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< 2020 >
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  • MATHEMATICAL PICTURE LANGUAGE SEMINAR

    MATHEMATICAL PICTURE LANGUAGE SEMINAR
    Discriminating between unitary quantum processes

    10:00 AM-11:00 AM
    September 8, 2020

    Discriminating between unknown objects in a given set is a fundamental task in experimental science. Suppose you are given a quantum system which is in one of two given states with equal probability. Determining the actual state of the system amounts to doing a measurement on it which would allow you to discriminate between the two possible states. It is known that unless the two states are mutually orthogonal, perfect discrimination is possible only if you are given arbitrarily many identical copies of the state.

    In this talk we consider the task of discriminating between quantum processes, instead of quantum states. In particular, we discriminate between a pair of unitary operators acting on a quantum system whose underlying Hilbert space is possibly infinite-dimensional. We prove that in contrast to state discrimination, one needs only a finite number of copies to discriminate perfectly between the two unitaries. Furthermore, no entanglement is needed in the discrimination task. The measure of discrimination is given in terms of the energy-constrained diamond norm and one of the key ingredients of the proof is a generalization of the Toeplitz-Hausdorff Theorem in convex analysis. Moreover, we employ our results to study a novel type of quantum speed limits which apply to pairs of quantum evolutions. This work was done jointly with Simon Becker (Cambridge), Ludovico Lami (Ulm) and Cambyse Rouze (Munich).

    Zoom: https://harvard.zoom.us/j/779283357

  • HARVARD-MIT ALGEBRAIC GEOMETRY SEMINAR

    HARVARD-MIT ALGEBRAIC GEOMETRY SEMINAR
    Descent for semi-orthogonal decompositions

    3:00 PM-4:00 PM
    September 8, 2020

    This talk is an invitation to derived methods in algebraic geometry. We will use derived algebraic geometry to give a solution to the problem of descending “bases” (semiorthogonal decompositions) on the category of perfect complexes on algebraic varieties. This generalizes, and gives a uniform treatment of the work of Elagin, Shinder, Bernardara, Bergh-Schürer, Auel-Bernardara and Ballard-Duncan-McFaddin. Based on joint work with Ben Antieau in ArXiv:1912.08970.

    Zoom: https://harvard.zoom.us/j/91794282895?pwd=VFZxRWdDQ0VNT0hsVTllR0JCQytoZz09

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  • CMSA EVENT: CMSA Quantum Matter in Mathematics and Physics: Absolute anomalies in (2+1)D symmetry-enriched topological states and exact (3+1)D constructions
    10:30 AM-12:00 PM
    September 10, 2020

    Certain patterns of symmetry fractionalization in (2+1)D topologically ordered phases of matter can be anomalous, which means that they possess an obstruction to being realized in purely (2+1)D. In this talk, I will explain our recent results showing how to compute the anomaly for symmetry-enriched topological (SET) states of bosons in complete generality. Given any unitary modular tensor category (UMTC) and symmetry fractionalization class for a global symmetry group G, I will show how to define a (3+1)D topologically invariant path integral in terms of a state sum for a G symmetry- protected topological (SPT) state. This also determines an exactly solvable Hamiltonian for the system which possesses a (2+1)D G symmetric surface termination that hosts deconfined anyon excitations described by the given UMTC and symmetry fractionalization class. This approach applies to general symmetry groups, including anyon-permuting and anti-unitary symmetries. In the case of unitary orientation-preserving symmetries, our results can also be viewed as providing a method to compute the H4(G,U(1)) obstruction that arises in the theory of G-crossed braided tensor categories, for which no general method has been presented to date. This is joint work with D. Bulmash, presented in arXiv:2003.11553

    Zoom: https://harvard.zoom.us/j/977347126

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  • MATHEMATICAL PICTURE LANGUAGE SEMINAR
    10:00 AM-11:00 AM
    September 15, 2020

    This talk aims to summarize a project I was involved in during the past 5 years, which links together many areas in math, CS and physics. I hope to explain our motivations and goals, summarize our understanding so far, as well as challenges and open problems. I plan to describe, through examples, many of the concepts they refer to, and the evolution of ideas leading to what we know. More details can be found at mathpicture.fas.harvard.edu/seminar. No special background is assumed.

    Zoom: https://harvard.zoom.us/j/779283357

  • CMSA EVENT: CMSA Computer Science for Mathematicians: The Menu-Size of Approximately Optimal Auctions
    11:30 AM-12:30 PM
    September 15, 2020

    We consider a monopolist who wishes to sell n goods to a single additive buyer, where the buyer’s valuations for the goods are drawn according to independent distributions. It is well known that—unlike in the single item case—the revenue-optimal auction (a pricing scheme) may be complex, sometimes requiring a continuum of menu entries, that is, offering the buyer a choice between a continuum of lottery tickets. It is also known that simple auctions with a finite bounded number of menu entries (lotteries for the buyer to choose from) can extract a constant fraction of the optimal revenue, as well as that for the case of bounded distributions it is possible to extract an arbitrarily high fraction of the optimal revenue via a finite bounded menu size. Nonetheless, the question of the possibility of extracting an arbitrarily high fraction of the optimal revenue via a finite menu size, when the valuation distributions possibly have unbounded support (or via a finite bounded menu size when the support of the distributions is bounded by an unknown bound), remained open since the seminal paper of Hart and Nisan (2013), and so has the question of any lower-bound on the menu-size that suffices for extracting an arbitrarily high fraction of the optimal revenue when selling a fixed number of goods, even for two goods and even for i.i.d. bounded distributions.

    In this talk, we resolve both of these questions. We first show that for every n and for every ε>0, there exists a menu-size bound C=C(n,ε) such that auctions of menu size at most C suffice for extracting a (1-ε) fraction of the optimal revenue from any valuation distributions, and give an upper bound on C(n,ε), even when the valuation distributions are unbounded and nonidentical. We then proceed to giving two lower bounds, which hold even for bounded i.i.d. distributions: one on the dependence on n when ε=1/n and n grows large, and the other on the dependence on ε when n is fixed and ε grows small. Finally, we apply these upper and lower bounds to derive results regarding the deterministic communication complexity required to run an auction that achieves such an approximation.

    Based upon:
    * The Menu-Size Complexity of Revenue Approximation, Moshe Babaioff, Y. A. G., and Noam Nisan, STOC 2017
    * Bounding the Menu-Size of Approximately Optimal Auctions via Optimal-Transport Duality, Y. A. G., STOC 2018

    Speaker Bio:

    Yannai Gonczarowski is a postdoctoral researcher at Microsoft Research New England. His main research interests lie in the interface between the theory of computation, economic theory, and game theory—an area commonly referred to as Algorithmic Game Theory. In particular, Yannai is interested in various aspects of complexity in mechanism design (where mechanisms are defined broadly from auctions to matching markets), including the interface between mechanism design and machine learning. Yannai received his PhD from the Departments of Math and CS, and the Center for the Study of Rationality, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he was advised by Sergiu Hart and Noam Nisan, as an Adams Fellow of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Throughout most of his PhD studies, he was also a long-term research intern at Microsoft Research in Herzliya. He holds an M.Sc. in Math (summa cum laude) and a B.Sc. in Math and CS (summa cum laude, Valedictorian) from the Hebrew University. Yannai is also a professionally-trained opera singer, having acquired a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in Classical Singing at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. For his doctoral dissertation, Yannai was awarded the Hans Wiener Prize of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the 2018 Michael B. Maschler Prize of the Israeli Chapter of the Game Theory Society, and the ACM SIGecom Doctoral Dissertation Award for 2018. Yannai is also the recipient of the ACM SIGecom Award for Best Presentation by a Student or Postdoctoral Researcher at EC’18, and of the Best Paper Award at MATCH-UP’19. His first textbook, “Mathematical Logic through Python” (Gonczarowski and Nisan), which introduces a new approach to teaching the material of a basic Logic course to Computer Science students, tailored to the unique intuitions and strengths of this cohort of students, is forthcoming in Cambridge University Press.
    Zoom: https://harvard.zoom.us/j/98684244514

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  • MATHEMATICAL PICTURE LANGUAGE SEMINAR

    MATHEMATICAL PICTURE LANGUAGE SEMINAR
    Triangular Prism equations and categorification

    10:00 AM-11:00 AM
    September 22, 2020

    Fusion categories have been extensively studied by Mathematicians and have proved to have many important applications in quantum physics. A fusion category is completely determined by a set of F-symbols which satisfies the pentagon equations. In general, the fusion categories are constructed by different approaches and their F-symbols remain unknown. In this talk, we introduce the triangular prism equations for fusion categories and show that they are equivalent to the pentagon equations. Moreover, we provide a relevant way to manage the complexity by localization, and thus a possible approach to solve them for the F-symbols. As applications, we provided new criteria for categorification and a categorical approach to the neargroup construction, improving Izumi’s equations.

    Zoom: https://harvard.zoom.us/j/779283357

  • CMSA EVENT: CMSA Computer Science for Mathematicians: Cybersecurity research in the wild
    11:30 AM-12:30 PM
    September 22, 2020
    Cybersecurity research exhibits classic yet complex challenges, melding together cryptography, programming language design, and computational complexity, along with psychology and industrial design.
    One example of these challenges is crafting an expressive yet safe programming language. SQL — the most popular database querying language — is, however, far from being safe; its expressiveness and lack of care in design result in countless SQL injection attacks to this day. The approaches to mitigating this design flaw vary between academia and industry and involve a mixture of graph analysis, system engineering and new designs of programming interfaces.
    During this talk I will review the different participants in frontier research: industry, academia, nationstates and hobbyists. The first part of the talk will focus on these participants and their incentives, while the second part will contrast how academia is approaching them compared to industry and nationstates.

    Zoom: https://harvard.zoom.us/j/91221148687

  • HARVARD-MIT ALGEBRAIC GEOMETRY SEMINAR

    HARVARD-MIT ALGEBRAIC GEOMETRY SEMINAR
    K-stability of cubic fourfolds

    3:00 PM-4:00 PM
    September 22, 2020

    Recently there has been tremendous progress on constructing (projective) moduli spaces of Fano varieties using K-stability. In this talk, we will show that the K-moduli space of cubic fourfolds coincide with their GIT moduli space. In particular, all smooth cubic fourfolds are K-stable as well as those with simple singularities. The key ingredients are local volume estimates in dimension 3 due to Liu-Xu, Ambro-Kawamata non-vanishing theorem for Fano 4-folds, and degeneration of K3 surfaces.

    Zoom: https://harvard.zoom.us/j/91794282895?pwd=VFZxRWdDQ0VNT0hsVTllR0JCQytoZz09

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  • CMSA EVENT: CMSA Math Science Literature Lecture Series
    9:00 AM-10:30 AM
    September 25, 2020

    TITLE: Area-minimizing integral currents and their regularity

    ABSTRACT: Caccioppoli sets and integral currents (their generalization in higher codimension) were introduced in the late fifties and early sixties to give a general geometric approach to the existence of area-minimizing oriented surfaces spanning a given contour. These concepts started a whole new subject which has had tremendous impacts in several areas of mathematics: superficially through direct applications of the main theorems, but more deeply because of the techniques which have been invented to deal with related analytical and geometrical challenges. In this lecture I will review the basic concepts, the related existence theory of solutions of the Plateau problem, and what is known about their regularity. I will also touch upon several fundamental open problems which still defy our understanding.

    Written articles will accompany each lecture in this series and be available as part of the publication “History and Literature of Mathematical Science.”

    For more information, please visit the event page.

    Register here to attend.
  • CMSA EVENT: CMSA Math Science Literature Lecture Series
    12:00 PM-1:30 PM
    September 25, 2020

    TITLE: The origins of Langlands’ conjectures

    ABSTRACT: Langlands has made many contributions to number theory, but the principal one is probably his discovery in 1966–67, followed by work in subsequent years, of the role of the dual group in the theories of automorphic forms and L-functions.  In order to try to understand what this amounted to, I will trace the origins of this development through work of Ramanujan, Hecke, Siegel, Maass, Selberg, and other mathematicians of the twentieth century.

    Talk chair:  Wilfried Schmid

    Written articles will accompany each lecture in this series and be available as part of the publication “History and Literature of Mathematical Science.”

    For more information, please visit the event page.

    Register here to attend.
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  • CMSA EVENT: CMSA Math Science Literature Lecture Series
    9:00 AM-10:30 AM
    September 28, 2020

    TITLE: From Deep Learning to Deep Understanding

    ABSTRACT: In this talk I will discuss a couple of research directions for robust AI beyond deep neural networks. The first is the need to understand what we are learning, by shifting the focus from targeting effects to understanding causes. The second is the need for a hybrid neural/symbolic approach that leverages both commonsense knowledge and massive amount of data. Specifically, as an example, I will present some latest work at Microsoft Research on building a pre-trained grounded text generator for task-oriented dialog. It is a hybrid architecture that employs a large-scale Transformer-based deep learning model,  and symbol manipulation modules such as business databases, knowledge graphs and commonsense rules. Unlike GPT or similar language models learnt from data, it is a multi-turn decision making system which takes user input, updates the belief state, retrieved from the database via symbolic reasoning, and decides how to complete the task with grounded response.

    Written articles will accompany each lecture in this series and be available as part of the publication “History and Literature of Mathematical Science.”

    For more information, please visit the event page.

    Register here to attend.
  • CMSA EVENT: CMSA Mathematical Physics Seminar: Wilson loops as matrix product states
    11:00 AM-12:00 PM
    September 28, 2020

    In this talk, I will discuss a reformulation of the Wilson loop in large N gauge theories in terms of matrix product states. The construction is motivated by the analysis of supersymmetric Wilson loops in the maximally super Yang–Mills theory in four dimensions, but can be applied to any other large N gauge theories and matrix models, although less effective. For the maximally super Yang–Mills theory, one can further perform the computation exactly as a function of ‘t Hooft coupling by combining our formulation with the relation to integrable spin chains.

    Zoom: https://harvard.zoom.us/j/93926041523

  • CMSA EVENT: CMSA Math Science Literature Lecture Series
    12:30 PM-2:00 PM
    September 28, 2020

    TITLE: A personal story of the 4D Poincare conjecture.

    ABSTRACT: The proof of PC4 involved the convergence of several historical streams.  To get started: high dimensional manifold topology (Smale), a new idea on how to study 4-manifolds (Casson), wild “Texas” topology (Bing). Once inside the proof: there are three submodules: Casson towers come to life (in the sense of reproduction), a very intricate explicit shrinking argument (provided by Edwards), and the “blind fold” shrinking argument (which in retrospect is in the linage of Brown’s proof of the Schoenflies theorem). Beyond those mentioned: Kirby, Cannon, Ancel, Quinn, and Starbird helped me understand my proof. I will discuss the main points and how they fit together. It will be a “black board” talk in the sense that I will write on the wall behind my laptop – no PowerPoint. I’ve tried this out and it seems to worked.

    Talk Chair: Peter Kronheimer

    Written articles will accompany each lecture in this series and be available as part of the publication “History and Literature of Mathematical Science.”

    For more information, please visit the event page.

    Register here to attend.
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  • HARVARD-MIT ALGEBRAIC GEOMETRY SEMINAR

    HARVARD-MIT ALGEBRAIC GEOMETRY SEMINAR
    Algebraic Braids and Transcendental Retractions

    3:00 PM-4:00 PM
    September 29, 2020

    If a complex, integral, projective curve C has only planar singularities, then its Jacobian admits a natural compactification with interesting topology. Work of Oblomkov, Shende, and others suggests the existence of a variety, stratified by algebraic tori and defined solely in terms of the topology of C, that retracts transcendentally onto this compactified Jacobian. We expect this retraction to be a new type of nonabelian Hodge correspondence: in particular, at the level of cohomology, it should map a (halved) weight filtration onto a filtration defined via perverse sheaves. I will construct a candidate for the larger variety using the combinatorics of braids and flag varieties, related to but ultimately different from a construction of Shende-Treumann-Zaslow. I will present evidence that the entire story is the SL_n case of a recipe that works for any semisimple group G, and that in a precise sense, these retractions should respect the isomorphism between the unipotent locus of G and the nilpotent locus of Lie(G). The key ingredient is a map from elements of the loop Lie algebra to conjugacy classes in a generalized braid group. The latter are the “algebraic braids” of the title.

    Zoom: https://harvard.zoom.us/j/91794282895?pwd=VFZxRWdDQ0VNT0hsVTllR0JCQytoZz09

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  • CMSA EVENT: CMSA Math Science Literature Lecture Series
    9:00 AM-10:30 AM
    September 30, 2020

    TITLE: Hodge structures and the topology of algebraic varieties

    ABSTRACT: We review the major progress made since the 50’s in our understanding of the topology of complex algebraic varieties. Most of the results  we will discuss  rely on Hodge theory, which  has some analytic aspects giving the Hodge and Lefschetz decompositions, and the Hodge-Riemann relations. We will see that a crucial ingredient, the existence of a polarization,  is missing in the general Kaehler context.
    We will also discuss some results and problems related to algebraic cycles and motives.

    Talk chair: Joe Harris

    Written articles will accompany each lecture in this series and be available as part of the publication “History and Literature of Mathematical Science.”

    For more information, please visit the event page.

    Register here to attend.
  • CMSA EVENT: CMSA Math Science Literature Lecture Series
    12:00 PM-1:30 PM
    September 30, 2020

    TITLE: Immersions of manifolds and homotopy theory

    ABSTRACT: The interface between the study of the topology of differentiable manifolds and algebraic topology has been one of the richest areas of work in topology since the 1950’s. In this talk I will focus on one aspect of that interface: the problem of studying embeddings and immersions of manifolds using homotopy theoretic techniques. I will discuss the history of this problem, going back to the pioneering work of Whitney, Thom, Pontrjagin, Wu, Smale, Hirsch, and others. I will discuss the historical applications of this homotopy theoretic perspective, going back to Smale’s eversion of the 2-sphere in 3-space. I will then focus on the problems of finding the smallest dimension Euclidean space into which every n-manifold embeds or immerses. The embedding question is still very much unsolved, and the immersion question was solved in the 1980’s. I will discuss the homotopy theoretic techniques involved in the solution of this problem, and contributions in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s of Massey, Brown, Peterson, and myself. I will also discuss questions regarding the best embedding and immersion dimensions of specific manifolds, such has projective spaces. Finally, I will end by discussing more modern approaches to studying spaces of embeddings due to Goodwillie, Weiss, and others. This talk will be geared toward a general mathematical audience.

    Talk chair: Michael Hopkins

    Written articles will accompany each lecture in this series and be available as part of the publication “History and Literature of Mathematical Science.”

    For more information, please visit the event page.

    Register here to attend.
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