Edward T. Cone Concert: So Percussion

So Percussion with David Lang
March 3, 2017
The season will conclude with a performance by So Percussion, the Edward T. Cone Ensemble-in-Residence at Princeton University. The concerts will feature a program by composer Steve Reich, in honor of his eightieth birthday. A concert talk with David Lang and the artists will follow the Friday, March 3 performance.

Book Talk: The Invention of Humanity

Nicola di Cosmo, Jonathan Israel, Michael Walzer, and Siep Stuurman
March 1, 2017
During most of history, inequality was the habitual and reasonable standard, while equality stood in need of justification, if it was considered at all. Inequality was omnipresent, palpable and realistic, while equality had to be imagined, argued for, conjured up from somewhere. In short, equality had to be invented. In this public book talk, Siep Stuurman will discuss the themes of his book The Invention of Humanity (Harvard University Press) in a panel discussion with Nicola di Cosmo, Jonathan Israel, and Michael Walzer.

Canonical coordinates for Calabi Yau manifolds II

Sean Keel
University of Texas, Austin; Member, School of Mathematics
March 3, 2017
In the two talks, aimed at a broad mathematical audience, I'll explain my conjecture, joint with Gross, Hacking, and Siebert, which says, informally, that if you live on a Calabi Yau, your world comes with an intrinsic global positioning system. More precisely: that the coordinate ring comes with a canonical vector space basis, such that the structure constants for the multiplication rule are given by counts of rational curves (on the mirror).

World Disorder Lecture Series: Latin America: Walls or Bridges?

Jeffrey Davidow
Retired US Ambassador to Mexico, Venezuela, and Zambia; Cohen Group
March 1, 2017
Latin America’s move in recent decades to greater levels of democracy and economic development are undermined by weak institutions, corruption and the lure of populism. While it is a zone of peace with no international hostilities or significant internal insurrections at this time, the nations of the region must deal with complicated futures, which can impact the United States. Cuba, Mexico and Venezuela all face potential profound change.

Canonical coordinates for Calabi Yau manifolds I

Sean Keel
University of Texas, Austin; Member, School of Mathematics
March 1, 2017
In the two talks, aimed at a broad mathematical audience, I'll explain my conjecture, joint with Gross, Hacking, and Siebert, which says, informally, that if you live on a Calabi Yau, your world comes with an intrinsic global positioning system. More precisely: that the coordinate ring comes with a canonical vector space basis, such that the structure constants for the multiplication rule are given by counts of rational curves (on the mirror).

Structural and computational aspects of Brascamp-Lieb inequalities

Avi Wigderson
Herbert H. Maass Professor, School of Mathematics
February 28, 2017
The celebrated Brascamp-Lieb (BL) inequalities are an important mathematical tool, unifying and generalizing numerous inequalities in analysis, convex geometry and information theory, with many used in computer science. I will survey the well-understood structural theory of BL inequalities, and then discuss their computational aspects. Far less was known about computing their main parameters, and I will discuss new efficient algorithms (via operator scaling) for those, which also inform structural questions.

New insights on the (non)-hardness of circuit minimization and related problems

Eric Allender
Rutgers University
February 27, 2017
The Minimum Circuit Size Problem (MCSP) and a related problem (MKTP) that deals with time-bounded Kolmogorov complexity are prominent candidates for NP-intermediate status. We present new results relating the complexity of various approximation problems related to MCSP and MKTP. We show that, under modest cryptographic assumptions, some of these approximation problems must have intermediate complexity: they have no solution in P/poly and are not NP-hard under P/poly reductions.