Recent developments in knot contact homology

Lenny Ng
Duke University
December 11, 2017
Knot contact homology is a knot invariant derived from counting holomorphic curves with boundary on the Legendrian conormal to a knot. I will discuss some new developments around the subject, including an enhancement that completely determines the knot (joint work with Tobias Ekholm and Vivek Shende) and recent progress in the circle of ideas connecting knot contact homology, recurrence relations for colored HOMFLY polynomials, and topological strings (joint work in progress with Tobias Ekholm).

Recent advances in high dimensional robust statistics

Daniel Kane
University of California, San Diego
December 11, 2017
It is classically understood how to learn the parameters of a Gaussian even in high dimensions from independent samples. However, estimators like the sample mean are very fragile to noise. In particular, a single corrupted sample can arbitrarily distort the sample mean. More generally we would like to be able to estimate the parameters of a distribution even if a small fraction of the samples are corrupted, potentially adversarially.

Diophantine analysis in thin orbits

Alex Kontorovich
Rutgers University; von Neumann Fellow, School of Mathematics
December 8, 2017
We will explain how the circle method can be used in the setting of thin orbits, by sketching the proof (joint with Bourgain) of the asymptotic local-global principle for Apollonian circle packings. We will mention extensions of this method due to Zhang and Fuchs-Stange-Zhang to certain crystallographic circle packings, as well as the method's limitations.

Integral points on Markoff-type cubic surfaces

Amit Ghosh
Oklahoma State University
December 8, 2017
We report on some recent work with Peter Sarnak. For integers $k$, we consider the affine cubic surfaces $V_k$ given by $M(x) = x_1^2 + x_2 + x_3^2 − x_1 x_2 x_3 = k$. Then for almost all $k$, the Hasse Principle holds, namely that $V_k(Z)$ is non-empty if $V_k(Z_p)$ is non-empty for all primes $p$. Moreover there are infinitely many $k$'s for which it fails. There is an action of a non-linear group on the integral points, producing finitely many orbits. For most $k$, we obtain an exact description of these orbits, the number of which we call "class numbers".

Integral points and curves on moduli of local systems

Junho Peter Whang
Princeton University
December 8, 2017
The classical affine cubic surface of Markoff has a well-known interpretation as a moduli space for local systems on the once-punctured torus. We show that the analogous moduli spaces for general topological surfaces form a rich family of log Calabi-Yau varieties, where a structure theorem for their integral points can be established using mapping class group descent. Related analysis also yields new results on the arithmetic of algebraic curves in these moduli spaces, including finiteness of imaginary quadratic integral points for non-special curves.