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
Laura Schaposnik

Higgs bundles are pairs of holomorphic vector bundles and holomorphic 1-forms taking values in the endomorphisms of the bundle. Their moduli spaces carry a natural Hyperkahler structure, through which one can study Lagrangian subspaces (A-branes) or holomorphic subspaces (B-branes). Notably, these A and B-branes have gained significant attention in string theory. After introducing Higgs bundles and the associated Hitchin fibration, we shall look at  natural constructions of families of different types of branes, and relate these spaces to the study of 3-manifolds, surface group representations and mirror symmetry.

  • String Theory Seminar

Our meeting will be a relaxed opportunity to have informal discussions about issues facing minorities in academia and mathematics over lunch. In particular, if anyone would like to suggest a topic to start a discussion about (either in advance or on the day) then please feel free to do this, and it could be a spring board for organised sessions on the same topics in future terms!


By using Malliavin calculus, Bismut type formulas are established for the Lions derivative of , where  0,  is a bounded measurable function,  and  solves a distribution dependent SDE with initial distribution . As applications, explicit estimates are derived for the Lions derivative and the total variational distance between distributions of   solutions with different initial data. Both degenerate and non-degenerate situations are considered. Due to the lack of the semi-group property  and the invalidity of the formula =  , essential difficulties are overcome in the study.

Joint work with Professor Feng-Yu Wang

  • Stochastic Analysis Seminar
Mark Haskins

In recent joint work with Lorenzo Foscolo and Johannes Nordstr\”om we gave an analytic construction of large families of complete circle-invariant $G_2$
holonomy metrics on the total space of circle bundles over a complete noncompact Calabi—Yau 3-fold with asymptotically conical geometry. The
asymptotic models for the geometry of these $G_2$ metrics are circle bundles with fibres of constant length $l$, so-called asymptotically local conical
(ALC) geometry. These ALC $G_2$ metrics can Gromov—Hausdorff collapse with bounded curvature to the given asymptotically conical Calabi—Yau 3-fold as the fibre length $l$ goes to $0$. A natural question is: what happens to these families of $G_2$ metrics as we try to make $l$ large? In general the answer to this question is not known, but in cases with sufficient symmetry we have recently been able to give a complete picture.  

We give an overview of all these results and discuss some analogies with the class of asymptotically locally flat (ALF) hyperkaehler 4-manifolds. In
particular we suggest that a particular $G_2$ metric we construct should be regarded as a $G_2$ analogue of the Euclidean Taub—NUT metric on the complex plane.

  • Geometry and Analysis Seminar
Lisbeth Fajstrup

In directed algebraic topology, a topological space is endowed 
with an extra structure, a selected subset of the paths called the 
directed paths or the d-structure. The subset has to contain the 
constant paths, be closed under concatenation and non-decreasing 
reparametrization. A space with a d-structure is a d-space.
If the space has a partial order, the paths increasing wrt. that order 
form a d-structure, but the circle with counter clockwise paths as the 
d-structure is a prominent example without an underlying partial order.
Dipaths are dihomotopic if there is a one-parameter family of directed 
paths connecting them. Since in general dipaths do not have inverses, 
instead of fundamental groups (or groupoids), there is a fundamental 
category. So already at this stage, the algebra is less desirable than 
for topological spaces.
We will give examples of what is currently known in the area, the kind 
of methods used and the problems and questions which need answering - in 
particular with applications in computer science in mind.


The physics literature has for a long time posited a connection between the geometry of continuous random fields and discrete percolation models. Specifically the excursion sets of continuous fields are considered to be analogous to the open connected clusters of discrete models. Recent work has begun to formalise this relationship; many of the classic results of percolation (phase transition, RSW estimates etc) have been proven in the setting of smooth Gaussian fields. In the first part of this talk I will summarise these results. In the second I will focus on the number of excursion set components of Gaussian fields in large domains and discuss new results on the mean and variance of this quantity.


  • Stochastic Analysis Seminar
Francois Bouchut

We consider solutions to the two-dimensional incompressible Euler system with only integrable vorticity, thus with possibly locally infinite energy. With such regularity, we use the recently developed theory of Lagrangian flows associated to vector fields with gradient given by a singular integral in order to define Lagrangian solutions, for which the vorticity is transported by the flow. We prove strong stability of these solutions via strong convergence of the flow, under the only assumption of $L^1$ weak convergence of the initial vorticity. The existence of Lagrangian solutions to the Euler system follows for arbitrary $L^1$ vorticity. Relations with previously known notions of solutions are shown.

  • Partial Differential Equations Seminar
Roger Penrose

A dedicated search of the CMB sky, driven by implications of conformal
cyclic cosmology (CCC), has revealed a remarkably strong signal, previously
unobserved, of numerous small regions in the CMB sky that would appear to be
individual points on CCC's crossover 3-surface from the previous aeon, most
readily interpreted as the conformally compressed Hawking radiation from
supermassive black holes in the previous aeon, but difficult to explain in
terms of the conventional inflationary picture.

  • Quantum Field Theory Seminar
Maria del Rio Chanona

In this work, study the mean first saturation time (MFST), a generalization to the mean first passage time, on networks and show an application to the 2015 Burundi refugee crisis. The MFST between a sink node j, with capacity s, and source node i, with n random walkers, is the average number of time steps that it takes for at least s of the random walkers to reach a sink node j. The same concept, under the name of extreme events, has been studied in previous work for degree biased-random walks [2]. We expand the literature by exploring the behaviour of the MFST for node-biased random walks [1] in Erdős–Rényi random graph and geographical networks. Furthermore, we apply MFST framework to study the distribution of refugees in camps for the 2015 Burundi refugee crisis. For this last application, we use the geographical network of the Burundi conflict zone in 2015 [3]. In this network, nodes are cities or refugee camps, and edges denote the distance between them. We model refugees as random walkers who are biased towards the refugee camps which can hold s_j people. To determine the source nodes (i) and the initial number of random walkers (n), we use data on where the conflicts happened and the number of refugees that arrive at any camp under a two-month period after the start of the conflict [3]. With such information, we divide the early stage of the Burundi 2015 conflict into two waves of refugees. Using the first wave of refugees we calibrate the biased parameter β of the random walk to best match the distribution of refugees on the camps. Then, we test the prediction of the distribution of refugees in camps for the second wave using the same biased parameters. Our results show that the biased random walk can capture, to some extent, the distribution of refugees in different camps. Finally, we test the probability of saturation for various camps. Our model suggests the saturation of one or two camps (Nakivale and Nyarugusu) when in reality only Nyarugusu camp saturated.

[1] Sood, Vishal, and Peter Grassberger. ”Localization transition of biased random walks on random
networks.” Physical review letters 99.9 (2007): 098701.
[2] Kishore, Vimal, M. S. Santhanam, and R. E. Amritkar. ”Extreme event-size fluctuations in biased
random walks on networks.” arXiv preprint arXiv:1112.2112 (2011).
[3] Suleimenova, Diana, David Bell, and Derek Groen. ”A generalized simulation development approach
for predicting refugee destinations.” Scientific reports 7.1 (2017): 13377.

Jon Cockayne

A fundamental task in numerical computation is the solution of large linear systems. The conjugate gradient method is an iterative method which offers rapid convergence to the solution, particularly when an effective preconditioner is employed. However, for more challenging systems a substantial error can be present even after many iterations have been performed. The estimates obtained in this case are of little value unless further information can be provided about the numerical error. In this paper we propose a novel statistical model for this numerical error set in a Bayesian framework. Our approach is a strict generalisation of the conjugate gradient method, which is recovered as the posterior mean for a particular choice of prior. The estimates obtained are analysed with Krylov subspace methods and a contraction result for the posterior is presented. The method is then analysed in a simulation study as well as being applied to a challenging problem in medical imaging.

  • Numerical Analysis Group Internal Seminar
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