Thu, 31 May 2018

16:00 - 17:30
L3

How long does it take to get there?

Herbert Huppert
(University of Cambridge)
Abstract

There are a huge number of nonlinear partial differential equations that do not have analytic solutions.   Often one can find similarity solutions, which reduce the number of independent variables, but still leads, generally, to a nonlinear equation.  This can, only sometimes, be solved analytically.  But always the solution is independent of the initial conditions.   What role do they play?   It is generally stated that the similarity  solution agrees with the (not determined) exact solution when (for some variable say t) obeys t >> t_1.   But what is  t_1?   How does it depend on the initial conditions?  How large must  t be for the similarity solution to be within 15, 10, 5, 1, 0.1, ….. percent of the real solution?   And how does this depend on the parameters and initial conditions of the problem?   I will explain how two such typical, but somewhat different, fundamental problems can be solved, both analytically and numerically,  and compare some of the results with small scale laboratory experiments, performed during the talk.  It will be suggested that many members of the audience could take away the ideas and apply them in their own special areas.

Thu, 17 May 2018

16:00 - 17:30
L3

Peeling and the growth of blisters

Professor John Lister
(University of Cambridge)
Abstract

The peeling of an elastic sheet away from thin layer of viscous fluid is a simply-stated and generic problem, that involves complex interactions between flow and elastic deformation on a range of length scales. 

I will illustrate the possibilities by considering theoretically and experimentally the injection and spread of viscous fluid beneath a flexible elastic lid; the injected fluid forms a blister, which spreads by peeling the lid away at the  perimeter of the blister. Among the many questions to be considered are the mechanisms for relieving the elastic analogue of the contact-line problem, whether peeling is "by bending" or "by pulling", the stability of the peeling front, and the effects of a capillary meniscus when peeling is by air injection. The result is a plethora of dynamical regimes and asymptotic scaling laws.

Tue, 31 Oct 2017

14:00 - 14:30
L5

Dual Acceleration for Nonconvex Optimisation

Matthew Geleta
(University of Cambridge)
Abstract


The phenomenon of poor algorithmic scalability is a critical problem in large-scale machine learning and data science. This has led to a resurgence in the use of first-order (Hessian-free) algorithms from classical optimisation. One major drawback is that first-order methods tend to converge extremely slowly. However, there exist techniques for efficiently accelerating them.
    
The topic of this talk is the Dual Regularisation Nonlinear Acceleration algorithm (DRNA) (Geleta, 2017) for nonconvex optimisation. Numerical studies using the CUTEst optimisation problem set show the method to accelerate several nonconvex optimisation algorithms, including quasi-Newton BFGS and steepest descent methods. DRNA compares favourably with a number of existing accelerators in these studies.
    
DRNA extends to the nonconvex setting a recent acceleration algorithm due to Scieur et al. (Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 29, 2016). We have proven theorems relating DRNA to the Kylov subspace method GMRES, as well as to Anderson's acceleration method and family of multi-secant quasi-Newton methods.
 

Fri, 27 Oct 2017

17:00 - 18:00
L1

Stephen Hawking - Inaugural Roger Penrose Lecture SOLD OUT, WAITING LIST FULL

Stephen Hawking
(University of Cambridge)
Abstract

In recognition of a lifetime's contribution across the mathematical sciences, we are initiating a series of annual Public Lectures in honour of Roger Penrose. The first lecture will be given by his long-time collaborator and friend Stephen Hawking.

Unfortunately the lecture is now sold out and we have a full waiting list. However, we will be podcasting the lecture live (and also via the University of Oxford Facebook page).

Thu, 01 Mar 2018

16:00 - 17:30
L3

Bacterial flows

Eric Lauga
(University of Cambridge)
Abstract

Most motile bacteria are equipped with multiple helical flagella, slender appendages whose rotation in viscous fluids allow the cells to self-propel. We highlight in this talk two consequences of hydrodynamics for bacteria. We first show how the swimming of cells with multiple flagella is enabled by an elastohydrodynamic instability. We next demonstrate how interactions between flagellar filaments mediated by the fluid govern the ability of the cells to reorient. 

Mon, 13 Nov 2017

17:00 - 18:00
L1

Allan McRobie - The Seduction of Curves: The Lines of Beauty That Connect Mathematics, Art and The Nude

Allan McRobie
(University of Cambridge)
Abstract

There is a deep connection between the stability of oil rigs, the bending of light during gravitational lensing and the act of life drawing. To understand each, we must understand how we view curved surfaces. We are familiar with the language of straight-line geometry – of squares, rectangles, hexagons - but curves also have a language – of folds, cusps and swallowtails - that few of us know.

Allan will explain how the key to understanding the language of curves is René Thom’s Catastrophe Theory, and how – remarkably – the best place to learn that language is perhaps in the life drawing class. Sharing its title with Allan's new book, the talk will wander gently across mathematics, physics, engineering, biology and art, but always with a focus on curves.

Warning: this talk contains nudity.

Allan McRobie is Reader in Engineering, University of Cambridge

Please email @email to register

Wed, 01 Nov 2017

17:00 - 18:00
L1

Julia Gog - Maths v Disease

Julia Gog
(University of Cambridge)
Abstract

Can mathematics really help us in our fight against infectious disease? Join Julia Gog as we explore some exciting current research areas where mathematics is being used to study pandemics, viruses and everything in between, with a particular focus on influenza.

Julia Gog is Professor of Mathematical Biology, University of Cambridge and David N Moore Fellow at Queens’ College, Cambridge.

Please email: @email to regsiter

Mon, 22 May 2017

14:15 - 15:15
L3

Convergence of percolation on uniform quadrangulations

JASON MILLER
(University of Cambridge)
Abstract

Let Q be a uniformly random quadrangulation with simple boundary decorated by a critical (p=3/4) face percolation configuration.  We prove that the chordal percolation exploration path on Q between two marked boundary edges converges in the scaling limit to SLE(6) on the Brownian disk (equivalently, a Liouville quantum gravity surface).  The topology of convergence is the Gromov-Hausdorff-Prokhorov-uniform topology, the natural analog of the Gromov-Hausdorff topology for curve-decorated metric measure spaces.  Our method of proof is robust and, up to certain technical steps, extends to any percolation model on a random planar map which can be explored via peeling.  Joint work with E. Gwynne.

Mon, 24 Apr 2017

14:15 - 15:15
L3

The harmonic measure on the boundary of Hastings-Levitov clusters

VITTORIA SILVESTRI
(University of Cambridge)
Abstract

The Hastings-Levitov models describe the growth of random sets (or clusters) in the complex plane as the result of iterated composition of random conformal maps. The correlations between these maps are determined by the harmonic measure density profile on the boundary of the clusters. In this talk I will focus on the simplest case, that of i.i.d. conformal maps, and obtain a description of the local fluctuations of the harmonic measure density around its deterministic limit, showing that these are Gaussian. This is joint work with James Norris.

Wed, 01 Mar 2017
16:00
C1

Treelike structures in boundaries of hyperbolic groups

Benjamin Barrett
(University of Cambridge)
Abstract
Inspired by the theory of JSJ decomposition for 3-manifolds, one can define the JSJ decomposition of a group as a maximal canonical way of cutting it up into simpler pieces using amalgamated products and HNN extensions. If the group in question has some sort of non-positive curvature property then one can define a boundary at infinity for the group, which captures its large scale geometry. The JSJ decomposition of the group is then reflected in the treelike structure of the boundary. In this talk I will discuss this connection in the case of hyperbolic groups and explain some of the ideas used in its proof by Brian Bowditch.
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