Sam Nelson (CMC)

Given a finite biquandle X and a commutative ring with identity R, we define an algebraic structure known as a biquandle bracket. Biquandle brackets can be used to define a family of knot and link invariants known as quantum enhancements which include biquandle cocycle invariants and skein polynomials such as the Alexander, Jones and HOMFLYpt polynomials as special cases. As an application we will see a new skein invariant which is not determined by the knot group, the knot quandle or the HOMFLYpt polynomial.

Millikan 2099, Pomona College

Stephan Garcia (Pomona College)

Let $A$ and $B$ be $n \times n$ matrices. Although they are typically unequal, $AB$ and $BA$ share many important properties. We survey some known results in the area and discuss a few novel theorems. This talk will be accessible to students. This is joint work with David Sherman (U.~Virginia) and Gary Weiss (U.~Cincinatti).

Millikan 2099, Pomona College

Adam Sheffer (CalTech)

After Guth and Katz's almost tight bound for the distinct distances problem, one of the main open problems is to characterize the structure of planar point sets that determine a small number of distinct distances. We show that if a set of n points determines o(n) distinct distances then no line contains n^{7/8} points of the set and no circle contains n^{5/6} such points. Our analysis combines tools from incidence geometry and additive combinatorics. In the talk, before getting to our result I will spend some time on surveying the distinct distances problem in general. Joint work with Joshua Zahl and Frank de Zeeuw.

Millikan 2099, Pomona College

Hiren Maharaj (Pomona College)

Let n > 1. A collection of points P on the unit sphere S_{n-2} in R^{n-1} is called a spherical t-design for some positive integer t if the average value of every polynomial in n-1 variables with real coefficients of degree t or less on S_{n-2} equals the average value of f on the set P. A full-rank lattice in R^{n-1} is called strongly eutactic if its set of normalized minimal vectors forms a spherical 2-design. Given a finite Abelian group G of order n, one can form a corresponding lattice L_G of rank n-1. This talk will be about recent joint work with Albrecht Boettcher, Lenny Fukshansky and Stephan Garcia, in which we show that L_G is strongly eutactic if and only if n is odd or G=(Z/2Z)^k for some positive integer k.

Millikan 2099, Pomona College

Edray Goins (Purdue University)

A Belyi map $\beta: P^1(C) \to P^1(C)$ is a rational function with at most three critical values; we may assume these values are ${0, 1, \infty }$. A Dessin d'Enfant is a planar bipartite graph obtained by considering the preimage of a path between two of these critical values, usually taken to be the line segment from 0 to 1. Such graphs can be drawn on the sphere by composing with stereographic projection: $\beta^{-1} ([0,1]) \subseteq P^1(C) \simeq S^2(R)$. Replacing $P^1$ with an elliptic curve $E$, there is a similar definition of a Belyi map $\beta: E(C) \to P^1(C)$. The corresponding Dessin d'Enfant can be drawn on the torus by composing with an elliptic logarithm: $\beta^{-1} ([0,1]) \subseteq E(C) \simeq T^2(R)$. In this talk, we discuss the problems of (1) constructing examples of Belyi maps for elliptic curves and (2) drawing Dessins d'Enfants on the torus. This work is part of PRiME (Purdue Research in Mathematics Experience) with Leonardo Azopardo, Sofia Lyrintzis, Bronz McDaniels, Maxim Millan, Yesid Sanchez Arias, Danny Sweeney, and Sarah Thomaz with assistance by Hongshan Li and Avi Steiner.

Millikan 2099, Pomona College

Mark Huber (CMC)

Suppose I have a non-fair coin with unknown probability $p$ of heads that I can flip as many times as I'd like. A Bernoulli factory is a way of flipping the coin to construct a single coin flip that has chance $f(p)$ of heads for some function $f(p)$. For example, to get a $p^2(1-p)$-coin, I flip the original coin 3 times, and count it as heads if the sequence is HHT, and tails otherwise. My goal in this talk is to build a fast Bernoulli factory for the innocent looking function $f(p) = Cp$, where $C$ is a given constant. It might look innocent, but it turns out that for a fixed number of coin flips, you cannot build a Bernoulli factory that gives a $Cp$ coin for $C > 1$.

So we're going to use a random number of flips to build our $Cp$-coin. I'll show that when $Cp$ is small, this new method uses (to first order) $C$ flips, which for reasons I'll talk about is probably optimal.

Millikan 2099, Pomona College

Alissa Crans (Loyola Marymount University)

Analogous to the case for groups, the collection of quandle homomorphisms, Hom(Q, X), has no natural quandle structure. However, if X is an abelian quandle, then the hom set does become a quandle with the obvious pointwise operation. We will consider examples and investigate properties of this hom quandle.

Millikan 2099, Pomona College

Lenny Fukshansky (CMC)

Given a quadratic equation in N variables over a fixed number field K, there exists an algorithm to determine whether it has a non-trivial solution over K and to find such a solution. This matter becomes considerably more complicated for a system of quadratic equations: existence of a general such algorithm would contradict Matijasevich's negative answer to Hilbert's 10th problem. The problem however is more tractable if we allow searching in extensions of K. I will discuss an approach to this problem, which involves height functions, the common tools of Diophantine geometry. Our investigation extends previous results on small-height zeros of quadratic forms, including Cassels' theorem and its various generalizations and contributes to the literature of so-called "absolute" Diophantine results with respect to height.

Millikan 2099, Pomona College

Organizational meeting in the same room preceding the talk at 12:00 noon.

Lily Silverstein (CGU)

Some machine learning problems are naturally modeled by probability distributions (or other data) defined over a finite group. In this case the generalized Fourier transform, based on irreducible group representations, is a useful tool for designing efficient algorithms. In the case of the symmetric group, we can use combinatorial objects like Young diagrams to define an analogue to bandlimiting. Finally, I will talk about how certain probabilistic inferences can be performed directly in the Fourier domain, by considering the combinatorial decomposition of tensor products of representations. This talk is expository and based mainly on work done by Jonathan Huang and Risi Kondor.

Mudd Science Library 126, Pomona College

Mike Orrison (HMC)

Group frames are special spanning sets of vectors in representations of finite groups that sometimes behave remarkably like orthogonal bases. In this talk, I’ll explain why group frames are beginning to play a prominent role in the work I have been doing with Anna Bargagliotti on linear tests of uniformity for probability distributions defined on finite sets with symmetry. Along the way, I’ll try to convince you that group frames should be a part of the next linear algebra course you teach!

Mudd Science Library 126, Pomona College

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