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Jim Nolen : Sticky limit theorems for statistics in singular spaces.



This talk is about extending classical limit theorems of probability (law of large numbers, central limit theorem) to a non-Euclidean setting. I'll talk about new and interesting phenomena observed when sampling independent points from certain singular geometric spaces. The main result is a limit theorem -- the "sticky central limit theorem" -- which applies to the mean or barycenter of a family of independent samples as the number of samples grows. The theorem shows that the geometry of the underlying space may have an interesting effect on the asymptotic fluctuations of the sample means, in a way that does not occur with independent samples in Euclidean space. One motivation for thinking about statistics in singular geometric spaces comes from evolutionary biology; one can consider phylogenetic trees as points in a metric space of the sort discussed in this talk. Apart from this basic motivation, however, the talk will have little biological content and will be mainly about probability.

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