Colloquium 2021–22

During the 2021–22 academic year, the CMSA will be hosting a Colloquium, organized by Du Pei, Changji Xu, and Michael Simkin. It will take place on Wednesdays at 9:30am – 10:30am (Boston time). The meetings will take place virtually on Zoom. All CMSA postdocs/members are required to attend the weekly CMSA Members’ Seminars, as well as the weekly CMSA Colloquium series.

DateSpeakerTitle/Abstract
9/15/2021Tian Yang, Texas A&MTitle: Hyperbolic Geometry and Quantum Invariants

Abstract: There are two very different approaches to 3-dimensional topology, the hyperbolic geometry following the work of Thurston and the quantum invariants following the work of Jones and Witten. These two approaches are related by a sequence of problems called the Volume Conjectures. In this talk, I will explain these conjectures and present some recent joint works with Ka Ho Wong related to or benefited from this relationship.
9/29/2021David Jordan, University of EdinburghTitle: Langlands duality for 3 manifolds

Abstract: Langlands duality began as a deep and still mysterious conjecture in number theory, before branching into a similarly deep and mysterious conjecture of Beilinson and Drinfeld concerning the algebraic geometry of Riemann surfaces. In this guise it was given a physical explanation in the framework of 4-dimensional super symmetric quantum field theory by Kapustin and Witten.  However to this day the Hilbert space attached to 3-manifolds, and hence the precise form of Langlands duality for them, remains a mystery.

In this talk I will propose that so-called “skein modules” of 3-manifolds give natural candidates for these Hilbert spaces at generic twisting parameter Psi , and I will explain a Langlands duality in this setting, which we have conjectured with Ben-Zvi, Gunningham and Safronov.

Intriguingly, the precise formulation of such a conjecture in the classical limit Psi=0 is still an open question, beyond the scope of the talk.
10/06/2021Piotr Sulkowski, U WarsawTitle: Strings, knots and quivers

Abstract: I will discuss a recently discovered relation between quivers and knots, as well as – more generally – toric Calabi-Yau manifolds. In the context of knots this relation is referred to as the knots-quivers correspondence, and it states that various invariants of a given knot are captured by characteristics of a certain quiver, which can be associated to this knot. Among others, this correspondence enables to prove integrality of LMOV invariants of a knot by relating them to motivic Donaldson-Thomas invariants of the corresponding quiver, it provides a new insight on knot categorification, etc. This correspondence arises from string theory interpretation and engineering of knots in brane systems in the conifold geometry; replacing the conifold by other toric Calabi-Yau manifolds leads to analogous relations between such manifolds and quivers.
10/13/2021Alexei Oblomkov, University of MassachusettsTitle: Knot homology and sheaves on the Hilbert scheme of points on the plane.

Abstract: The knot homology (defined by Khovavov, Rozansky) provide us with a refinement of the knot polynomial knot invariant defined by Jones. However, the knot homology are much harder to compute compared to the polynomial invariant of Jones. In my talk I present recent developments that allow us to use tools of algebraic geometry to compute the homology of torus knots and prove long-standing conjecture on the Poincare duality the knot homology. In more details, using physics ideas of Kapustin-Rozansky-Saulina, in the joint work with Rozansky, we provide a mathematical construction that associates to a braid on n strands a complex of sheaves on the Hilbert scheme of n points on the plane.  The knot homology of the closure of the braid is a space of sections of this sheaf. The sheaf is also invariant with respect to the natural symmetry of the plane, the symmetry is the geometric counter-part of the mentioned Poincare duality. 
10/20/2021Peng Shan, Tsinghua UTitle: Categorification and applications

Abstract: I will give a survey of the program of categorification for quantum groups, some of its recent development and applications to representation theory.
10/27/2021Karim Adiprasito, Hebrew University and University of CopenhagenTitle: Anisotropy, biased pairing theory and applications

Abstract: Not so long ago, the relations between algebraic geometry and combinatorics were strictly governed by the former party, with results like log-concavity of the coefficients of the characteristic polynomial of matroids shackled by intuitions and techniques from projective algebraic geometry, specifically Hodge Theory. And so, while we proved analogues for these results, combinatorics felt subjugated to inspirations from outside of it.
In recent years, a new powerful technique has emerged: Instead of following the geometric statements of Hodge theory about signature, we use intuitions from the Hall marriage theorem, translated to algebra: once there, they are statements about self-pairings, the non-degeneracy of pairings on subspaces to understand the global geometry of the pairing. This was used to establish Lefschetz type theorems far beyond the scope of algebraic geometry, which in turn established solutions to long-standing conjectures in combinatorics.

I will survey this theory, called biased pairing theory, and new developments within it, as well as new applications to combinatorial problems. Reporting on joint work with Stavros Papadaki, Vasiliki Petrotou and Johanna Steinmeyer.
11/03/2021Tamas Hausel, IST AustriaTitle: Hitchin map as spectrum of equivariant cohomology

Abstract: We will explain how to model the Hitchin integrable system on a certain Lagrangian upward flow as the spectrum of equivariant cohomology of a Grassmannian.
11/10/2021Peter Keevash, OxfordTitle: Hypergraph decompositions and their applications

Abstract: Many combinatorial objects can be thought of as a hypergraph decomposition, i.e. a partition of (the edge set of) one hypergraph into (the edge sets of) copies of some other hypergraphs. For example, a Steiner Triple System is equivalent to a decomposition of a complete graph into triangles. In general, Steiner Systems are equivalent to decompositions of complete uniform hypergraphs into other complete uniform hypergraphs (of some specified sizes). The Existence Conjecture for Combinatorial Designs, which I proved in 2014, states that, bar finitely many exceptions, such decompositions exist whenever the necessary ‘divisibility conditions’ hold. I also obtained a generalisation to the quasirandom setting, which implies an approximate formula for the number of designs; in particular, this resolved Wilson’s Conjecture on the number of Steiner Triple Systems. A more general result that I proved in 2018 on decomposing lattice-valued vectors indexed by labelled complexes provides many further existence and counting results for a wide range of combinatorial objects, such as resolvable designs (the generalised form of Kirkman’s Schoolgirl Problem), whist tournaments or generalised Sudoku squares. In this talk, I plan to review this background and then describe some more recent and ongoing applications of these results and developments of the ideas behind them.
11/17/2021Andrea Brini, U SheffieldTitle: Curve counting on surfaces and topological strings

Abstract: Enumerative geometry is a venerable subfield of Mathematics, with roots dating back to Greek Antiquity and a present inextricably linked with developments in other domains. Since the early 90s, in particular, the interaction with String Theory has sent shockwaves through the subject, giving both unexpected new perspectives and a remarkably powerful, physics-motivated toolkit to tackle several traditionally hard questions in the field.
I will survey some recent developments in this vein for the case of enumerative invariants associated to a pair (X, D), with X a complex algebraic surface and D a singular anticanonical divisor in it. I will describe a surprising web of correspondences linking together several a priori distant classes of enumerative invariants associated to (X, D), including the log Gromov-Witten invariants of the pair, the Gromov-Witten invariants of an associated higher dimensional Calabi-Yau variety, the open Gromov-Witten invariants of certain special Lagrangians in toric Calabi–Yau threefolds, the Donaldson–Thomas theory of a class of symmetric quivers, and certain open and closed Gopakumar-Vafa-type invariants. I will also discuss how these correspondences can be effectively used to provide a complete closed-form solution to the calculation of all these invariants.
12/01/2021Richard Wentworth, University of MarylandTitle: The Hitchin connection for parabolic G-bundles

Abstract: For a simple and simply connected complex group G, I will discuss some elements of the proof of the existence of a flat projective connection on the bundle of nonabelian theta functions on the moduli space of semistable parabolic G-bundles over families of smooth projective curves with marked points. Under the isomorphism with the bundle of conformal blocks, this connection is equivalent to the one constructed by conformal field theory. This is joint work with Indranil Biswas and Swarnava Mukhopadhyay. 
12/08/2021Maria Chudnovsky, PrincetonTitle: Induced subgraphs and tree decompositions

Abstract: Tree decompositions are a powerful tool in both structural
graph theory and graph algorithms. Many hard problems become tractable if the input graph is known to have a tree decomposition of bounded “width”. Exhibiting a particular kind of a tree decomposition is also a useful way to describe the structure of a graph.

Tree decompositions have traditionally been used in the context of forbidden graph minors; bringing them into the realm of forbidden induced subgraphs has until recently remained out of reach. Over the last couple of years we have made significant progress in this direction, exploring both the classical notion of bounded tree-width, and concepts of more structural flavor. This talk will survey some of these ideas and results.
12/15/21Constantin Teleman (UC Berkeley)


Title: The Kapustin-Rozanski-Saulina “2-category” of a holomorphic integrable system

Abstract: I will present a construction of the object in the title which, applied to the classical Toda system, controls the theory of categorical representations of compact Lie groups, along with applications (some conjectural, some rigorous) to gauged Gromov-Witten theory. Time permitting, we will review applications to Coulomb branches and the categorified Weyl character formula.

The schedule below will be updated as talks are confirmed.

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