## Higher ribbon graphs

Ribbon graphs capture the topology of open Riemann surfaces in an elementary combinatorial form. One can hope this is the first step toward a general theory for open symplectic manifolds such as Stein manifolds. We will discuss progress toward such a higher dimensional theory (joint work with Alvarez-Gavela, Eliashberg, and Starkston), and in particular, what kind of topological spaces might generalize graphs. We will also discuss applications to the calculation of symplectic invariants.