DIMACS - Graduate Student Combinatorics Seminar

Title: It's too Late: Topologize!

Speaker: Patrick Devlin, Rutgers University

Date: Wednesday, November 5, 2014 12:10pm

Location: Graduate Student Lounge, 7th Floor, Hill Center, Rutgers University, Busch Campus, Piscataway, NJ


It is sometimes remarked that combinatorics is not the study of structures or theorems, but instead it is the study of techniques. Several techniques are well known and evidently quite fruitful (e.g., the probabilistic method, linear algebra, Fourier analysis, entropy, et cetera). But [believe it or not] another tool that should be in every discrete mathematician's backpocket is algebraic topology.

We will discuss the really clever historical applications of this technique to combinatorics, provide a quick primer on the relevant topological kajiggers, and equip ourselves with ways to recognize when this technique might be useful in our own combinatorial lives. I pinky promise that this talk will be 100% accessible and very clear (cross my heart and hope to die).

Further information can be found at http://math.rutgers.edu/~nhf12/GCS/