Past Topology Seminar

12 October 2015
Cornelia Drutu

One way of understanding groups is by investigating their actions on special spaces, such as Hilbert and Banach spaces, non-positively curved spaces etc. Classical properties like Kazhdan property (T) and the Haagerup property are formulated in terms of such actions and turn out to be relevant in a wide range of areas, from the conjectures of Baum-Connes and Novikov to constructions of expanders. In this talk I shall overview various generalisations of property (T) and Haagerup to Banach spaces, especially in connection with classes of groups acting on non-positively curved spaces.

29 June 2015
Ramses Fernandez-Valencia

We give a classification of open Klein topological conformal field theories in terms of Calabi-Yau $A_\infty$-categories endowed with an involution. Given an open Klein topological conformal field theory, there is a universal open-closed extension whose closed part is the involutive version of the Hochschild chains associated to the open part.

15 June 2015
Brian Bowditch
We describe some results regarding the quasi-isometric rigidity of
Teichm\"uller space in either the Teichm\"uller metric or the Weil-Petersson
metric; as well as some other spaces canonically associated to a surface.
A key feature which these spaces have in common is that they admit
a ternary operation, which in an appropriate sense, satisfies the
axioms of a median algebra, up to bounded distance.  This allows
us to set many of the arguments in a general context.
We note that quasi-isometric rigidity of the Teichm\"uller metric has recently
been obtained independently by Eskin, Masur and Rafi by different methods.
8 June 2015

p, li { white-space: pre-wrap; Let G be a locally compact Hausdorff topological group. Examples are Lie groups, p-adic groups, adelic groups, and discrete groups. The BC (Baum-Connes) conjecture proposes an answer to the problem of calculating the K-theory of the convolution C* algebra of G. Validity of the conjecture has implications in several different areas of mathematics --- e.g. Novikov conjecture, Gromov-Lawson-Rosenberg conjecture, Dirac exhaustion of the discrete series, Kadison-Kaplansky conjecture. An expander is a sequence  of finite graphs which is efficiently connected. Any discrete group which contains an expander as a sub-graph of its Cayley graph is a counter-example to  the BC conjecture with coefficients. Such discrete groups have been constructed by Gromov-Arjantseva-Delzant and by Damian Osajda. This talk will indicate how to make a correction in BC with coefficients. There are no known counter-examples to the corrected conjecture, and all previously known confirming examples remain confirming examples.

1 June 2015
Andre Henriques

Representations of free loop groups possess an operation, akin to
tensor product, under which they form a braided tensor category. I
will discuss a similar operation, which is present on the category of
representations of the based loop groups, and which equips it with the
structure of a monoidal cateogory. Finally, I will present a recent
result, according to which the Drinfel'd centre of the category of
representations of a based loop group is equivalent to the category of
representations of the corresponding free loop group.

18 May 2015
Jason Behrstock

Erdos and Renyi introduced a model for studying random graphs of a given "density" and proved that there is a sharp threshold at which lower density random graphs are disconnected and higher density ones are connected.  Motivated by ideas in geometric group theory we will explain some new threshold theorems we have discovered for random graphs.  We will then, explain applications of these results to the geometry of Coxeter groups.  Some of this talk will be on joint work with Hagen and Sisto; other parts are joint work with Hagen, Susse, and Falgas-Ravry.

11 May 2015
Ciprian Manolescu

The triangulation conjecture stated that any n-dimensional topological manifold is homeomorphic to a simplicial complex. It is true in dimensions at most 3, but false in dimension 4 by the work of Casson and Freedman. In this talk I will explain the proof that the conjecture is also false in higher dimensions. This result is based on previous work of Galewski-Stern and Matumoto, who reduced the problem to a question in low dimensions (the existence of elements of order 2 and Rokhlin invariant one in the 3-dimensional homology cobordism group). The low-dimensional question can be answered in the negative using a variant of Floer homology, Pin(2)-equivariant Seiberg-Witten Floer homology. At the end I will also discuss a related version of Heegaard Floer homology, which is more computable.

27 April 2015
Laura Ciobanu

In this talk I will show how given a finitely generated relatively hyperbolic group G, one can construct a finite generating set X of G for which (G,X) has a number of metric properties, provided that the parabolic subgroups have these properties. I will discuss the applications of these properties to the growth series, language of geodesics, biautomatic structures and conjugacy problem. This is joint work with Yago Antolin.

20 April 2015
Martin Palmer

Unordered configuration spaces on (connected) manifolds are basic objects
that appear in connection with many different areas of topology. When the
manifold M is non-compact, a theorem of McDuff and Segal states that these
spaces satisfy a phenomenon known as homological stability: fixing q, the
homology groups H_q(C_k(M)) are eventually independent of k. Here, C_k(M)
denotes the space of k-point configurations and homology is taken with
coefficients in Z. However, this statement is in general false for closed
manifolds M, although some conditional results in this direction are known.

I will explain some recent joint work with Federico Cantero, in which we
extend all the previously known results in this situation. One key idea is
to introduce so-called "replication maps" between configuration spaces,
which in a sense replace the "stabilisation maps" that exist only in the
case of non-compact manifolds. One corollary of our results is to recover a
"homological periodicity" theorem of Nagpal -- taking homology with field
coefficients and fixing q, the sequence of homology groups H_q(C_k(M)) is
eventually periodic in k -- and we obtain a much simpler estimate for the
period. Another result is that homological stability holds with Z[1/2]
coefficients whenever M is odd-dimensional, and in fact we improve this to
stability with Z coefficients for 3- and 7-dimensional manifolds.