Past Logic Seminar

5 November 2015

We consider the decision problem of determining whether an exponential
polynomial has a real zero.  This is motivated by reachability questions
for continuous-time linear dynamical systems, where exponential
polynomials naturally arise as solutions of linear differential equations.

The decidability of the Zero Problem is open in general and our results
concern restricted versions.  We show decidability of a bounded
variant---asking for a zero in a given bounded interval---subject to
Schanuel's conjecture.  In the unbounded case, we obtain partial
decidability results, using Baker's Theorem on linear forms in logarithms
as a key tool.  We show also that decidability of the Zero Problem in full
generality would entail powerful new effectiveness results concerning
Diophantine approximation of algebraic numbers.

This is joint work with Ventsislav Chonev and Joel Ouaknine.

29 October 2015

In contrast to the Artin-Schreier Theorem, its p-adic analog(s) involve infinite Galois theory, e.g., the absolute Galois group of p-adic fields.  We plan to give a characterization of p-adic p-Henselian valuations in an essentially finite way. This relates to the Z/p metabelian form of the birational p-adic Grothendieck section conjecture.

22 October 2015

In the course of work with Jamshid Derakhshan on definability in adele rings, we came upon various problems about definability and model completeness for possibly infinite dimensional algebraic extensions of p-adic fields (sometimes involving uniformity across p). In some cases these problems had been closely approached in the literature but never  explicitly considered.I will explain what we have proved, and try to bring out many big gaps in our understanding of these matters. This  seems appropriate just over 50 years after the breakthroughs of Ax-Kochen and Ershov.

23 June 2015
Arno Fehm

Already Serre's "Cohomologie Galoisienne" contains an exercise regarding the following condition on a field F: For every finite field extension E of F and every n, the index of the n-th powers (E*)^n in the multiplicative group E* is finite. Model theorists recently got interested in this condition, as it is satisfied by every superrosy field and also by every strongly2 dependent field, and occurs in a conjecture of Shelah-Hasson on NIP fields. I will explain how it relates to the better known condition that F is bounded (i.e. F has only finitely many extensions of degree n, for any n - in other words, the absolute Galois group of F is a small profinite group) and why it is not preserved under elementary equivalence. Joint work with Franziska Jahnke.

*** Note unusual day and time ***

18 June 2015
Peter Aczel

In 1937 Quine introduced an interesting, rather unusual, set theory called New Foundations - NF for short.  Since then the consistency of NF has been a problem that remains open today.  But there has been considerable progress in our understanding of the problem. In particular NF was shown, by Specker in 1962, to be equiconsistent with a certain theory, TST^+ of simple types. Moreover Randall Holmes, who has been a long-term investigator of the problem, claims to have  solved the problem by showing that TST^+ is indeed consistent.  But the working manuscripts available on his web page that describe his possible proofs are not easy to understand - at least not by me.

In my talk I will introduce TST^+ and its possible models and discuss some of the interesting ideas, that I have understood, that Holmes uses in one of his possible proofs.  If there is time in my talk I will also mention a more recent approach of Jamie Gabbay who is taking a nominal sets approach to the problem.
11 June 2015
Jonathan Kirby

I will explain the framework of quasiminimal structures and quasiminimal classes, and give some basic examples and open questions. Then I will explain some joint work with Martin Bays in which we have constructed variants of the pseudo-exponential fields (originally due to Boris Zilber) which are quasimininal and discuss progress towards the problem of showing that complex exponentiation is quasiminimal. I will also discuss some joint work with Adam Harris in which we try to build a pseudo-j-function.

4 June 2015
Gareth Jones

In a series of recent papers David Masser and Umberto Zannier proved the relative Manin-Mumford conjecture for abelian surfaces, at least when everything is defined over the algebraic numbers. In a further paper with Daniel Bertrand and Anand Pillay they have explained what happens in the semiabelian situation, under the same restriction as above.

At present it is not clear that these results are effective. I'll discuss joint work with Philipp Habegger and Masser and with Harry Schimdt in which we show that certain very special cases can be made effective. For instance, we can effectively compute a bound on the order of a root of unity t such that the point with abscissa 2 is torsion on the Legendre curve with parameter t.


**Note change of room**



21 May 2015

Classical anabelian geometry shows that for hyperbolic curves the etale fundamental group encodes the curve provided the base field is sufficiently arithmetic. In higher dimensions it is natural to replace the etale fundamental group by the etale homotopy type. We will report on progress obtained in this direction in a recent joint work with Alexander Schmidt.


**Joint seminar with Number Theory. Note unusual time and place**