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Algebra and Combinatorics Seminar

Mondays, Milner 317 3:003:50
PM 
Cayley Graph of the Free Product Z_{3} * Z_{5 }

The Algebra and Combinatorics seminar is devoted to studying
algebra, combinatorics, their interconnection, and their relations to mathematics
and applications. The seminar's organizer is Chris
Hillar. 
This Week's Seminar / Colloquium



December 6

Eugene
Mukhin, UIPUI
(Note: This is a Thursday and at 2PM) 


2:003:00 
Schubert Calculus and Gaudin model 



Abstract: It is well known that the
dimension of the algebra $O$ of functions
on the intersection of Schubert varieties in a Grassmanian of
Ndimensional planes is equal to the dimension of a space $V$ of
singular
vectors of a suitable weight in a suitable product of irreducible
gl(N)modulues.
It is also well known that the space $V$ is the space of states
of
the quantum Gaudin model and the algebra $B$ of observables of the
Gaudin
model (the Bethe algebra) acts in $V$.
We construct a natural algebra isomorphism from $O$ to $B$ and show
that $V$ as an $O$module is isomorphic to $O*$.
This result allows us to prove a number of longstanding conjectures
in both Schubert calculus and Gaudin model. In particular, we show
that
the spectrum of the Gaudin model is simple for all values of the
parameters of the model and that the corresponding Schubert varieties
intersecttransversally for all real values of the parameters.







September 3 
Harm
Derksen, U. of Michigan 



Mutations of quivers 





September 10 
Chris Hillar, TAMU 



Solving word equations in terms of radicals:
Towards a noncommutative Abel theorem 





September 17 
Aaron Lauve,
TAMU 



Noncommutative invariants and coinvariants
of the symmetric group 





September 24 
Maria Belk,
TAMU 



Problems related to the KneserPoulsen
conjecture 





October 1 
Felipe Voloch,
UT Austin 



Elements of high order in finite fields






October 8 
Lionel Levine, UC
Berkeley 



ChipFiring and RotorRouting on Trees






October 12 (!!) 
Jesus de Loera,
U.C. Davis 



(Note: Friday talk)
Recent Progress on Computing Volumes of
Polytopes 





October 22 
No Seminar 









October 29 
Zach Teitler,
TAMU 



Huebl's "Powers of elements and
monomial ideals" 





November 2 (!!) 
Charles R. Johnson,
College of William & Mary 



(Note: Friday talk)
Eigenvalues, Multiplicities and Graphs 





November 5 
Salah A. Aly, TAMU 



Algebraic Constructions of Quantum LDPC
Codes Derived from
Combinatorial Objects and Finite Geometry 





November 12 
Frank Sottile, TAMU 



A LittlewoodRichardson rule for Grassmannian
Permutations 





November 16 (!!) 
Lauren Williams,
Harvard 



(Note: Friday talk)
Toric geometry and the nonnegative
part of G/P 





November 26 
Sarah Witherspoon,
TAMU 



When is cohomology finitely generated?






December 3 
Aaron Lauve,
TAMU 



Towards an explicit basis for a "Catalan
dimensional" vector space 





December 6 
Eugene Mukhin,
UIPUI 


(Thursday!!) 
Schubert Calculus and Gaudin model 



Abstracts
September 3
Harm Derksen, U. Michigan
Mutations of quivers
Abstract:
.
TOP
September 10
Chris Hillar, TAMU
Solving word equations in terms of radicals:
Towards a noncommutative Abel theorem
Abstract: Let G be a uniquely divisible group (UDgroup);
that is, in G, the
equation g^n = h has a unique solution g given any h and any integer n.
We study the problem of characterizing those word equations W(a,x) = b
which have solutions in terms of radicals. For instance, the equation xax = b
has the solution
x = a^(1/2) [a^(1/2)ba^(1/2)]^1/2 a^(1/2),
which can be verified by "plugging" it into the original equation. We
describe
what we believe to be the answer to this problem, and outline some of the ideas
in our program (which we hope to complete soon).
Motivation (e.g. the BMV trace conjecture from statistical mechanics) and
several examples will also be discussed. Moreover, the talk should be
accessible to a wide audience. (Based on joint work with Lionel Levine).
TOP
September 17
Aaron Lauve, TAMU
Noncommutative invariants
and coinvariants of the symmetric group
Abstract: The algebras NCSym_n and Sym_n (n>0) are defined to be the
S_n invariants inside Q<X> (resp. Q[X]), the noncommutative
(resp. commutative) polynomial functions on an alphabet X of
cardinality n. The abelianization map Q<X> \mapsto Q[X] realizes
Sym_n as a quotient of NCSym_n. Here, we view it as a subspace. Some
surprising identities on the ordinary generating function for the Bell
numbers appear as an immediate corollary. In case n = \infty, we obtain
new information on the Hopf algebraic structure of NCSym_n.
Time permitting, we outline similar results for Hivert's rQSym_n algebras
(r,n>0) and their noncommutative analogues.
(Joint work with F. Bergeron)
TOP
September 24
Maria Belk, TAMU
Problems related to the
KneserPoulsen conjecture
Abstract: Consider a collection of overlapping balls in Euclidean space.
If we change
the positions of the balls, then the volume of the union may change. In the
1950's, Kneser and Poulsen conjectured that if the distances between the
centers do not decrease, then the volume of the union must increase or remain
the same. In 2002, Bezdek and Connelly proved this conjecture for discs on the
Euclidean plane. The conjecture remains open for higher dimensional Euclidean
spaces, as well as for spherical and hyperbolic spaces. In this talk, we will
examine the difficulties involved in extending the proof to these other
settings.
TOP
October 1
Felipe Voloch, UT Austin
Elements of high order
in finite fields
Abstract: We discuss the problem of constructing elements of
high order in finite fields of large degree over their prime field.
We prove that for points on a plane curve, one of the coordinates
has to have high order. We also discuss a conjecture of Poonen for
subvarieties of semiabelian varieties for which our result is a
weak special case.
TOP
October 8
Lionel Levine, UC Berkeley
ChipFiring and RotorRouting
on Trees
Abstract: The sandpile group of a graph G is an abelian group whose order
is the number
of spanning trees of G. I will show how to find the decomposition of the sandpile
group into
cyclic subgroups when G is a regular tree with the leaves are collapsed to a single
vertex. This
result can be used to understand the behavior of the rotorrouter model, a deterministic
analogue
of random walk studied first by physicists and recently rediscovered by combinatorialists.
Several
years ago, Jim Propp simulated a simple process called rotorrouter aggregation
and found that it
produces a near perfect disk in the integer lattice Z^2. While we can prove that
the shape is close
to circular, the theoretical bounds do not match the near perfect circularity
seen in simulations. In
the regular tree, on the other hand, I will show how to use the sandpile group
to prove that rotorrouter
aggregation yields a perfect ball. Joint work with Itamar Landau and Yuval Peres.
TOP
October 12 (Note:
Friday talk)
Jesus de Loera, U.C. Davis
Recent Progress on Computing
Volumes of Polytopes
Abstract: Computing the volume of an object is among the most fundamental
and basic
operations in geometry. Volume computation has been investigated by several
authors from the algorithmic point of view. While there are a few cases for
which the volume can be computed efficiently (e.g., for convex polytopes in
fixed dimension), it has been proved that computing the volume of polytopes of
varying dimension is "hard" in the sense of complexity. In this talk
we
survey why volume computation is relevant in everyone's life, what is currently
know about it, and describe two new results regarding two families of polytopes
wellknown to combinatorialists. First, we talk about the first explicit
combinatorial formula for the volume of the polytope of n x n
doublystochastic matrices, also known as the Birkhoff polytope. Second, we
show that the famous matroid polytopes (which appear in tropical geometry and
optimization among other places) are in fact tractable polytopes when the rank
of the matroid is assumed to be fixed.
Based on two joint papers (1) with F. Liu and R. Yoshida and (2) D. Haws and M.
Koeppe.
TOP
October 22
No Seminar
Abstract:
.
TOP
October 29
Zach Teitler, TAMU
Huebl's "Powers of
elements and monomial ideals"
Abstract: I will present work of Reinhold Huebl that appeared in Comm.
Alg. in
2005 as "Powers of elements and monomial ideals". An ideal $I$ in a
local ring $(R,m)$ is said to have property NN if $f \in I$, $f^n \in
I^{n+1}$ for some $n$ implies $f \in mI$. It is an open question whether
in regular local rings all radical ideals have this property. This
question was studied by Eisenbud and Mazur, among others, in connection
with the proof of Fermat's Last Theorem. In this paper Huebl
characterizes monomial ideals with property NN, in terms of the Newton
polyhedron.
TOP
November 2
Charles R. Johnson, College of William & Mary
Eigenvalues, Multiplicities and Graphs
Abstract: Given an undirected graph G on n vertices,
consider the set S(G) of all nbyn symmetric
matrices with graph G. The diagonal entries of A in S(G) are free (zero or nonzero),
except that they
are real. For each A in S(G), there is a list of multiplicities for the eigenvalues
of A. We are interested
in the multiplicity lists that occur among matrices in S(G). This has been an
area of active research for
a dozen years.
The talk will focus primarily upon trees and will survey known results, including
an important structural
result, dating back to the early 60's, beginning with an observation of Parter.
These include a combinatorial
characterization of the maximum multiplicity, bounds on the minimum number of
distinct eigenvalues and
characterizations of the possible multiplicities for certain classes of trees.
We will mention some
outstanding problems at the end.
TOP
November 5
Salah A. Aly, TAMU
Algebraic
Constructions of Quantum LDPC Codes Derived from
Combinatorial Objects and Finite Geometry
Abstract: Quantum information is sensitive to noise
and needs error correction and recovery
strategies. Quantum error control codes are designed to protect quantum information.
In this
talk I construct a class of classical regular Low Density Parity Check (LDPC)
codes derived
from combinatorial objects and Latin squares. The parity check matrices of these
codes are
constructed by permuting orthogonal Latin squares of order $n$ in blockrows
and blockcolumns.
I show that the constructed LDPC codes are selforthogonal and their minimum
and stopping
distances are bounded. This helps us to construct a family of quantum LDPC codes.I
will assume
no prior knowledge of quantum or LDPC codes.
TOP
November 12
Frank Sottile, TAMU
A LittlewoodRichardson rule for Grassmannian
Schubert problems
Abstract: The motivating and as yet unsolved question
in the modern Schubert
calculus is to give a combinatorial formula for the product of
Schubert classes in the cohomology ring of a flag manifold.
In this talk, I will describe a solution to this problem for a
special, but important class of products.
These are products of Schubert classes pulled back from Grassmannian projections,
and our formula is for the coefficient of the class of a point in such a product.
This rule is joint work with Kevin Purbhoo.
Our rule shows that this intersection number is the number of
certain combinatorial objects we call filtered tableaux,
which are sequences of skew LittlewoodRichardson tableaux
that together fill a shifted shape.
TOP
November 16 (Note:
Friday talk)
Lauren Williams, Harvard
Toric geometry and the nonnegative part of
G/P
Abstract: First I will discuss joint work with
Alex Postnikov and David Speyer (arXiv:0706.2501)
in which we use toric geometry to investigate the topology of the totally nonnegative
part of the
Grassmannian G(k,n)+. G(k,n)+ is a cell complex whose cells C_G can be parameterized
in terms
of the combinatorics of certain planar graphs G. To each cell C_G we associate
a certain polytope
P(G), which turns out to be a face of a Birkhoff polytope: the face lattice
of P(G) can be described
in terms of matchings and unions of matchings of G. We also demonstrate a connection
between
the polytopes P(G) and matroid polytopes. We then associate a toric variety
to each P(G), and use
our technology to prove that the cell decomposition of G(k,n)+ is in fact a
CW complex. A
combinatorial result I proved 2 years ago then implies that the closure of each
cell is contractible;
in particular, G(k,n)+ is contractible.
If time permits, I will briefly describe very recent joint work with Konstanze
Rietsch in which we
extend the previous work to show that the LusztigRietsch cell decomposition
of the totally nonnegative
part of any G/P is a CW complex. In the proof, the combinatorics of planar graphs
is replaced by
the technology of Lusztig's canonical basis.
TOP
November 26
Sarah Witherspoon,
TAMU
When is cohomology finitely generated?
Abstract: The cohomology rings of many types of
finite dimensional algebras are finitely
generated (possibly modulo nilpotent elements). Finite generation opens the
door to geometric
study of modules. We will survey what is known for finite dimensional Hopf algebras
in particular,
including some preliminary new results.
No knowledge of cohomology will be assumed. Any cohomology or rings making an
appearance
will be defined or at least described during the talk. (Joint work with
Mitja Mastnak, Julia Pevtsova, and Peter Schauenburg).
TOP
December 3
Aaron Lauve, TAMU
Towards an explicit basis
for a "Catalan dimensional" vector space
Abstract: This talk is an overview of work in progress with Sarah Mason.
We describe a family of differential operators {E(a)} acting on the polynomial
ring
R=Q[x1,..,xN,y1,..,yN] in two sets of indeterminants. Inside R sits the determinant
D of the Vandermonde matrix V(y1,...,yN).We are concerned with the subspace H
generated by the E_a's and D. The space H is a piece of the socalled "diagonal
harmonics" studied by F. Bergeron, A. Garsia, M. Haiman and others.
* Surprisingly, H=H(N) has dimension the Nth Catalan number.
* More surprisingly, this inoccuous fact does not have an elementary combinatorial
proofinstead Haiman resorts to an argument on the Hilbert scheme of N points
in the plane.
* Most surprisingly, this inoccuous fact was a key step towards a major modern
result
in combinatorial representation theory: Haiman's proof of the N! conjecture
(and I.G. Macdonald's positivity conjecture).
In light of the "most" surprising fact above, Sarah and I feel it would
be appropriate
to eliminate the "more" surprising fact. My plan is to share our progress
towards
exhibiting a combinatorial basis for H. Before doing so, I should first: describe
the
problem in complete, combinatorial detail; outline our plan of attack; and explain
why we think we may succeed where BergeronGarsiaHaiman failed.
TOP
December 10
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