On the thin-shell conjecture for the Schatten classes

Analysis Seminar
Wednesday, November 2, 2016 - 14:05
1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Skiles 005
University of Michigen
The thin-shell or variance conjecture asks whether the variance of the Euclidean norm, with respect to the uniform measure on an isotropic convex body, can be bounded from above by an absolute constant times the mean of the Euclidean norm (if the answer to this is affirmative, then we have as a consequence that most of the mass of the isotropic convex body is concentrated in an annulus with very small width, a "thin shell''). So far all the general bounds we know depend on the dimension of the bodies, however for a few special families of convex bodies, like the $\ell_p$ balls, the conjecture has been resolved optimally. In this talk, I will talk about another family of convex bodies, the unit balls of the Schatten classes (by this we mean spaces of square matrices with real, complex or quaternion entries equipped with the $\ell_p$-norm of their singular values, as well as their subspaces of self-adjoint matrices).In a joint work with Jordan Radke, we verified the conjecture for the operator norm (case of $p = \infty$) on all three general spaces of square matrices, as well as for complex self-adjoint matrices, and we also came up with a necessary condition for the conjecture to be true for any of the other p-Schatten norms on these spaces. I will discuss how one can obtain these results: an essential step in the proofs is reducing the question to corresponding variance estimates with respect to the joint probability density of the singular values of the matrices.Time permitting, I will also talk about a different method to obtain such variance estimates that allows to verify the variance conjecture for the operator norm on the remaining spaces as well.