due to bending and tension. Numerical simulations of such vesicle motions are quite challenging. On one hand, explicit time-stepping schemes suffer from a severe stability constraint due to the stiffness related to high-order spatial derivatives and a milder constraint due to a transport-like stability condition. On the other hand, an implicit scheme can be expensive because it requires the solution of a set of nonlinear equations at each time step. We present two semi-implicit schemes that circumvent the severe stability constraints on the time step and whose computational cost per time step is comparable to that of an explicit scheme. We discretize the equations by using a spectral method in space, and a multistep third-order accurate scheme in time. We use the fast multipole method to efficiently compute vesicle-vesicle interaction forces in a suspension with a large number of vesicles. We report results from numerical experiments that demonstrate the convergence and algorithmic complexity properties of our scheme. Joint work with: Shravan K. Veerapaneni, Denis Gueyffier, and Denis Zorin.
Friday, October 24, 2008 - 15:00 , Location: Skiles 255 , Tom Bohman , CMU , Organizer: Prasad Tetali
Consider the following random graph process. We begin with the empty graph on n vertices and add edges chosen at random one at a time. Each edge is chosen uniformly at random from the collection of pairs of vertices that do not form triangles when added as edges to the existing graph. In this talk I discuss an analysis of the triangle-free process using the so-called differential equations method for random graph processes. It turns out that with high probability the triangle-free process produces a Ramsey R(3,t) graph, a triangle-free graph whose independence number is within a multiplicative constant factor of the smallest possible.
Friday, October 24, 2008 - 14:00 , Location: Skiles 269 , Rafal Komendarczyk , University of Pennsylvania , Organizer: John Etnyre
In many physical situations we are interested in topological lower bounds for L^2-energy of volume preserving vector fields. Such situations include for instance evolution of a magnetic field in ideal magnetohydrodynamics. Classical energy bounds involve topological invariants like helicity which measure linkage of orbits in the flow. In this talk I will present a new lower bound in terms of the third order helicity, which is an invariant measuring a third order linkage of orbits. I will also discuss how the third order helicity can be derived from the Milnor's \mu-bar invariant for 3-component links.
Thursday, October 23, 2008 - 12:00 , Location: Skiles 255 , Tom Bohman , CMU , Organizer: Prasad Tetali
In this lecture I will introduce the method and sketch some recent applications. The main idea is to exploit a natural connection between the evolution of discrete random processes and continuous functions on the real numbers. Roughly speaking, the method is as follows: Given a discrete random process, we calculate the expected change in the random variable (or variables) of interest in one step of the process, write a differential equation suggested by the expected change, and show that the evolution of the random variable over the course of the process is sharply concentrated around the trajectory given by the solution of the differential equation. This allows us to translate simple facts (often combinatorial in nature) about expected changes in one step of the process into strong statements about sharp concentration of the random variable over the entire course of the process.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 - 15:00 , Location: Skiles 269 , ZhengJun Zhang , University of Wisconsin , Organizer: Liang Peng
Various correlation measures have been introduced in statistical inferences and applications. Each of them may be used in measuring association strength of the relationship, or testing independence, between two random variables. The quotient correlation is defined here as an alternative to Pearson's correlation that is more intuitive and flexible in cases where the tail behavior of data is important. It measures nonlinear dependence where the regular correlation coefficient is generally not applicable. One of its most useful features is a test statistic that has high power when testing nonlinear dependence in cases where the Fisher's Z-transformation test may fail to reach a right conclusion. Unlike most asymptotic test statistics, which are either normal or \chi 2, this test statistic has a limiting gamma distribution (henceforth the gamma test statistic). More than the common usages of correlation, the quotient correlation can easily and intuitively be adjusted to values at tails. This adjustment generates two new concepts -- the tail quotient correlation and the tail independence test statistics, which are also gamma statistics. Due to the fact that there is no analogue of the correlation coefficient in extreme value theory, and there does not exist an efficient tail independence test statistic, these two new concepts may open up a new field of study. In addition, an alternative to Spearman's rank correlation: a rank based quotient correlation is also defined. The advantages of using these new concepts are illustrated with simulated data, and real data analysis of internet traffic, tobacco markets, financial markets...
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 - 11:00 , Location: Skiles 255 , Andy Bommarius , School of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Georgia Tech , Organizer: Christine Heitsch
After rational protein design and combinatorial protein engineering (directed evolution), data-driven protein engineering emerges as a third generation of techniques for improving protein properties. Data-driven protein engineering relies heavily on the use of mathematical algorithms. In the first example, we developed a method for predicting the positions in the amino acid sequence that are critical for the catalytic activity of a protein. With nucleotide sequences of both functional and non-functional variants and a Support Vector Machine (SVM) learning algorithm, we set out to narrow the interesting sequence space of proteins, i.e. find the truly relevant positions. Variants of TEM-1 β-lactamase were created in silico using simulations of both mutagenesis and recombination protocols. The algorithm was shown to be able to predict critical positions that can tolerate up to two amino acids. Pairs of amino acid residues are known to lead to inactive sequences, unless mutated jointly. In the second example, we combine SVM, Boolean learning (BL), and the combination of the two, BLSVM, to find such interactive residues. Results on interactive residues in two fluorescent proteins, Discosoma Red Fluorescent Protein (Ds-Red) and monomeric Red Fluorescent Protein (mRFP), will be presented.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 - 10:00 , Location: Skiles 269 , Arthur Szlam , UCLA , Organizer: Haomin Zhou


The k-planes method is the generalization of k-means where the representatives of each cluster are affine linear sets. In this talk I will describe some possible modifications of this method for discriminative learning problems.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008 - 16:30 , Location: Skiles 255 , Chris Godsil , University of Waterloo , Organizer: Robin Thomas

Refreshments will be served at 4PM in Skiles 236.

The possibility of a quantum computer has lead to much new work in theoretical physics and, naturally enough, this work has raised many new mathematical problems. What is perhaps surprising is that it has lead to interesting problems in algebraic graph theory. For example, questions about the relative power of quantum computer and classical computers lead to questions about the chromatic number of certain graphs. In my talk I will discuss some of these problems, and the progress that has been made.
Series: PDE Seminar
Tuesday, October 21, 2008 - 15:15 , Location: Skiles 255 , Sigurd Angenent , University of Wisconsin, Madison , Organizer:
I will discuss a few ways in which reaction diffusion models have been used to pattern formation. In particular in the setting of Cdc42 transport to and from the membrane in a yeast cell I will show a simple model which achieves polarization. The model and its analysis exhibits some striking differences between deterministic and probabilistic versions of the model.