Past Fridays@4

16 June 2017
Lisa Lamberti + Jaroslav Fowkes

Lisa Lamberti

Geometric models in algebra and beyond

Many phenomena in mathematics and related sciences are described by geometrical models.

In this talk, we will see how triangulations in polytopes can be used to uncover combinatorial structures in algebras. We will also glimpse at possible generalizations and open questions, as well as some applications of geometric models in other disciplines.

Jaroslav Fowkes

Jaroslav Fowkes

Optimization Challenges in the Commercial Aviation Sector

The commercial aviation sector is a low-margin business with high fixed costs, namely operating the aircraft themselves. It is therefore of great importance for an airline to maximize passenger capacity on its route network. The majority of existing full-service airlines use largely outdated capacity allocation models based on customer segmentation and fixed, pre-determined price levels. Low-cost airlines, on the other hand, mostly fly single-leg routes and have been using dynamic pricing models to control demand by setting prices in real-time. In this talk, I will review our recent research on dynamic pricing models for the Emirates route network which, unlike that of most low-cost airlines, has multiple routes traversing (and therefore competing for) the same leg.

26 May 2017
Erik Panzer + Yuji Nakatsukasa

Erik Panzer

Feynman integrals, graph polynomials and zeta values

Where do particle physicists, algebraic geometers and number theorists meet?

Feynman integrals compute how elementary particles interact and they are fundamental for our understanding of collider experiments. At the same time, they provide a rich family of special functions that are defined as period integrals, including special values of certain L functions.

In the talk I will give the definition of Feynman integrals via graph polynomials and discuss some examples that evaluate to values of the Riemann zeta function. Then I will discuss some of the interesting questions in this field and mention some of the techniques that are used to study these.


Yuji Nakatsukasa

Yuji Nakatsukasa

Computing matrix eigenvalues

The numerical linear algebra community solves two main problems: linear systems, and eigenvalue problems. They are both vastly important; it would not be too far-fetched to say that most (continuous) problems in scientific computing eventually boil down to one or both of these.

This talk focuses on eigenvalue problems. I will first describe some of their applications, such as Google's PageRank, PCA, finding zeros and poles of functions, and global optimization. I will then turn to algorithms for computing eigenvalues, namely the classical QR algorithm---which is still the basis for state-of-the-art. I will emphasize that the underlying mathematics is (together with the power method and numerical stability analysis) rational approximation theory.

19 May 2017
Professor Uta Frith and Dr Maria Bruna

Professor Uta Frith FRS is a distinguished developmental psychologist who is well known for her pioneering research on autism spectrum disorders. She also has a long-standing interest in matters relating to diversity in science, and is the Chair of the Royal Society's Diversity Committee. Oxford Mathematician Dr Maria Bruna is a Junior Research Fellow in Mathematics at St John's College, and has won prizes such as the L'Oréal-UNESCO UK and Ireland For Women in Science Fellowship and the Olga Taussky Pauli Fellowship, Wolfgang Pauli Institute. This informal discussion will no doubt include a range of topics -- but it is hard to say in advance where the conversation might go!

21 April 2017
Dyrol Lumbard and Vicky Neale

Research takes a long time while the attention span of the world is apparently decreasing, so today's researchers need to be able to get their message across quickly and succinctly. In this session we'll share some tips on how to communicate the key messages of your work in just a few minutes, and give you a chance to have a go yourself.  This will be helpful for job and funding applications and interviews, and also for public engagement. In September there will be an opportunity to do it for real, for our alumni, when we'll showcase Oxford Mathematics at the Alumni Weekend.

10 March 2017
Daniele Celoria + Mariano Beguerisse

Categorification of knot polynomials -- Daniele Celoria

Classically, the most powerful and versatile knot invariants take the form of polynomials. These can usually be defined by simple recursive equations, known as skein relations; after giving the main examples of polynomial knot invariants (Alexander and Jones polynomials), we are going to informally introduce categorifications. Finally we are going to present the Knot Floer and the Khovanov homologies, and show that they provide a categorification of the aforementioned polynomial knot invariants.

Network science for online social media: an x-ray or a stethoscope for society -- Mariano Beguerisse

The abundance of data from social media outlets such as Twitter provides the opportunity to perform research at a societal level at a scale unforeseen. This has spurred the development of mathematical and computational methods such as network science, which uses the formalism and language of graph theory to study large systems of interacting agents. In this talk, I will provide a sketch of network science and its application to study online social media. A number of different networks can be constructed from Twitter data, which can be used to ask questions about users, ranging from the structural (an 'x-ray' to see how societies are connected online) to the topical ('stethoscope' to feel how users interact in the context of specific event). I will provide concrete examples from the UK riots of 2011, applications to medical anthropology, and political referenda, and will also highlight distinct challenges such as the directionality of connections, the size of the network, the use of temporal information and text, all of which are active areas of research.

24 February 2017
Alison Trinder and Dave Hewett

Do you find yourself agreeing to things when actually you want more – or less? In this session we will look at how to be clear about what you want, and how to use assertiveness and negotiation skills and strategies to achieve win-win outcomes when working with others.