Forthcoming Seminars

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
22 November 2019
14:00
Abstract

Understanding the mechanisms of mutagenesis is important for prevention and treatment of numerous diseases, most prominently cancer. Large sequencing datasets revealed a substantial number of mutational processes in recent years, many of which are poorly understood or of completely unknown aetiology. These mutational processes leave characteristic sequence patterns in the DNA, often called "mutational signatures". We use bioinformatics methods to characterise the mutational signatures with respect to different genomic features and processes in order to unravel the aetiology and mechanisms of mutagenesis. 

In this talk, I will present our results on how mutational processes might be modulated by DNA replication. We developed a linear-algebra-based method to quantify the magnitude of replication strand asymmetry of mutational signatures in individual patients, followed by detection of these signatures in early and late replicating regions. Our analysis shows that a surprisingly high proportion (more than 75 %) of mutational signatures exhibits a significant replication strand asymmetry or correlation with replication timing. However, distinct groups of signatures have distinct replication-associated properties, capturing differences in DNA repair related to replication, and how different types of DNA damage are translated into mutations during replication. These findings shed new light on the aetiology of several common but poorly explained mutational signatures, such as suggesting a novel role of replication in the mutagenesis due to 5-methylcytosine (signature 1), or supporting involvement of oxidative damage in the aetiology of a signature characteristic for oesophageal cancers (signature 17). I will conclude with our ongoing work of wet-lab validations of some of these hypotheses and usage of computational methods (such as genetic algorithms) in guiding the development of experimental protocols.

  • Mathematical Biology and Ecology Seminar
22 November 2019
15:00
Abstract

Configuration spaces of points in Euclidean space or on a manifold are well studied in algebraic topology. But what if the points have some positive thickness? This is a natural setting from the point of view of physics, since this the energy landscape of a hard-spheres system. Such systems are observed experimentally to go through phase transitions, but little is known mathematically.

In this talk, I will focus on two special cases where we have started to learn some things about the homology: (1) hard disks in an infinite strip, and (2) hard squares in a square or rectangle. We will discuss some theorems and conjectures, and also some computational results. We suggest definitions for "homological solid, liquid, and gas" regimes based on what we have learned so far.

This is joint work with Hannah Alpert, Ulrich Bauer, Robert MacPherson, and Kelly Spendlove.

  • Topological Data Analysis Seminar
22 November 2019
16:00
Abstract

Speaker: Daniel Woodhouse (North)
Title: Generalizing Leighton's Graph Covering Theorem
Abstract: Before he ran off and became a multimillionaire, exploiting his knowledge of network optimisation, the computer scientist F. Thomas Leighton proved an innocuous looking result about finite graphs. The result states that any pair of finite graphs with isomorphic universal covers have isomorphic finite covers. I will explain what all this means, and why this should be of tremendous interest to group theorists and topologists.

Speaker: Benjamin Fehrman (South)
Title: Large deviations for particle processes and stochastic PDE
Abstract: In this talk, we will introduce the theory of large deviations through a simple example based on flipping a coin.  We will then define the zero range particle process, and show that its diffusive scaling limit solves a nonlinear diffusion equation.  The large deviations of the particle process about its scaling limit formally coincide with the large deviations of a certain ill-posed, singular stochastic PDE.  We will explain in what sense this relationship has been made mathematically precise.

25 November 2019
14:15
Abstract

Mean-field games with absorption is a class of games, that have been introduced in Campi and Fischer (2018) and that can be viewed as natural limits of symmetric stochastic differential games with a large number of players who, interacting through a mean-field, leave the game as soon as their private states hit some given boundary. In this talk, we push the study of such games further, extending their scope along two main directions. First, a direct dependence on past absorptions has been introduced in the drift of players' state dynamics. Second, the boundedness of coefficients and costs has been considerably relaxed including drift and costs with linear growth. Therefore, the mean-field interaction among the players takes place in two ways: via the empirical sub-probability measure of the surviving players and through a process representing the fraction of past absorptions over time. Moreover, relaxing the boundedness of the coefficients allows for more realistic dynamics for players' private states. We prove existence of solutions of the mean-field game in strict as well as relaxed feedback form. Finally, we show that such solutions induce approximate Nash equilibria for the N-player game with vanishing error in the mean-field limit as N goes to infinity. This is based on a joint work with Maddalena Ghio and Giulia Livieri (SNS Pisa). 

  • Stochastic Analysis & Mathematical Finance Seminars
25 November 2019
15:45
Ivan Smith
Abstract

The homological monodromy of the universal family of cubic threefolds defines a representation of a certain Artin-type group into the symplectic group Sp(10;\Z). We use Thurston’s classification of surface automorphisms to prove this does not factor through the genus five mapping class group.  This gives a geometric group theory perspective on the well-known irrationality of cubic threefolds, as established by Clemens and Griffiths.
 

25 November 2019
15:45
CHRISTOPH BELAK
Abstract


Stochastic impulse control problems are continuous-time optimization problems in which a stochastic system is controlled through finitely many impulses causing a discontinuous displacement of the state process. The objective is to construct impulses which optimize a given performance functional of the state process. This type of optimization problem arises in many branches of applied probability and economics such as optimal portfolio management under transaction costs, optimal forest harvesting, inventory control, and valuation of real options.

In this talk, I will give an introduction to stochastic impulse control and discuss classical solution techniques. I will then introduce a new method to solve impulse control problems based on superharmonic functions and a stochastic analogue of Perron's method, which allows to construct optimal impulse controls under a very general set of assumptions. Finally, I will show how the general results can be applied to optimal investment problems in the presence of transaction costs.

This talk is based on joint work with Sören Christensen (Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel), Lukas Mich (Trier University), and Frank T. Seifried (Trier University).

References:
C. Belak, S. Christensen, F. T. Seifried: A General Verification Result for Stochastic Impulse Control Problems. SIAM Journal on Control and Optimization, Vol. 55, No. 2, pp. 627--649, 2017.
C. Belak, S. Christensen: Utility Maximisation in a Factor Model with Constant and Proportional Transaction Costs. Finance and Stochastics, Vol. 23, No. 1, pp. 29--96, 2019.
C. Belak, L. Mich, F. T. Seifried: Optimal Investment for Retail Investors with Floored and Capped Costs. Preprint, available at http://ssrn.com/abstract=3447346, 2019.

  • Stochastic Analysis & Mathematical Finance Seminars
25 November 2019
16:00
Zoe Wang
Abstract

Let $[N] = \{1,..., N\}$ and let $A$ be a subset of $[N]$. A result of Sárközy in 1978 showed that if the difference set $A-A = \{ a - a’: a, a’ \in A\}$ does not contain any number which is one less than a prime, then $A = o(N)$. The quantitative upper bound on $A$ obtained from Sárközy’s proof has be improved subsequently by Lucier, and by Ruzsa and Sanders. In this talk, I will discuss my work on this problem. I will give a brief introduction of the iteration scheme and the Hardy-Littlewood method used in the known proofs, and our major arc estimate which leads to an improved bound.

  • Junior Number Theory Seminar

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