Algebra & Combinatorics Seminar

Title: From word games to a Polymath project
Speaker: Apoorva Khare (IISc Mathematics)
Date: 11 January 2019
Time: 3 pm
Venue: LH-1, Mathematics Department

Consider the following three properties of a general group $G$:

  1. Algebra: $G$ is abelian and torsion-free.

  2. Analysis: $G$ is a metric space that admits a “norm”, namely, a translation-invariant metric $d(.,.)$ satisfying: $d(1,g^n) = |n| d(1,g)$ for all $g \in G$ and integers $n$.

  3. Geometry: $G$ admits a length function with “saturated” subadditivity for equal arguments: $\ell(g^2) = 2 \; \ell(g)$ for all $g \in G$.

While these properties may a priori seem different, in fact they turn out to be equivalent. The nontrivial implication amounts to saying that there does not exist a non-abelian group with a “norm”.

We will discuss motivations from analysis, probability, and geometry; then the proof of the above equivalences; and if time permits, the logistics of how the problem was solved, via a PolyMath project that began on a blogpost of Terence Tao.

(Joint - as D.H.J. PolyMath - with Tobias Fritz, Siddhartha Gadgil, Pace Nielsen, Lior Silberman, and Terence Tao.)


Contact: +91 (80) 2293 2711, +91 (80) 2293 2265 ;     E-mail: chair.math[at]iisc[dot]ac[dot]in
Last updated: 16 Oct 2019