Members Seminar

The Mathematical Challenge of Large Networks

László Lovász
Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest; Institute for Advanced Study
October 24, 2011

It is becoming more and more clear that many of the most exciting structures of our world can be described as large networks. The internet is perhaps the foremost example, modeled by different networks (the physical internet, a network of devices; the world wide web, a network of webpages and hyperlinks). Various social networks, several of them created by the internet, are studied by sociologist, historians, epidemiologists, and economists. Huge networks arise in biology (from ecological networks to the brain), physics, and engineering.

First Steps in Symplectic Dynamics

Helmut Hofer
Institute for Advanced Study
September 26, 2011

The modern theory of dynamical systems, as well as symplectic geometry, have their origin with Poincare as one field with integrated Ideas. Since then these fields developed quite independently. Given the progress in these fields one can make a good argument why the time is ripe to bring them closer together around the core area of Hamiltonian dynamics

Self-Avoiding Walk and Branched Polymers

John Imbrie
University of Virginia; Member, School of Mathematics
March 7, 2011

I will introduce two basic problems in random geometry. A self-avoiding walk is a sequence of steps in a d-dimensional lattice with no self-intersections. If branching is allowed, it is called a branched polymer. Using supersymmetry, one can map these problems to more tractable ones in statistical mechanics. In many cases this allows for the determination of exponents governing the relationship between the diameter and the number of steps.

Does Infinite Cardinal Arithmetic Resemble Number Theory?

Menachem Kojman
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev; Member, School of Mathematics
February 28, 2011

I will survey the development of modern infinite cardinal arithmetic, focusing mainly on S. Shelah's algebraic pcf theory, which was developed in the 1990s to provide upper bounds in infinite cardinal arithmetic and turned out to have applications in other fields.

This modern phase of the theory is marked by absolute theorems and rigid asymptotic structure, in contrast to the era following P. Cohen's discovery of forcing in 1963, during which infinite cardinal arithmetic was almost entirely composed of independence results.

Some Equations and Games in Evolutionary Biology

Christine Taylor
Harvard University; Member, School of Mathematics
February 14, 2011

The basic ingredients of Darwinian evolution, selection and mutation, are very well described by simple mathematical models. In 1973, John Maynard Smith linked game theory with evolutionary processes through the concept of evolutionarily stable strategy. Since then, cooperation has become the third fundamental pillar of evolution. I will discuss, with examples from evolutionary biology and ecology, the roles played by replicator equations (deterministic and stochastic) and cooperative dilemma games in our understanding of evolution.