Professor Zijian Diao

Trigonometry Revisited or: If Fourier Had a Quantum Computer

Is sine of 1 degree rational? At a glance this question seems light years away from quantum computing, a cutting-edge research area where computer science meets quantum mechanics. Surprisingly, this question matters not only in the mathematical world, but also in the quantum realm. Its answer and many other rudimentary facts of trigonometry have found their way into the study of various research problems in quantum computing. In this talk we will explore these intriguing connections through the interplay of quantum algorithms and topics from number theory and classical analysis. Along the way, we will solve a long standing puzzle in quantum search and provide a quantum approach to the centuries-old Basel problem.

Date: 4/26/2016
Time: 3:00PM-4:00PM
Place: 315 Armstrong Hall

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Professor Megan Wawro

Research on the Learning and Teaching of Diagonalization and Eigentheory

My research focuses on the learning and teaching of linear algebra. In addition to characterizing student reasoning at both the individual and collective levels, I work to develop curriculum and instructor supports for inquiry-oriented linear algebra courses, as well as investigate student understanding of mathematics in physics. In this talk, I will highlight the synergy of this body of work by summarizing both an analysis of student symbolizing through reinvention of the diagonalization equation and the associated curriculum on diagonalization and eigentheory. I will conclude by sharing preliminary results regarding student reasoning about and symbolization of eigentheory in quantum physics.

Date: 4/22/2016
Time: 3:30PM-4:30PM
Place: 306 Armstrong Hall

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Professor David Offner

Characterizing Cop-Win Graphs and Their Properties Using a Corner Ranking Procedure

Cops and Robber is a two-player vertex pursuit game played on graphs. Some number of cops and a robber occupy vertices of a graph, and take turns moving between adjacent vertices.
If a cop ever occupies the same vertex as the robber, the robber is caught. If one cop is sufficient to catch the robber on a given graph, the graph is called cop-win, and the maximum number of moves required to catch the robber is called the capture time. In this talk we introduce a simple “corner ranking” procedure that assigns a rank to every vertex in a graph.

The results of this procedure can be used to determine many properties of the graph, for example, if it is cop-win, and if so, what the capture time is. We show how corner rank can be used to describe optimal strategies for the cop and robber, and to characterize those cop-win graphs with a given number of vertices which have maximum capture time. Though cop-win graphs and their capture time have previously been characterized, in many cases corner rank gives more streamlined proofs, and allows us to extend known results.

Date: 4/21/2016
Time: 4:00PM-5:00PM
Place: 315 Armstrong Hall

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Professor Truyen Nguyen 4/14/2016

Gradient estimates for nonlinear degenerate parabolic systems

Date: 4/14/2016
Time: 3:45PM-4:45PM
Place: 313 Armstrong Hall

Truyen Nguyen

Abstract: We study nonlinear degenerate parabolic systems of the form $u_t = \mbox{div}\, \mathbf{A}(x,t,u,\nabla u) + \mathbf{B}(x,t, u,\nabla u )$, which include those of $p$-Laplacian type. The system is degenerate if $p\geq 2$ and singular if $1 it difficult to perform any scaling analysis and we handle it by using the intrinsic geometry method of DiBenedetto together with our two-parameter scaling technique.

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Professor Chiranjib Mukherjee 3/17/2016

Compactness, Large Deviations
and Statistical Mechanics

Date: 3/17/2016
Time: 3:30PM-5:00PM
Place: 315 Armstrong Hall

Abstract: In a reasonable topological space, large deviation estimates essentially deal with probabilities of events that are asymptotically (exponentially) small, and in a certain sense, quantify the rate of these decaying probabilities. In such estimates, lower bound for open sets and upper bound for compact sets are essentially local estimates. However, upper bounds for all closed sets often require compactness of the ambient space or stringent technical assumptions (e.g., exponential tightness), which is often absent in many interesting problems which are motivated by questions arising in statistical mechanics (for example, distributions of occupation measures of Brownian motion in the full space Rd).

Motivated by problems that carry certain shift-invariant structure, we present a robust theory of “translation-invariant compactification” of orbits of probability measures in Rd. This enables us to prove a desired large deviation estimates on this “compactified” space. Thanks to the inherent shift-invariance of the underlying problem, we are able to apply this abstract theory painlessly to solve a long standing problem in statistical mechanics, the mean-field polaron problem.

This is based on joint work with S. R. S. Varadhan (New York).

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Abbey Bourdon 3/16/2016

Rational Torsion on CM
Elliptic Curves

Date: 3/16/2016
Time: 3:30PM-5:00PM
Place: 315 Armstrong Hall

Abstract: Let E be an elliptic curve defined over a number field F. By a classical
theorem of Mordell and Weil, the collection of points of E with
coordinates in F form a finitely generated abelian group. We seek to
understand the subgroup of points with finite order. In particular,
given a positive integer d, we would like to know precisely which
abelian groups arise as the torsion subgroup of an elliptic curve
defined over a number field of degree d, and we would like to know how
the size of the torsion subgroup grows as d increases. After providing a
brief introduction to elliptic curves and summarizing prior results, I
will discuss recent progress on these problems for the special class of
elliptic curves with complex multiplication (CM).

Abbey is a candidate for a position in our department.

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Hung P. Tong-Viet 3/15/2016

Derangements in primitive permutation groups and applications

Date: 3/15/2016
Time: 3:30PM-5:00PM
Place: 315 Armstrong Hall

Hung P. Tong-Viet

Abstract: A derangement (or fixed-point-free permutation) is a permutation with no
fixed points. One of the oldest theorems in probability, the Montmort
limit theorem, says that the proportion of derangements in finite
symmetric groups Sn tends to e−1 when n tends to infinity. A classical
theorem of Jordan implies that every finite transitive permutation group
of degree greater than 1 contains derangements. This result has many
applications in number theory, topology, game theory, combinatorics, and
repre- sentation theory. There are several interesting questions on the
order and the number of derangements that have attracted much attention
in recent years. In this talk, I will discuss some of these questions
and I will report on recent results on finite primitive permutation
groups with some restriction on derangements (joint with T.C. Burness)
and some application to modular representation theory (joint with M.L.

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RUME Colloquium

Opportunity to learn from lectures in advanced mathematics

Date: 3/11/2016
Time: 3:30PM-4:30PM
Place: 315 Armstrong Hall

Tim Fukawa-Connelly

Abstract: In this report, we synthesize studies that we have conducted on how students interpret mathematics lectures. We present a case study of a lecture in which students in an advanced mathematics lecture did not comprehend the points that their professor intended to convey. We present three accounts for this: students’ note-taking strategies, their beliefs about proof, and their understanding of the professor’s colloquial mathematics. Finally, we explore via a larger-scale study, lecturing practices and student-note-taking behaviors. We refute claims that mathematicians do not present intuitive or conceptual explanations, and demonstrate that students are unlikely to take meaning away from these more informal aspects of lecture.

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Professor Michael Schroeder 3/10/2016

One Row, One Column,
One Symbol

Date: 3/10/2016
Time: 3:45PM-4:45PM
Place: 315 Armstrong Hall

Abstract: Let n be a positive integer and and r,c,s each be integers in {1,2,...,n}. A partial latin square P satisfies the RCS property if for every ordered triple (x,y,z) belonging to P, either x=r, y=c, or z=s. Partial latin squares of this type were introduced by Casselgren and Haggkvist in a 2013 paper, in which they show that some infinite families of partial latin squares with the RCS property are completable. In this talk, we classify when any partial latin square with the RCS property is completable. This is joint work with Jaromy Kuhl of the University of West Florida.

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Professor Maria Emilianenko 3/4/2016

Kinetic Modeling of
Coarsening in Polycrystals

Date: 3/4/2016
Time: 1:30PM-2:30PM
Place: 315 Armstrong Hall

Abstract: When microstructure of polycrystalline materials undergoes coarsening driven by the elimination of energetically unfavorable crystals, a sequence of network transformations, including continuous expansion and instantaneous topological transitions, takes place. This talk will be focused on recent advances related to the mathematical modeling of this process. Two types of approaches will be discussed, one aimed at simulating the evolution of individual crystals in a 2-dimensional system via a vertex model focused on triple junction dynamics, and one providing a kinetic Boltzmann-type description for the evolution of probability density functions. Predictions based on the new kinetic mesoscale model will be discussed and contrasted with those obtained by large-scale simulations for several classes of interfacial energies.

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