Moduli spaces of graphs

2022-09-21 12:30 - 13:30
CMSA Room G10
Address: CMSA, 20 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 USA
Colloquium
Speaker: Melody Chan
Title: Moduli spaces of graphs
Abstract: A metric graph is a graph—a finite network of vertices and edges—together with a prescription of a positive real length on each edge. I’ll use the term “moduli space of graphs” to refer to certain combinatorial spaces—think simplicial complexes—that furnish parameter spaces for metric graphs. There are different flavors of spaces depending on some additional choices of decorations on the graphs, but roughly, each cell parametrizes all possible metrizations of a fixed combinatorial graph. Many flavors of these moduli spaces have been in circulation for a while, starting with the work of Culler-Vogtmann in the 1980s on Outer Space. They have also recently played an important role in some recent advances using tropical geometry to study the topology of moduli spaces of curves and other related spaces. These advances give me an excuse to give what I hope will be an accessible introduction to moduli spaces of graphs and their connections with geometry.