Seminars and Colloquia by Series

Tuesday, April 7, 2009 - 11:00 , Location: Skiles 255 , Adam Marcus , Yale University , Organizer: Prasad Tetali
The entropy function has a number of nice properties that make it a useful counting tool, especially when one wants to bound a set with respect to the set's projections. In this talk, I will show a method developed by Mokshay Madiman, Prasad Tetali, and myself that builds on the work of Gyarmati, Matolcsi and Ruzsa as well as the work of Ballister and Bollobas. The goal will be to give a black-box method for generating projection bounds and to show some applications by giving new bounds on the sizes of Abelian and non-Abelian sumsets.
Friday, April 3, 2009 - 15:00 , Location: Skiles 255 , Alexandra Kolla , UC Berkeley , Organizer: Prasad Tetali
I will present an approximation algorithm for the following problem: Given a graph G and a parameter k, find k edges to add to G as to maximize its algebraic connectivity. This problem is known to be NP-hard and prior to this work no algorithm was known with provable approximation guarantee. The algorithm uses a novel way of sparsifying (patching) part of a graph using few edges.
Friday, March 27, 2009 - 15:00 , Location: Skiles 255 , Graeme Kemkes , UCSD , Organizer: Prasad Tetali
Choose a graph uniformly at random from all d-regular graphs on n vertices. We determine the chromatic number of the graph for about half of all values of d, asymptotically almost surely (a.a.s.) as n grows large. Letting k be the smallest integer satisfying d < 2(k-1)\log(k-1), we show that a random d-regular graph is k-colorable a.a.s. Together with previous results of Molloy and Reed, this establishes the chromatic number as a.a.s. k-1 or k. If furthermore d>(2k-3)\log(k-1) then the chromatic number is a.a.s. k. This is an improvement upon results recently announced by Achlioptas and Moore. The method used is "small subgraph conditioning'' of Robinson and Wormald, applied to count colorings where all color classes have the same size. It is the first rigorously proved result about the chromatic number of random graphs that was proved by small subgraph conditioning. This is joint work with Xavier Perez-Gimenez and Nick Wormald.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009 - 11:00 , Location: Skiles 269 , Ann Trenk , Department of Mathematics, Wellesley College , Organizer: Prasad Tetali
Tolerance graphs were introduced in 1982 by Golumbic and Monma as a generalization of the class of interval graphs. A graph G= (V, E) is an interval graph if each vertex v \in V can be assigned a real interval I_v so that xy \in E(G) iff I_x \cap I_y \neq \emptyset. Interval graphs are important both because they arise in a variety of applications and also because some well-known recognition problems that are NP-complete for general graphs can be solved in polynomial time when restricted to the class of interval graphs. In certain applications it can be useful to allow a representation of a graph using real intervals in which there can be some overlap between the intervals assigned to non-adjacent vertices. This motivates the following definition: a graph G= (V, E) is a tolerance graph if each vertex v \in V can be assigned a real interval I_v and a positive tolerance t_v \in {\bf R} so that xy \in E(G) iff |I_x \cap I_y| \ge \min\{t_x,t_y\}. These topics can also be studied from the perspective of ordered sets, giving rise to the classes of Interval Orders and Tolerance Orders. In this talk we give an overview of work done in tolerance graphs and orders . We use hierarchy diagrams and geometric arguments as unifying themes.
Friday, March 6, 2009 - 15:00 , Location: Skiles 255 , Alexey Spiridonov , MIT , Organizer: Prasad Tetali
This is joint work with Alex Postnikov. Imagine that you are to build a system of space stations (graph vertices), which communicate via laser beams (edges). The edge directions were already chosen, but you must place the stations so that none of the beams miss their targets. In this talk, we let the edge directions be generic and independent, a choice that constrains vertex placement the most. For K_{3} in \mathbb{R}^{2}, the edges specify a unique triangle, but its size is arbitrary --- D_{2}(K_{3})=1 degree of freedom; we say that K_{3} is rigid in \mathbb{R}^{2}. We call D_{n}(G) the degree of parallel rigidity of the graph for generic edge directions. We found an elegant combinatorial characterization of D_{n}(G) --- it is equal to the minimal number of edges in the intersection of n spanning trees of G. In this talk, I will give a linear-algebraic proof of this result, and of some other properties of D_{n}(G). The notion of parallel graph rigidity was previously studied by Whiteley and Develin-Martin-Reiner. The papers worked with the generic parallel rigidity matroid; I will briefly compare our results in terms of D_{n}(G) with the previous work.
Friday, February 27, 2009 - 15:00 , Location: Skiles 255 , Benny Sudakov , UCLA , Organizer: Prasad Tetali
We show that for all \el an \epsilon>0 there is a constant c=c(\ell,\epsilon)>0 such that every \ell-coloring of the triples of an N-element set contains a subset S of size c\sqrt{\log N} such that at least 1-\epsilon fraction of the triples of S have the same color. This result is tight up to the constant c and answers an open question of Erd\H{o}s and Hajnal from 1989 on discrepancy in hypergraphs. For \ell \geq 4 colors, it is known that there is an \ell-coloring of the triples of an N-element set whose largest monochromatic subset has cardinality only \Theta(\log \log N). Thus, our result demonstrates that the maximum almost monochromatic subset that an \ell-coloring of the triples must contain is much larger than the corresponding monochromatic subset. This is in striking contrast with graphs, where these two quantities have the same order of magnitude. To prove our result, we obtain a new upper bound on the \ell-color Ramsey numbers of complete multipartite 3-uniform hypergraphs, which answers another open question of Erd\H{o}s and Hajnal. (This is joint work with D. Conlon and J. Fox.)
Friday, February 20, 2009 - 15:00 , Location: Skiles 255 , Ernie Croot , School of Mathematics, Georgia Tech , Organizer: Prasad Tetali
In this work (joint with Derrick Hart), we show that there exists a constant c > 0 such that the following holds for all n sufficiently large: if S is a set of n monic polynomials over C[x], and the product set S.S = {fg : f,g in S}; has size at most n^(1+c), then the sumset S+S = {f+g : f,g in S}; has size \Omega(n^2). There is a related result due to Mei-Chu Chang, which says that if S is a set of n complex numbers, and |S.S| < n^(1+c), then |S+S| > n^(2-f(c)), where f(c) -> 0 as c -> 0; but, there currently is no result (other than the one due to myself and Hart) giving a lower bound of the quality >> n^2 for |S+S| for a fixed value of c. Our proof combines combinatorial and algebraic methods.
Friday, February 6, 2009 - 15:00 , Location: Skiles 255 , Mihai Ciucu , Indiana University and Georgia Tech , Organizer: Prasad Tetali
The study of random tilings of planar lattice regions goes back to the solution of the dimer model in the 1960's by Kasteleyn, Temperley and Fisher, but received new impetus in the early 1990's, and has since branched out in several directions in the work of Cohn, Kenyon, Okounkov, Sheffield, and others. In this talk, we focus on the interaction of holes in random tilings, a subject inspired by Fisher and Stephenson's 1963 conjecture on the rotational invariance of the monomer-monomer correlation on the square lattice. In earlier work, we showed that the correlation of a finite number of holes on the triangular lattice is given asymptotically by a superposition principle closely paralleling the superposition principle for electrostatic energy. We now take this analogy one step further, by showing that the discrete field determined by considering at each unit triangle the average orientation of the lozenge covering it converges, in the scaling limit, to the electrostatic field. Our proof involves a variety of ingredients, including Laplace's method for the asymptotics of integrals, Newton's divided difference operator, and hypergeometric function identities.
Friday, January 30, 2009 - 15:00 , Location: Skiles 255 , Kevin P. Costello , School of Mathematics, Georgia Tech , Organizer: Ernie Croot
Part of Spielman and Teng's smoothed analysis of the Simplex algorithm relied on showing that most minors of a typical random rectangular matrix are well conditioned (do not have any singular values too close to zero). Motivated by this, Vershynin asked the question as to whether it was typically true that ALL minors of a random rectangular matrix are well conditioned. Here I will explain why that the answer to this question is in fact no: Even an n by 2n matrix will typically have n by n minors which have singular values exponentially close to zero.
Friday, January 23, 2009 - 15:00 , Location: Skiles 255 , Gregg Musiker , MIT , Organizer: Matt Baker
In this talk, I will discuss chip-firing games on graphs, and the related Jacobian groups. Additionally, I will describe elliptic curves over finite fields, and how such objects also have group structures. For a family of graphs obtained by deforming the sequence of wheel graphs, the cardinalities of the Jacobian groups satisfy a nice reciprocal relationship with the orders of elliptic curves as we consider field extensions. I will finish by discussing other surprising ways that these group structures are analogous. Some of this research was completed as part of my dissertation work at the University of California, San Diego under Adriano Garsia's guidance.