Special Lecture

Please note that the list below only shows forthcoming events, which may not include regular events that have not yet been entered for the forthcoming term. Please see the past events page for a list of all seminar series that the department has on offer.

Past events in this series
28 June 2018
Fernando Vega-Redondo

Poor economies not only produce less; they typically produce things that involve fewer inputs and fewer intermediate steps. Yet the supply chains of poor countries face more frequent disruptions - delivery failures, faulty parts, delays, power outages, theft, government failures - that systematically thwart the production process.

To understand how these disruptions affect economic development, we model an evolving input-output network in which disruptions spread contagiously among optimizing agents. The key finding is that a poverty trap can emerge: agents adapt to frequent disruptions by producing simpler, less valuable goods, yet disruptions persist. Growing out of poverty requires that agents invest in buffers to disruptions. These buffers rise and then fall as the economy produces more complex goods, a prediction consistent with global patterns of input inventories. Large jumps in economic complexity can backfire. This result suggests why "big push" policies can fail, and it underscores the importance of reliability and of gradual increases in technological complexity.

2 July 2018
Lauren Williams

The tree amplituhedron A(n, k, m) is a geometric object generalizing the positive Grassmannian, which was introduced by Arkani-Hamed and Trnka in 2013 in order to give a geometric basis for the computation of scattering amplitudes in N=4 supersymmetric Yang-Mills theory. I will give a gentle introduction to the amplituhedron, and then describe what it looks like in various special cases. For example, one can use the theory of sign variation and matroids to show that the amplituhedron A(n, k, 1) can be identified with the complex of bounded faces of a cyclic hyperplane arrangement. I will also present some conjectures relating the amplituhedron A(n, k, m) to combinatorial objects such as non-intersecting lattice paths and plane partitions. This is joint work with Steven Karp, and part of it is additionally joint work with Yan Zhang.

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