USyd lecturer Dr Zsuzsanna Dancso

Upcoming Seminars

Seminars have concluded for 2021 and will resume next year. For seminar updates, please subscribe to the SMRI Algebra and Geometry Online seminar mailing list.

Past seminars

Recordings of most SMRI seminars are available on the SMRI YouTube channel. There are two main streams of seminars:

SMRI Algebra and Geometry Online seminars

SMRI Hybrid seminars

The following courses involving SMRI staff and visitors are not separately listed below:

In addition to the seminars listed below, SMRI staff and visitors have spoken in the Informal Friday Seminars, the Sydney Dynamics Group seminars, and other seminars of the School of Mathematics and Statistics, which can be viewed on the School’s upcoming Seminars & Conferences page.

2021 Seminars
SMRI Seminar
Alexei Davydov, Ohio University

Seminar title: Condensation of anyons in topological states of matter and structure theory of E_2-algebras
Date: Monday 13 December
Seminar recording
Abstract: The talk will be on the algebraic structure present in both parts of the title. This algebraic story is most pronounced for E2-algebras in the category of 2-vector spaces (also known as braided fusion categories). Condensation gives rise to an equivalence relation on such E2-algebras (Witt equivalence) with sets of equivalence classes exhibiting nice properties, e.g. being abelian groups (Witt groups). The Witt group of braided fusion categories is a countably generated abelian group with the torsion part annihilated by 32.
YouTube video


SMRI Algebra and Geometry Online seminar
Shane Kelly, Tokyo Institute of Technology

Seminar title: Blowup formulas for nilpotent sensitive cohomology theories
Date: Thursday 2 December
Seminar info and notes
Abstract: This is joint work in progress with Shuji Saito. Many cohomology theories of interest (l-adic cohomology, de Rham cohomology, motivic cohomology, K-theory…) have long exact sequences associated to blowups. Such a property can be neatly encoded in a Grothendieck topology such as the cdh-topology or the h-topology. These topologies appeared in Voevodsky’s proof of the Bloch-Kato conjecture, and more recently in Beilinson’s simple proof of Fontaine’s CdR conjecture, and in Bhatt and Scholze’s work on projectivity of the affine Grassmanian.

A feature of these topologies which often turns out to be a bug is that the associated sheaves cannot see nilpotents. In this talk I will discuss a modification which can see nilpotents, and which still has long exact sequences for many blowups.

Bio: Shane Kelly is an Associate Professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology. His research area is algebraic K-theory and motivic homotopy theory, and more recently he is interested in applications to representation theory. His graduate studies were mostly based in Paris; in 2012 he received a PhD jointly from Université Sorbonne Paris Nord and The Australian National University under the joint supervision of Cisinski and Neeman, respectively.
Seminar notes (PDF)


SMRI Algebra and Geometry Online
Jack Morava, Johns Hopkins University
Seminar title: On the group completion of the Burau representation
Date: Thursday 11 November
Seminar recording
Abstract: On fundamental groups, the discriminant

ik(zizk) ∈ ×

of a finite collection of points of the plane defines the abelianization homomorphism
sending a braid to its number of overcrossings less undercrossings or writhe.
In terms of diffeomorphisms of the punctured plane, it defnes a kind of
`invertible topological quantum field theory’ associated to the Burau representation,
and in the classical physics of point particles the real part of
its logarithmic derivative is the potential energy of a collection of Coulomb
charges, while its imaginary part is essentially the Nambu-Goto area of a
loop of string in the three-sphere.
Its higher homotopy theory defines a very interesting a double-loop map

× Ω2S3 → 𝒫ic(S0)

to the category of lines over the stable homotopy ring-spectrum, related
to Hopkins and Mahowald’s exotic (E2) multiplication on classical integral
homology, perhaps related to the `anyons’ of nonclassical physics.

Bio: Jack Johnson Morava, of Czech and Appalachian descent, studied under Eldon Dyer and Sir Michael Atiyah, graduating with a PhD from Rice University in 1968, followed by an Academy of Sciences postdoc in Moscow with Yuri Manin and Sergei Novikov. He joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 1979 where he was involved in the Japan-US mathematical institute, and from roughly 2003 to 2010 he worked half-time on the DARPA FunBio initiative. He retired in 2017 to live with his anthropological linguist wife in Charlottesville, Virginia and get some work done.
YouTube video


SMRI Seminar
Vladimir Bazhanov, Australian National University
Seminar title: Quantum geometry of 3-dimensional lattices
Date: Tuesday 26 October
Seminar recording
Abstract: In this lecture I will explain a relationship between incidence theorems in elementary
geometry and the theory of integrable systems, both classical and quantum. We will
study geometric consistency relations between angles of 3-dimensional (3D) circular
quadrilateral lattices — lattices whose faces are planar quadrilaterals inscribable
into a circle. We show that these relations generate canonical transformations of a
remarkable “ultra-local” Poisson bracket algebra defined on discrete 2D surfaces
consisting of circular quadrilaterals. Quantization of this structure allowed us to
obtain new solutions of the tetrahedron equation (the 3D analog of the Yang-Baxter
equation) as well as reproduce all those that were previously known. These solutions
generate an infinite number of non-trivial solutions of the Yang-Baxter equation and
also define integrable 3D models of statistical mechanics and quantum field theory. The
latter can be thought of as describing quantum fluctuations of lattice geometry.
YouTube video


SMRI Algebra and Geometry Online seminar
Joel Kamnitzer, University of Toronto

Seminar title: Symplectic duality and (generalized) affine Grassmannian slices
Date: Thursday 21 October
Seminar recording
Abstract: Under the geometric Satake equivalence, slices in the affine Grassmannian give a geometric incarnation of dominant weight spaces in representations of reductive groups. These affine Grassmannian slices are quantized by algebras known as truncated shifted Yangians. From this perspective, we expect to categorify these weight spaces using category O for these truncated shifted Yangians.

The slices in the affine Grassmannian and truncated shifted Yangians can also be defined as special cases of the Coulomb branch construction of Braverman-Finkelberg-Nakajima. From this perspective, we find many insights. First, we can generalize affine Grassmannian slices to the case of non-dominant weights and arbitrary symmetric Kac-Moody Lie algebras. Second, we establish a link with modules for KLRW algebras. Finally, we defined a categorical g-action on the categories O, using Hamiltonian reduction.

Bio: Joel Kamnitzer is a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Toronto. His research concerns complex reductive groups and their representations, focusing on canonical bases, categorification, and geometric constructions. His 2005 Ph.D. thesis from UC Berkeley focused on the study of Mirkovic-Vilonen cycles in Affine Grassmannians. He received the 2011 Andre Aisenstadt Prize, a 2012 Sloan Research Fellowship, a 2018 E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship, a 2018 Poincare Chair, and the 2021 Jeffrey-Williams Prize.
YouTube video


SMRI Algebra and Geometry Online seminar
Giles Gardam, University of Münster
Seminar title: Solving semidecidable problems in group theory
Date: Tuesday 5 October
Seminar recording
Abstract: Group theory is littered with undecidable problems. A classic example is the word problem: there are groups for which there exists no algorithm that can decide if a product of generators represents the trivial element or not. Many problems (the word problem included) are at least semidecidable, meaning that there is a correct algorithm guaranteed to terminate if the answer is “yes”, but with no guarantee on how long one has to wait. I will discuss strategies to try and tackle various semidecidable problems computationally with the key example being the discovery of a counterexample to the Kaplansky unit conjecture.
Bio: Giles Gardam is a research associate at the University of Münster working in geometric group theory. He studied mathematics and computer science at the University of Sydney, receiving his Bachelor’s degree in 2012, and completed his doctorate at Oxford in 2017. He was then a postdoc at the Technion before starting at Münster in 2019.
YouTube video


SMRI Algebra and Geometry Online
Thursday 16 September
John Greenlees, Warwick University
Seminar title: The singularity category of C^*(BG) for a finite group G
Seminar recording
Abstract: The cohomology ring H^*(BG) (with coefficients in a field k of characteristic p)
is a very special graded commutative ring, but this comes out much more clearly if one uses
the cochains C^*(BG), which can be viewed as a commutative ring up to homotopy. For
example C^*(BG) is always Gorenstein (whilst this is not quite true for H^*(BG)).

This leads one to study C^*(BG) as if it was a commutative local Noetherian ring, though of
course one has to use homotopy invariant methods. The ring C^*(BG) is regular
if and only if G is p-nilpoent and so it is natural to look for ways of deciding where C^*(BG) lies
on a the spectrum between regular and Gorenstein rings. For a commutative Noetherian ring,
one considers the singularity category D_{sg}(R) (the quotient of finite complexes of finitely
generated modules by finitely generated projectives). This is trivial if and only if R is regular,
so is the appropriate tool. The talk will describe how to define this for C^*(BG), show it has
good basic properties and describe the singularity category in the simplest case it is not
trivial (when G has a cyclic Sylow p-subgroup).
YouTube video


SMRI Course
3, 9, 16 24 & 31 August
Vladimir Bazhanov, Australian National University
Course title: Yang-Baxter maps
Course recordings
Course information: Professor Vladimir Bazhanov will give a short course of lectures on Yang-Baxter maps.
The topic lies on the intersection of the theory of quantum groups and discrete integrable equations.
YouTube playlist


SMRI Algebra and Geometry Online
Thursday 26 August
Hankyung Ko, Uppsala University
Seminar title: A singular Coxeter presentation
Seminar recording
Abstract: A Coxeter system is a presentation of a group by generators and a specific form of relations, namely the braid relations and the reflection relations. The Coxeter presentation leads to, among others, a similar presentation of the (Iwahori-)Hecke algebras and the Kazhdan-Lusztig theory, which provides combinatorial answers to major problems in Lie theoretic representation theory and geometry. Extending such applications to the `singular land’ requires the singular version of the Hecke algebra. Underlying combinatorics of the singular Hecke algebra/category comes from the parabolic double cosets and is the first step in understanding the singular Hecke category. In this talk, I will present a Coxeter theory of the parabolic double cosets developed in a joint work with Ben Elias. In particular, I will explain a generalization of the reduced expressions and describe the braid and non-braid relations.
YouTube video


SMRI Algebra and Geometry Online
Thursday 19 August
Lauren Williams, Harvard University
Seminar title: Schubert polynomials, the inhomogeneous TASEP, and evil-avoiding permutations
Seminar recording
Abstract: The totally asymmetric simple exclusion process (TASEP) was introduced around 1970 as a model for translation in protein synthesis and traffic flow.
It has interesting physical properties (e.g. boundary-induced phase transitions) and also beautiful mathematical properties. The inhomogeneous TASEP is a Markov chain of weighted particles hopping on a ring, in which the probability that two particles interchange depends on the weight of those particles. If each particle has a distinct weight, then we can think of this as a Markov chain on permutations. In many cases, the steady state probabilities can be expressed in terms of Schubert polynomials. Based on joint work with Donghyun Kim.
Speaker bio: Lauren Williams is the Robinson professor of mathematics at Harvard and the Seaver Professor at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute. Her research is in algebraic combinatorics. Williams received her BA in mathematics from Harvard College in 2000, and her PhD from MIT in 2005. Subsequently, she was a postdoc at UC Berkeley and Harvard, then a faculty member at UC Berkeley from 2009 to 2018, before returning to Harvard in 2018. She is the recipient of a Sloan Research Fellowship, an NSF CAREER award, the AWM-Microsoft research prize, and is an Honorary member of the London Mathematical Society.
YouTube video


SMRI Algebra and Geometry Online
Thursday, 5 August
Xuhua He, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Seminar title: Tits groups of Iwahori-Weyl groups and presentations of Hecke algebras
Seminar recording
Abstract: Let G(ℂ) be a complex reductive group and W be its Weyl group. In 1966, Tits introduced a certain subgroup of G(ℂ), which is an extension of W by an elementary abelian 2-group. This group is called the Tits group and provides a nice lifting of W.
In this talk, I will discuss a generalization of the notion of the Tits group T to a reductive p-adic group G. Such T, if exists, gives a nice lifting of the Iwahori-Weyl group of G. I will show that the Tits group exists when the reductive group splits over an unramified extension of the p-adic field and will provide an example in the ramified case that such a Tits group does not exist. Finally, as an application, we will provide a nice presentation of the Hecke algebra of the p-adic group G with ln-level structure.
This talk is based on the recent joint work with Ganapathy.
Speaker bio: Xuhua He is the Choh-Ming Professor of Mathematics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He works in pure mathematics. His research interests include Arithmetic geometry, Algebraic groups, and representation theory. He received his Bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Peking University in 2001 and a Ph.D. degree from MIT in 2005 under the supervision of George Lusztig. He worked as a member at the Institute for Advanced Study during 2005-2006 and Simons Instructor at Stony Brook University during 2006-2008. He worked at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology during 2008-2014 as an assistant Professor and associated Professor, and then moved to the University of Maryland during 2014-2019 as a Full Professor of Mathematics before joining CUHK in 2019. He received the Morningside Gold Medal of Mathematics in 2013, the Xplorer Prize in 2020 and is an invited sectional speaker of the International Congress of Mathematicians in 2018.
YouTube video


SMRI Algebra and Geometry Online
Friday, 23 July
Shrawan Kumar, University of North Carolina
Seminar title: Root components for tensor product of affine Kac-Moody Lie algebra modules
Seminar recording
Abstract: This is a joint work with Samuel Jeralds. Let 𝔤 be an affine Kac-Moody Lie algebra and let λ, µ be two dominant integral weights for 𝔤. We prove that under some mild restriction, for any positive root β, V(λ) ⊗ V(µ) contains V(λ + µ – β) as a component, where V(λ) denotes the integrable highest weight (irreducible) 𝔤-module with highest weight λ. This extends the corresponding result by Kumar from the case of finite dimensional semisimple Lie algebras to the affine Kac-Moody Lie algebras. One crucial ingredient in the proof is the action of Virasoro algebra via the Goddard-Kent-Olive construction on the tensor product V(λ) ⊗ V(µ). Then, we prove the corresponding geometric results including the higher cohomology vanishing on the 𝒢-Schubert varieties in the product partial flag variety 𝒢/𝒫 × 𝒢/𝒫 with coefficients in certain sheaves coming from the ideal sheaves of 𝒢-sub Schubert varieties. This allows us to prove the surjectivity of the Gaussian map.
Seminar notes: PDF document
YouTube video


SMRI Algebra and Geometry Online
Thursday, 8 July
Ulrich Thiel, University of Kaiserslautern
Seminar title: Towards the classification of symplectic linear quotient singularities admitting a symplectic resolution
Seminar description
Abstract: Over the past two decades, there has been much progress on the classification of symplectic linear quotient singularities V/G admitting a symplectic (equivalently, crepant) resolution of singularities. The classification is almost complete but there is an infinite series of groups in dimension 4 – the symplectically primitive but complex imprimitive groups – and 10 exceptional groups up to dimension 10, for which it is still open. Recently, we have proven that for all but possibly 39 cases in the remaining infinite series there is no symplectic resolution. We have thereby reduced the classification problem to finitely many open cases. We do not expect any of the remaining cases to admit a symplectic resolution. This is joint work with Gwyn Bellamy and Johannes Schmitt.


SMRI Algebra and Geometry Online
Thursday, 24 June 2021
Gus Lonergan, A Priori Investment Management LLC
Seminar title: Geometric Satake over KU
Seminar recording
Abstract: We describe a K-theoretic version of the equivariant constructible derived category. We state (with evidence!) a ‘geometric Satake’ conjecture relating its value on the affine Grassmannian to representations of the Langlands dual group.
About the speaker: Gus Lonergan is the Chief Mathematician at A Priori Investment Management LLC. He was previously a L.E. Dickson Instructor in the mathematics department at the University of Chicago. He is interested in representation theory.
Lonergan completed his PhD at MIT under Roman Bezrukavnikov; the thesis was an attempt to understand mod p phenomena in algebraic topology in the context of geometric representation theory. He attended Cambridge University for his undergraduate and master’s degree. He plays a little music on the side.
YouTube video


SMRI Algebra and Geometry Online
Thursday, 17 June 2021
Magdalena Boos, Ruhr University Bochum
Seminar title: Advertising symmetric quivers and their representations
Seminar recording
Location: Online via Zoom
Abstract: We introduce the notion of a symmetric quiver as provided by Derksen and Weyman in 2002 and discuss symmetric degenerations in this context (which correspond to orbit closure relations in the symmetric representation variety). After motivating our particular interest in the latter by presenting connections to group actions in algebraic Lie Theory, we explain our main questions: are symmetric degenerations induced by “usual” degenerations in the representation variety of the underlying quiver? We look at (counter)examples and recent results. This is joint work with Giovanni Cerulli Irelli.
YouTube video


SMRI Seminar
Thursday, 10 June 2021
Behrouz Taji, University of Sydney
Seminar title: Projective families of varieties through birational geometry and Hodge theory
Seminar slides
Location: The Quadrangle S227 (University of Sydney staff, students and affiliates only) and via Zoom
Abstract: In the 1920s, building on Fermat’s Last Theorem, Mordell conjectured that the set of rational points of any smooth projective curve of genus at least two, over any number field, is finite. In the 1960s, Shafarevich turned this into a purely algebro-geometric conjecture involving families of smooth projective curves. Parshin, Arakelov and Faltings settled this conjecture by showing that the base spaces of such families are in some sense hyperbolic, as long as there is some variation in the algebraic structure of the fibers. Inspired by recent advances in birational geometry, Kebekus and Kovacs conjectured that these hyperbolicity type properties should hold for a vast class of projective families, with fibers of arbitrary dimension. In this talk I will discuss this conjecture and my solution to it. I will also talk about more recent progress in this area, based on a joint work with Kovacs (University of Washington).
Seminar slides: PDF document


SMRI Seminar
Wednesday, 9 June 2021
Paul Zinn-Justin, University of Melbourne
Seminar title: Generic pipe dreams, conormal matrix Schubert varieties and the commuting variety
Seminar description
Abstract: In the first part of the talk, I will review Grobner degenerations of matrix Schubert varieties, following Knutson et al and others. I will interpret this in terms of quantum integrable systems and discuss how this construction is not entirely satisfactory and needs to be generalized. Then I will provide such a generalization; we’ll work with the “lower-upper scheme”; one component of which is closely related to the commuting variety. We’ll discuss applications to the latter.


SMRI Seminar
Thursday, 3 June 2021
Uri Onn, Australian National University
Seminar title: Base change and representation growth of arithmetic groups
Seminar recording
Abstract: A group is said to have polynomial representation growth if the sequence enumerating the isomorphism classes of finite dimensional irreducible representations according to their dimension is polynomially bounded. The representation zeta function of such group is the associated Dirichlet generating series. In this talk I will focus on representation zeta functions of arithmetic groups and their properties. I will explain the ideas behind a proof of a variant of the Larsen-Lubotzky conjecture on the representation growth of arithmetic lattices in high rank semisimple Lie groups (joint with Nir Avni, Benjamin Klopsch and Christopher Voll) and analogous results for arithmetic groups of type A_2 in positive characteristic (joint with Amritanshu Prasad and Pooja Singla).
YouTube video


SMRI Seminar
Thursday, 20 May 2021
Stephan Tillmann, University of Sydney
Seminar title: On the space of properly convex projective structures
Seminar recording
Abstract: This talk will be in two parts.
I will outline joint work with Daryl Cooper concerning the space of holonomies of properly convex real projective structures on manifolds whose fundamental group satisfies a few natural properties. This generalises previous work by Benoist for closed manifolds. A key example, computed with Joan Porti, is used to illustrate the main results.
YouTube video


SMRI Applied Mathematics Seminar
13 May 2021
Reinout Quispel, La Trobe University
Seminar title: How to discover properties of differential equations, and how to preserve those properties under discretization
Seminar recording
Abstract: This talk will be in two parts.
The first part will be introductory, and will address the question:
Given an ordinary differential equation (ODE) with certain physical/geometric properties (for example a preserved measure, first and/or second integrals), how can one preserve these properties under discretization?
The second part of the talk will cover some more recent work, and address the question:
How can one deduce hard to find properties of an ODE from its discretization?
Bio: Reinout Quispel was an undergraduate at the University of Utrecht (the Netherlands) for nine years, before obtaining a PhD on the discretization of soliton theory from Leiden University in 1983. He moved to Australia for a three-year position in 1986 and is still there 35 years later. His main areas of expertise are in integrable systems and in the geometric numerical integration of differential equations. He was awarded the Onsager Professorship and Medal by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in 2013.
YouTube video


SMRI Algebra and Geometry Online
6 May 2021
Shun-Jen Cheng, Institute of Mathematics, Academia Sinica
Seminar title: Representation theory of exceptional Lie superalgebras
Seminar recording
Abstract: In the first half of the talk we shall introduce the notion of Lie superalgebras, and then give a quick outline of the classification of finite-dimensional complex simple Lie superalgebras.
In the second part of the talk we shall discuss the representation theory of these Lie superalgebras and explain the irreducible character problem in the BGG category. Our main focus will be on our computation of the irreducible characters for two of the exceptional Lie superalgebras. This part is based on recent joint works with C.-W. Chen, L. Li, and W. Wang.
YouTube video


SMRI Seminar
22 April 2021
Marcy Robertson, University of Melbourne
Seminar title: Expansions, completions and automorphisms of welded tangled foams
Seminar recording
Abstract: Welded tangles are knotted surfaces in R^4. Bar-Natan and Dancso described a class of welded tangles which have “foamed vertices” where one allows surfaces to merge and split. The resulting welded tangled foams carry an algebraic structure, similar to the planar algebras of Jones, called a circuit algebra. In joint work with Dancso and Halacheva we provide a one-to-one correspondence between circuit algebras and a form of rigid tensor category called “wheeled props.” This is a higher dimensional version of the well-known algebraic classification of planar algebras as certain pivotal categories.
This classification allows us to connect these “welded tangled foams” to the Kashiwara-Vergne conjecture in Lie theory. In work in progress, we show that the group of homotopy automorphisms of the (rational completion of) the wheeled prop of welded foams is isomorphic to the group of symmetries KV, which acts on the solutions to the Kashiwara-Vergne conjecture. Moreover, we explain how this approach illuminates the close relationship between the group KV and the pro-unipotent Grothendieck–Teichmueller group.
Bio: Marcy Robertson obtained her PhD in Algebraic Topology from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2010. From there she worked in Canada, France and her native United States before settling down in Australia 2015. She is now a Senior Lecturer of Pure Mathematics at the University of Melbourne.
YouTube video


SMRI Applied Mathematics Seminar
15 April 2021
Yury Stepanyants, University of Southern Queensland
Seminar title: The asymptotic approach to the description of two dimensional soliton patterns in the oceans
Seminar recording
Abstract: The asymptotic approach is suggested for the description of interacting surface and internal oceanic solitary waves. This approach allows one to describe a stationary moving wave patterns consisting of two plane solitary waves moving at an angle to each other. The results obtained within the approximate asymptotic theory is validated by comparison with the exact two-soliton solution of the Kadomtsev-Petviashvili equation.
The suggested approach is equally applicable to a wide class of non-integrable equations too. As an example, the asymptotic theory is applied to the description of wave patterns in the 2D Benjamin-Ono equation describing internal waves in the infinitely deep ocean containing a relatively thin one of the layers.
Bio: Yury Stepanyants graduated in 1973 with the HD of MSc Diploma from the Gorky State University (Russia) and started to work as the Engineer with the Research Radiophysical Institute in Gorky. He proceeded his career with the Institute of Applied Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Nizhny Novgorod) from 1977 to 1997. In 1983 Yury obtained a PhD in Physical Oceanography, and in 1992 he obtained a degree of Doctor of Sciences in Geophysics. After immigration in Australia in 1998, Yury worked for 12 years as the Senior Research Scientist with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation in Sydney. Since July 2009 he holds a position of Full Professor at the University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba, Australia. Yury has published more than 100 journal papers, three books, several review papers and has obtained three patents.
YouTube video


SMRI Seminar Double-Header
8 April 2021
Adam Piggott, Australian National University & Murray Elder, University of Technology Sydney
Seminar title: Recent progress on the effective Mordell problem
Seminar recording
Piggott Abstract: A program of research, started in the 1980s, seeks to classify the groups that can be presented by various classes of length-reducing rewriting systems. We discuss the resolution of one part of the program (joint work with Andy Eisenberg (Temple University), and recent related work with Murray Elder (UTS).
Elder Abstract: The growth function of a finitely generated group is a powerful and well-studied invariant. Gromov’s celebrated theorem states that a group has a polynomial growth function if and only if the group is ‘virtually nilpotent’. Of interest is a variant called the ‘geodesic growth function’ which counts the number of minimal-length words in a group with respect to some finite generating set. I will explain progress made towards an analogue of Gromov’s theorem in this case.
I will start by defining all of the terms used in this abstract (finitely generated group; growth function; virtual property of a group; nilpotent) and then give some details of the recent progress made. The talk is based on the papers, and by myself, Alex Bishop, Martin Brisdon, José Burillo and Zoran Šunić.
YouTube video


SMRI Applied Mathematics Seminar
18 March 2021
Jared M. Field, University of Melbourne
Seminar title: Gamilaraay Kinship Dynamics
Seminar description
Abstract: Traditional Indigenous marriage rules have been studied extensively since the mid 1800s. Despite this, they have historically been cast aside as having very little utility. Here, I will walk through some of the interesting mathematics of the Gamilaraay system and show that, instead, they are in fact a very clever construction.
Indeed, the Gamilaraay system dynamically trades off kin avoidance to minimise incidence of recessive diseases against pairwise cooperation, as understood formally through Hamilton’s rule.
Bio:Jared Field completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Sydney in Mathematics and French literature, before reading for a DPhil in Mathematical Biology at Balliol College, Oxford. He is now a McKenzie Fellow in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Melbourne, with broad interests at the intersection of mathematics, evolution and ecology.


SMRI Algebra and Geometry Online
26 February 2021
Monica Nevins, University of Ottawa
Seminar title: Recent progress on the effective Mordell problem
Seminar recording
Abstract: The theory of complex representations of p-adic groups can feel very technical and unwelcoming, but its central role in the conjectural local Langlands correspondence has pushed us to pursue its understanding.
In this talk, I will aim to share the spirit of, and open questions in, the representation theory of G, through the lens of restricting these representations to maximal compact open subgroups.
Our point of departure: the Bruhat-Tits building of G, a 50-year-old combinatorial and geometric object that continues to reveal secrets about the structure and representation theory of G today.
YouTube video

2020 Seminars
SMRI Algebra and Geometry Online
9 December 2020
Minhyong Kim, University of Warwick
Seminar title: Recent progress on the effective Mordell problem
Seminar recording
Abstract: In 1983, Gerd Faltings proved the Mordell conjecture stating that curves of
genus at least two have only finitely many rational points. This can be understood as
the statement that most polynomial equations (in a precise sense)


of degree at least 4 have at most finitely many solutions. However, the effective
version of this problem, that of constructing an algorithm for listing all rational
solutions, is still unresolved. To get a sense of the difficulty, recall how long it
took to prove that there are no solutions to


other than the obvious ones. In this talk, I will survey some of the recent progress on
an approach to this problem that proceeds by encoding rational solutions into arithmetic
principal bundles and studying their moduli in a manner reminiscent of geometric gauge
YouTube video


SMRI Seminar
18 November 2020
Aidan Sims, University of Wollongong
Seminar title: Homotopy of product systems, K-theory of k-graph algebras, and the Yang-Baxter equations
Seminar description
Abstract: Higher-rank graphs, or k-graphs, are higher-dimensional analogues of directed graphs.
Each k-graph can be described in terms of a coloured graph, called its skeleton, and some factorisation rules that describe how 2-coloured paths pair up into commuting squares. C*-algebras of k-graphs generalise Cuntz-Krieger algebras, and have been the subject of sustained interest essentially because questions about crossed products of C*-algebras by higher-rank free abelian groups are hard, and k-graph algebras constitute a comparably tractable class of examples that could point the way to general theorems.
A particularly obstinate question in this vein is that of determining the K-theory of a k-graph algebra, or even just whether the K-theory depends on the factorisation rules, or only on the skeleton. I’ll outline some joint work with James Fletcher and Elizabeth Gillaspy that uses a homotopy argument to establish a surprising link between this question and the question of connectedness (or otherwise) of the space of solutions to a Yang-Baxter-like equation. I won’t assume any background about C*-algebras, k-graphs, or the Yang-Baxter equations, and all are welcome—and people who might know about connectedness (or otherwise) of the spaces of solutions to Yang-Baxter-like equations are especially welcome!


SMRI Seminar
11 November 2020
David Robertson, University of New England
Seminar title: Piecewise full groups of homeomorphisms of the Cantor set
Seminar description
Abstract: A group G acting faithfully by homeomorphisms of the Cantor set is called piecewise full if any homeomorphism assembled piecewise from elements of G is itself an element of G.
They first appeared in the work of Giordano, Putnam and Skau in the context of Cantor minimal systems. Recently they have received significant attention as a source of new examples of finitely generated infinite simple groups. I will present a number of results about these groups obtained in joint work with Alejandra Garrido and Colin Reid.


SMRI Course
28 October, 4 November 2020
James Borger and Lance Gurney, Australian National University
Series title: The geometric approach to cohomology
Course description
Abstract: The aim of these two talks is to give an overview of the geometric aka stacky approach to various cohomology theories for schemes: de Rham, Hodge, crystalline and prismatic (due to Simpson and later Drinfel’d). The basic observation is that interesting cohomology theories for schemes can be realised as the (humble) coherent cohomology an associated stack. Interesting aspects of the cohomology theories e.g. comparison theorems, theories of coefficients, perfectness etc can then be naturally expressed and proven in terms of the geometry of the associated stacks.
YouTube videos


SMRI Algebra and Geometry Online
26 October 2020
Peng Shan, Tsinghua University
Seminar title: Coherent categorification of quantum loop sl(2)
Seminar recording
Abstract: We explain an equivalence of categories between a module category of quiver Hecke algebras associated with the Kronecker quiver and a category of equivariant perverse coherent sheaves on the nilpotent cone of type A. This provides a link between two different monoidal categorifications of the open quantum unipotent cell of affine type A₁, one given by Kang–Kashiwara–Kim–Oh–Park in terms of quiver Hecke algebras, the other given by Cautis–Williams in terms of equivariant perverse coherent sheaves on affine Grassmannians. The first part of the talk will be devoted to introduction to quiver Hecke algebras and categorification of quantum cluster algebras. The main result will be explained in the second part. This is a joint work with Michela Varagnolo and Eric Vasserot.
YouTube video


SMRI Seminar
21 October 2020
Anthony Licata, Australian National University
Seminar title: Stability conditions and automata
Seminar description
Abstract: Autoequivalences of triangulated categories are an interesting and understudied class of groups. In large part due to the development of the theory of Bridgeland stability conditions, there are suggestive parallels between these groups and mapping class groups of surfaces. The goal of this talk will be to explain how some of the geometric group theory which appears in the study of mapping class groups also arises in the study of triangulated autoequivalences.


SMRI Algebra and Geometry Online
8 October 2020
Shamgar Gurevich, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Seminar title: Harmonic analysis on GLₙ over finite fields
Seminar description
Abstract: There are many formulas that express interesting properties of a finite group G in terms of sums over its characters. For estimating these sums, one of the most salient quantities to understand is the character ratio: Trace(ρ(g)) / dim(ρ), for an irreducible representation ρ of G and an element g of G. For example, Diaconis and Shahshahani stated a formula of the mentioned type for analyzing certain random walks on G.
Recently, we discovered that for classical groups G over finite fields there is a natural invariant of representations that provides strong information on the character ratio. We call this invariant rank.
Rank suggests a new organization of representations based on the very few “Small” ones. This stands in contrast to Harish-Chandra’s “philosophy of cusp forms”, which is (since the 60s) the main organization principle, and is based on the (huge collection) of “Large” representations.
This talk will discuss the notion of rank for the group GLₙ over finite fields, demonstrate how it controls the character ratio, and explain how one can apply the results to verify mixing time and rate for random walks.
This is joint work with Roger Howe (Yale and Texas A&M). The numerics for this work was carried with Steve Goldstein (Madison) and John Cannon (Sydney).


SMRI Algebra and Geometry Online
4 August 2020
Sam Raskin, University of Texas at Austin
Seminar title: Tate’s thesis in the de Rham setting
Seminar recording
Abstract: This is joint work with Justin Hilburn. We will explain a theorem showing that D-modules on the Tate vector space of Laurent series are equivalent to ind-coherent sheaves on the space of rank 1 de Rham local systems on the punctured disc equipped with a flat section. Time permitting, we will also describe an application of this result in the global setting. Our results may be understood as a geometric refinement of Tate’s ideas in the setting of harmonic analysis. They also may be understood as a proof of a strong form of the 3d mirror symmetry conjectures in a special case.
YouTube video


SMRI Algebra and Geometry Online
6 July 2020
Eugen Hellmann, University of Münster
Seminar title: On the derived category of the Iwahori–Hecke algebra
Seminar recording
Abstract: In this talk I will state a conjecture which predicts that the derived category of smooth representations of a p-adic split reductive group admits a fully faithful embedding into the derived category of (quasi-)coherent sheaves on a stack of L-parameters. We will make the conjecture precise in the case of the principal block of GLn and relate it to the construction of a family of representations on the stack of L-parameters that interpolates a modified version of the local Langlands correspondence. The existence of this family is suggested by the work of Helm and Emerton–Helm. I will explain why the derived tensor product with this “Emerton–Helm family” should realize the expected embedding of derived categories and discuss some explicit examples.
YouTube video


SMRI Algebra and Geometry Online
25 June 2020
Victor Ostrik, University of Oregon
Seminar title: Incompressible symmetric tensor categories
Seminar recording
Abstract: This talk is based on joint work with Benson and Etingof. We say that a symmetric tensor category is incompressible if there is no symmetric tensor functor from this category to a smaller tensor category. Our main result is a construction of new examples of incompressible tensor categories in positive characteristic.
YouTube video


SMRI Algebra and Geometry Online
3 June 2020
David Ben-Zvi, University of Texas at Austin
Seminar title: Boundary conditions and hamiltonian actions in geometric Langlands
Seminar recording
Abstract: I will discuss some of the structures suggested by the physics of supersymmetric gauge theory of relevance to the geometric Langlands program. The discussion will include defects of various dimensions in field theory, with an emphasis on the role of boundary conditions and how they lead to the suggestion of a duality between hamiltonian actions of Langlands dual groups.
YouTube video


SMRI Course
26 February–11 March 2020
Tom Bridgeland, University of Sheffield
Series title: Introduction to derived categories of coherent sheaves
Course description
Abstract: These lectures will cover some basic results about derived categories of coherent sheaves (e.g. the structure of the derived category of a curve, Fourier-Mukai transforms and how to construct them, tilting bundles, auto-equivalence groups, perhaps spaces of stability conditions). I will assume that the audience is vaguely familiar with the definition of derived and triangulated categories, but I will spend a fair amount of time in the first few lectures trying to give some intuitive feel for these general constructions, and explaining how one makes calculations in practice. I will also need to assume some familiarity with basic algebraic geometry and sheaf theory.


SMRI Colloquium
30 January 2020
Nancy Reid, University of Toronto
Colloquium title: In praise of small data
Colloquium description
Abstract: Statistical science has a 200-year history of advances in theory and application. Data science is a relatively newly defined area of enquiry developing from the explosion in the ubiquitous collection of data. The interplay between these fields, and their interactions with science, are a topic of lively discussion among statisticians. This talk will overview some of the current research in statistical science that is motivated by new developments in data science.
Bio: Nancy Reid is University Professor and Canada Research Chair in Statistical Theory and Applications at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include statistical theory, likelihood inference, design of studies, and statistical science in public policy. Her main research contributions have been to the field of theoretical statistics. Professor Reid is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Royal Society of Canada, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2014 she was appointed Officer of the Order of Canada.