Seminars and Colloquia by Series

Monday, November 7, 2011 - 16:05 , Location: Skiles 006 , Farbod Shokrieh , Georgia Tech , shokrieh@math.gatech.edu , Organizer: Josephine Yu
A matroid is a structure that captures the notion of "independence". For example, given a set of vectors in a vector space, one can define a matroid. Graphs also naturally give rise to matroids. I will talk about various simplicial complexes associated to matroids. These include the "matroid complex", the "broken circuit complex", and the "order complex" of the associated geometric lattice. They carry some of the most important invariants of matroids and graphs. I will also show how the Bergman fan and its refinement (which arise in tropical geometry) relate to the classical theory. If time permits, I will give an outline of a recent breakthrough result of Huh and Katz on log-concavity of characteristic (chromatic) polynomials of matroids. No prior knowledge of the subject will be assumed. Most of the talk should be accessible to advanced undergraduate students.
Monday, October 31, 2011 - 16:05 , Location: Skiles 006 , Florian Enescu , Georgia State University , Organizer: Anton Leykin
The talk will discuss the notion of Hilbert-Kunz multiplicity, presenting its general theory and listing some of the outstanding open problems together with recent progress on them.
Monday, October 10, 2011 - 16:05 , Location: Skiles 006 , Anders Jensen , Universität des Saarlandes , Organizer: Josephine Yu
In celestial mechanics a configuration of n point masses is called central if it collapses by scaling to the center of mass when released with initial velocities equal to zero. We strengthen a generic finiteness result due to Moeckel by showing that the number of spatial central configurations in the Newtonian five-body problem with positive masses is finite, except for some explicitly given special choices of mass values. The proof will be computational using tropical geometry, Gröbner bases and sum-of-squares decompositions.This is joint work with Marshall Hampton. 
Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - 15:00 , Location: Skiles 005 , Carlos Beltrán , University of Cantabria, Spain , Organizer: Anton Leykin

[Note unusual day and time!]

In the last decades, path following methods have become a very popularstrategy to solve systems of polynomial equations. Many of the advances are due tothe correct understanding of the geometrical properties of an algebraic object, the so-called solution variety for polynomial system solving. I summarize here some of the mostrecent advances in the understanding of this object, focusing also on the certification andcomplexity of the numerical procedures involved in path following methods.
Monday, September 26, 2011 - 16:05 , Location: Skiles 006 , Robert Krone , Georgia Tech , Organizer: Anton Leykin
An ideal of a local polynomial ring can be described by calculating astandard basis with respect to a local monomial ordering. However if we areonly allowed approximate numerical computations, this process is notnumerically stable. On the other hand we can describe the ideal numericallyby finding the space of dual functionals that annihilate it. There areseveral known algorithms for finding the truncated dual up to any specifieddegree, which is useful for zero-dimensional ideals. I present a stoppingcriterion for positive-dimensional cases based on homogenization thatguarantees all generators of the initial monomial ideal are found. This hasapplications for calculating Hilbert functions.
Monday, September 19, 2011 - 16:05 , Location: Skiles 006 , Saikat Biswas , Georgia Tech , Organizer: Josephine Yu
The rational solutions to the equation describing an elliptic curve form a finitely generated abelian group, also known as the Mordell-Weil group. Detemining the rank of this group is one of the great unsolved problems in mathematics. The Shafarevich-Tate group of an elliptic curve is an important invariant whose conjectural finiteness can often be used to determine the generators of the Mordell-Weil group. In this talk, we first introduce the definition of the Shafarevich-Tate group. We then discuss the theory of visibility, initiated by Mazur, by means of which non-trivial elements of the Shafarevich-Tate group of an elliptic curve an be 'visualized' as rational points on an ambient curve. Finally, we explain how this theory can be used to give theoretical evidence for the celebrated Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer Conjecture.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 - 15:05 , Location: Skiles 006 , Don Zagier , MPI Bonn and College de France , Organizer: Stavros Garoufalidis
Come and see!
Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 13:00 , Location: Skiles 006 , Christelle Vincent , University of Wisconsin Madison , Organizer: Matt Baker
For q a power of a prime, consider the ring \mathbb{F}_q[T]. Due to the many similarities between \mathbb{F}_q[T] and the ring of integers \mathbb{Z}, we can define for \mathbb{F}_q[T] objects that are analogous to elliptic curves, modular forms, and modular curves. In particular, for \mathfrak{p} a prime ideal in \mathbb{F}_q[T], we can define the Drinfeld modular curve X_0(\mathfrak{p}), and study the reduction modulo \mathfrak{p} of its Weierstrass points, as is done in the classical case by Rohrlich, and Ahlgren and Ono. In this talk we will present some partial results in this direction, defining all necessary objects as we go. The first 20 minutes should be accessible to graduate students interested in number theory.
Monday, April 11, 2011 - 15:00 , Location: Skiles 005 , Fernando Rodriguez-Villegas , University of Texas Austin , Organizer: Matt Baker
We will discuss several instances of sequences of complex manifolds X_n whose Betti numbers b_i(X_n) converge, when properly scaled, to a limiting distribution. The varieties considered have Betti numbers which are described in a combinatorial way making their study possible. Interesting examples include varieties X for which b_i(X) is the i-th coefficient of the reliability polynomial of an associated graph.
Thursday, March 31, 2011 - 16:00 , Location: Skiles 006 , Pete Clark , University of Georgia , Organizer: Matt Baker
Which commutative groups can occur as the ideal class group (or "Picard group") of some Dedekind domain?  A number theorist naturally thinks of the case of integer rings of number fields, in which the class group must be finite and the question of which finite groups occur is one of the deepest in algebraic number theory.  An algebraic geometer naturally thinks of affine algebraic curves, and in particular, that the Picard group of the standard affine ring of an elliptic curve E over C is isomorphic to the group of rational points E(C), an uncountably infinite (Lie) group.  An arithmetic geometer will be more interested in Mordell-Weil groups, i.e., E(k) when k is a number field -- again, this is one of the most notorious problems in the field.  But she will at least be open to the consideration of E(k) as k varies over all fields. In 1966, L.E. Claborn (a commutative algebraist) solved the "Inverse Picard Problem": up to isomorphism, every commutative group is the Picard group of some Dedekind domain.  In the 1970's, Michael Rosen (an arithmetic geometer) used elliptic curves to show that any countable commutative group can serve as the class group of a Dedekind domain.  In 2008 I learned about Rosen's work and showed the following theorem: for every commutative group G there is a field k, an elliptic curve E/k and a Dedekind domain R which is an overring of the standard affine ring k[E] of E -- i.e., a domain in between k[E] and its fraction field k(E) -- with ideal class group isomorphic to G.  But being an arithmetic geometer, I cannot help but ask about what happens if one is not allowed to pass to an overring: which commutative groups are of the form E(k) for some field k and some elliptic curve E/k?  ("Inverse Mordell-Weil Problem") In this talk I will give my solution to the "Inverse Picard Problem" using elliptic curves and give a conjectural answer to the "Inverse Mordell-Weil Problem".  Even more than that, I can (and will, time permitting) sketch a proof of my conjecture, but the proof will necessarily gloss over a plausible technicality about Mordell-Weil groups of "arithmetically generic" elliptic curves -- i.e., I do not in fact know how to do it.  But the technicality will, I think, be of interest to some of the audience members, and of course I am (not so) secretly hoping that someone there will be able to help me overcome it.

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