## Aukosh Jagannath : Simple statistical tasks can be hard on average.

- Colloquium ( 231 Views )Consider the problem of recovering a rank 1 tensor of order k that has been subject to Gaussian noise. We will begin by reviewing results surrounding the statistical limits of maximum likelihood estimation for this problem and discuss an geometric analogue of the well-known BBP phase transition from the matrix setting. We then discuss recent analyses of the behavior of this problem from an optimization perspective. While the threshold for estimation occurs at a finite signal-to-noise ratio, it is expected that one needs a polynomially diverging signal-to-noise ratio to be able to do so efficiently. We present a recent study of the thresholds for efficient recovery for a simple family of algorithms, Langevin dynamics and gradient descent, to better understand the mechanism for this diverging statistical-to-computational gap. I will report on recent works with Ben Arousā??Gheissari on the algorithmic threshold and Lopatto-Miolane on the statistical threshold.

## Shubham Dwivedi : Geometric flows of $G_2$ structures

- Geometry and Topology ( 213 Views )We will start by discussing a flow of isometric $G_2$ structures. We consider the negative gradient flow of the energy functional restricted to the class of $G_2$ structures inducing a given Riemannian metric. We will discuss various analytic aspects of the flow including global and local derivative estimates, a compactness theorem and a monotonicity formula for the solutions. After defining an entropy functional we will prove that low entropy initial data lead to solutions that exist for all time and converge smoothly to a $G_2$ structure with divergence free torsion. We will also discuss finite time singularities and the singular set of the solutions. Finally, we will discuss the isometric flow "coupledā? with the Ricci flow of the underlying metric, which again is a flow of $G_2$ structures, and discuss some of its properties. This is a based on two separate joint works with Panagiotis Gianniotis (University of Athens) and Spiro Karigiannis (University of Waterloo).

## Jonathan Mattingly : Noise induced stabilization of dynamical systems

- Probability ( 208 Views )We investigate an example of noise-induced stabilization in the plane that was also considered in (Gawedzki, Herzog, Wehr 2010) and (Birrell,Herzog, Wehr 2011). We show that despite the deterministic system not being globally stable, the addition of additive noise in the vertical direction leads to a unique invariant probability measure to which the system converges at a uniform, exponential rate. These facts are established primarily through the construction of a Lyapunov function which we generate as the solution to a sequence of Poisson equations. Unlike a number of other works, however, our Lyapunov function is constructed in a systematic way, and we present a meta-algorithm we hope will be applicable to other problems. We conclude by proving positivity properties of the transition density by using Malliavin calculus via some unusually explicit calculations. arXiv:1111.175v1 [math.PR]

## Jianfeng Lu : Surface hopping: Mystery and opportunities for mathematicians

- Graduate/Faculty Seminar ( 201 Views )Surface hopping is a very popular approach in theoretical chemistry for mixed quantum-classical dynamics. Yes, the above sentence looks scary. Let us start over again ... We will examine from a mathematical point of view how stochastic trajectories can be used to approximate solutions to a Schrodinger equation (which is different from what Feynman did). Besides some applications in chemistry, this is a nice topic since it combines ideas from asymptotic analysis, applied probability, and applied harmonic analysis. The only background assumed in this talk is "separation of variables" (and of course some PDEs where separation of variables is applied to).

## Aubrey HB : Persistent Homology

- Graduate/Faculty Seminar ( 185 Views )Persistent Homology is an emerging field of Computational Topology that is developing tools to discover the underlying structure in high-dimensional data sets. I will discuss the origins and main concepts involved in Persistent Homology in an accessible way, with illustrations and comprehensive examples. If time allows, I will also describe some current, as well as, future applications of Persistent Homology.

## Chung Pang Mok : Introduction to Mochizukis works on inter-universal Teichmuller theory

- Number Theory ( 183 Views )Inter-universal Teichmuller theory, as developed by Mochizuki in the past decade, is an analogue for number fields of the classical Teichmuller theory, and also of the p-adic Teichmuller theory of Mochizuki. In this theory, the ring structure of a number field is subject to non-ring theoretic deformation. Absolute anabelian geometry, a refinement of anabelian geometry, plays a crucial role in inter-universal Teichmuller theory. In this talk, we will try to give an introduction to these ideas.

## Maria Gordina : Gaussian type analysis on infinite-dimensional Heisenberg groups

- Probability ( 183 Views )This is a joint work with B.Driver. The groups in question are modeled on an abstract Wiener space. Then a group Brownian motion is defined, and its properties are studied in connection with the geometry of this group. The main results include quasi-invariance of the heat kernel measure, log Sobolev inequality (following a bound on the Ricci curvature), and the Taylor isomorphism to the corresponding Fock space. The latter is a version of the Ito-Wiener expansion in the non-commutative setting.

## Farhang Radjai : Fabric and force anisotropy in cohesive granular materials

- Nonlinear and Complex Systems ( 179 Views )The cohesive strength of granular materials is a consequence of either cohesive bonding (capillary bridging, van der Waals forces) between the grains or the action of a binding solid or liquid material in the pore space. I first discuss the constitutive framework of the plastic behavior of granular materials with internal variables pertaining to the granular fabric. Then, I show how cohesive granular systems can be simulated by different methods accounting for capillary or solid bonding and in the presence of a binding solid or liquid. Finally, I focus on two issues: (1) How does local granular disorder affects the scale-up of cohesive interactions? (2) What are the respective roles of adhesion and volume fraction in the case of binding materials?

## Xuanhe Zhao : Engineering and Physics of Electroactive Polymers: From Micropatterning to Taylor Cone

- Nonlinear and Complex Systems ( 175 Views )As a voltage is applied on a layer of an electroactive polymer, the polymer can reduce in thickness and expand in area, giving an actuation strain over 100%. This talk will discuss the large deformation, instabilities, and energy conversion of electroactive polymers. We will particularly focus on new phenomena of electroactive polymers recently observed at Duke Soft Active Materials Laboratory. Interestingly, these phenomena are closely related to daily-life issues such as skin wrinkling and creasing, physical topics such as the Taylor-Cone instability, and engineering applications such as high-energy-density capacitors and anti-biofouling.

## Ayla Gafni : Extremal primes for elliptic curves without complex multiplication

- Number Theory ( 174 Views )Fix an elliptic curve $E$ over $\mathbb{Q}$. An ''extremal prime'' for $E$ is a prime $p$ of good reduction such that the number of rational points on $E$ modulo $p$ is maximal or minimal in relation to the Hasse bound. In this talk, I will discuss what is known and conjectured about the number of extremal primes $p\le X$, and give the first non-trivial upper bound for the number of such primes when $E$ is a curve without complex multiplication. The result is conditional on the hypothesis that all the symmetric power $L$-functions associated to $E$ are automorphic and satisfy the Generalized Riemann Hypothesis. In order to obtain this bound, we use explicit equidistribution for the Sato-Tate measure as in recent work of Rouse and Thorner, and refine certain intermediate estimates taking advantage of the fact that extremal primes have a very small Sato-Tate measure.

## Nicholas Eriksson : Combinatorial methods in evolutionary biology

- Presentations ( 166 Views )My research focuses in three areas of evolutionary biology: the structure of viral populations, the evolution of drug resistance, and phylogenetics. Knowledge of the diversity of viral populations is important for understanding disease progression, vaccine design, and drug resistance, yet it is poorly understood. New technologies (pyrosequencing) allow us to read short, error-prone DNA sequences from an entire population at once. I will show how to assemble the reads into genomes using graph theory, allowing us to determine the population structure. Next, I will describe a new class of graphical models inspired by poset theory that describe the accumulation of (genetic) events with constraints on the order of occurrence. Applications of these models include calculating the risk of drug resistance in HIV and understanding cancer progression. Finally, I'll describe a polyhedral method for determining the sensitivity of phylogenetic algorithms to changes in the parameters. We will analyze several datasets where small changes in parameters lead to completely different trees and see how discrete geometry can be used to average out the uncertainty in parameter choice.

## Parker Lowrey : Virtual Grothendieck-Riemann-Roch via derived schemes

- Algebraic Geometry ( 163 Views )The usefulness of the various Riemann-Roch formulas as computational tools is well documented in literature. Grothendieck-Riemann-Roch is a commutative diagram relating pullback in K-theory to the pullback of associated Chow invariants for locally complete intersection (l.c.i.) morphisms. We extend this notion to quasi-smooth morphisms between derived schemes, this is the "derived" analog of l.c.i. morphisms and it encompasses relative perfect obstruction theories. We will concentrate on the naturality of the construction from the standpoint of pure intersection theory and how it interacts with the virtual Gysin homomorphism defined by Behrend-Fantechi. Time permitting we will discuss the relationship with existing formulas, i.e., Ciocan-Fonanine, Kapranov, Fantechi, and Goettsche.

## Yunliang Yu : FDS

- Presentations ( 163 Views )FDS (fds.duke.edu) is a content management system (CMS) widely used across Duke for schools and departments to effectively maintain their faculty research and teaching related web pages and reports. In this talk we'll cover some fundamentals of FDS and give a short tutorial on the FDS templates. We hope this talk will help everyone (either webmasters, web developers and designers, and FDS group managers, or interested faculty/staff members) to use FDS better.

## Justin Sawon : On the topology of compact hyperkahler manifolds

- Geometry and Topology ( 160 Views )In this talk we will describe some results about Betti, Hodge, and characteristic numbers of compact hyperkahler manifolds. In (complex) dimension four one can find universal bounds for all of these invariants (Beauville, Guan); in higher dimensions it is still possible to find some bounds. We also describe how these bounds are related to the question: are there finitely many hyperkahler manifolds in each dimension, up to deformation?

## Didong Li : Subspace Approximations with Spherelets

- Graduate/Faculty Seminar ( 160 Views )Data lying in a high-dimensional ambient space are commonly thought to have a much lower intrinsic dimension. In particular, the data may be concentrated near a lower-dimensional subspace or manifold. There is an immense literature focused on approximating the unknown subspace, and in exploiting such approximations in clustering, data compression, and building of predictive models. Most of the literature relies on approximating subspaces using a locally linear, and potentially multiscale, dictionary. In this talk, we propose a simple and general alternative, which instead uses pieces of spheres, or spherelets, to locally approximate the unknown subspace. Theory is developed showing that spherelets can produce dramatically lower covering numbers and MSEs for many manifolds. We develop spherical principal components analysis (SPCA) and spherical multiscale methods. Results relative to state-of-the-art competitors show dramatic gains in ability to accurately approximate the subspace with orders of magnitude fewer components. This leads to substantial gains in data compressibility, few clusters and hence better interpretability, and much lower MSE based on small to moderate sample sizes. A Bayesian nonparametric model based on spherelets will be introduced as an application.

## Humberto Diaz : The Rost nilpotence principle

- Algebraic Geometry ( 159 Views )In this talk, I will discuss Chow motives and the Rost nilpotence principle, which played a role in Voevodsky's celebrated proof of the Milnor conjecture. Conjectural in general, this principle is useful in determining when motivic decompositions obey Galois descent. After covering some preliminaries, I will give an overview of a new proof of this principle for surfaces over a perfect field.

## Mauro Maggioni : Random walks on data sets in high dimensions, and a new hot system of coordinates

- Graduate/Faculty Seminar ( 154 Views )I will motivate the need to analyze data sets in high dimensions, their geometrical properties and the properties of functions on them with several examples. I will focus on techniques based on random walks on data sets, and introduce a new nonlinear system of coordinates based on heat kernels, similar in spirit to the GPS system, for parametrizing data sets. If time allows, I will also discuss simple but surprisingly successful applications of the heat kernel to fit functions on data, that performs at the state-of-art or better as a classifier on a variety of benchmark data sets.

## Fernando Schwartz : On the topology of black holes

- Graduate/Faculty Seminar ( 154 Views )3+1 dimensional black holes have spherical topology, but in higher dimensions this is no longer true. In this talk I will explain the preceding statement and show a construction, in terms of Riemannian geometry, of outermost apparent horizons with nonspherical topology.

## Lisa Piccirillo : The Conway knot is not slice

- Geometry and Topology ( 153 Views )Surgery-theoretic classifications fail for 4-manifolds because many 4-manifolds have second homology classes not representable by smoothly embedded spheres. Knot traces are the prototypical example of 4-manifolds with such classes. IĀ?ll give a flexible technique for constructing pairs of distinct knots with diffeomorphic traces. Using this construction, I will show that there are knot traces where the minimal genus smooth surface generating second homology is not the obvious one, resolving question 1.41 on the Kirby problem list. I will also use this construction to show that Conway knot does not bound a smooth disk in the four ball, which completes the classification of slice knots under 13 crossings and gives the first example of a non-slice knot which is both topologically slice and a positive mutant of a slice knot.

## Ralph Smith : Model Development and Control Design for High Performance Nonlinear Smart Material Systems

- Applied Math and Analysis ( 152 Views )High performance transducers utilizing piezoceramic, electrostrictive, magnetostrictive or shape memory elements offer novel control capabilities in applications ranging from flow control to precision placement for nanoconstruction. To achieve the full potential of these materials, however, models, numerical methods and control designs which accommodate the constitutive nonlinearities and hysteresis inherent to the compounds must be employed. Furthermore, it is advantageous to consider material characterization, model development, numerical approximation, and control design in concert to fully exploit the novel sensor and actuator capabilities of these materials in coupled systems.

In this presentation, the speaker will discuss recent advances in the development of model-based control strategies for high performance smart material systems. The presentation will focus on the development of unified nonlinear hysteresis models, inverse compensators, reduced-order approximation techniques, and nonlinear control strategies for high precision or high drive regimes. The range for which linear models and control methods are applicable will also be outlined. Examples will be drawn from problems arising in structural acoustics, high speed milling, deformable mirror design, artificial muscle development, tendon design to minimize earthquake damage, and atomic force microscopy.

## Kash Balachandran : The Kakeya Conjecture

- Graduate/Faculty Seminar ( 148 Views )In 1917, Soichi Kakeya posed the question: What is the smallest amount of area required to continuously rotate a unit line segment in the plane by a full rotation? Inpsired by this, what is the smallest measure of a set in $\mathbb{R}^n$ that contains a unit line segment in every direction? Such sets are called Kakeya sets, and can be shown to have arbitrarily small measure w.r.t. n-dimensional Lebesgue measure [and in fact, measure zero]. The Kakeya conjecture asserts that the Hausdorff and Minkowski dimension of these sets in $\mathbb{R}^n$ is $n$. In this talk, I will introduce at a very elementary level the machinery necessary to understand what the Kakeya conjecture is asking, and how the Kakeya conjecture has consequences for fields diverse as multidimensional Fourier summation, wave equations, Dirichlet series in analytic number theory, and random number generation. I'll also touch on how tools from various mathematical disciplines from additive combinatorics and algebraic geometry to multiscale analysis and heat flow can be used to obtain partial results to this problem. The talk will be geared towards a general audience.