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Fact of the day: Functions with given merge tree


Consider a Morse function on \(f:\Real^n\to \Real\) with controlled behavior at infinity, – say, \(f=|x|^2\) near infinity. Assume further that all critical values \(a_1<a_2<\ldots<a_k\) are distinct and that all indices of critical points are \(0\) or \(1\). (Condition obviously holds in one variable.)

Clearly, there are many function that satisfy these conditions. In the (again, most transparent) univariate case, the enumeration of topological types of functions with given critical values is the subject of a nice thread of papers by Arnold on “snakes” (see, e.g., here), relating them to enumeration of ramified coverings of Riemannian spheres, up-down sequences and other cute objects.…

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Protected: Curvilinear Origami

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Fact of the day: Brownian centroids


Consider \(n\) points in Euclidean space, \(\xx=\{x_1,\ldots, x_n\}, x_k\in \Real^d, n\leq d+1\).

Generically, there is a unique sphere in the affine space spanned by those points, containing all of them. This centroid (which we will denote as \(o(x_1,\ldots,x_n)\)) lies at the intersection of the bisectors \(H_{kl}, 1\leq k\lt l\leq n\), hyperplanes of points equidistant from \(x_k, x_l\).

Assume now that the points \(x_k,k=1,\ldots,n\) are independent standard \(d\)-dimensional Brownian motions. What is the law of the centroid?

It quite easy to see that it is a continuous martingale.…

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Fact of the day: Condorset domains, tiling permutations and contractibility


Consider a collection of vectors \(e_1,\ldots,e_n\) in the upper half-plane, such that \(e_k=(x_k,1)\) and \(x_1>x_2\gt \ldots \gt x_n\). Minkowski sum of the segments \(s_k:=[0,e_k]\) is a zonotope \(\Z\). Rhombus in this context are the Minkowski sums \(\Z(k,l)=s_k\oplus s_l, 1\leq k\lt l\leq n\) of pairs of the segments. Tilings of \(\Z\) by \(n\choose 2\) rhombuses \(\Z(k,l)\) define also an oriented graph (formed by the edges of the rhombuses, and oriented up in the plane). An increasing path from the bottom to the top defines then a permutations in \(\sg_n\): each of the vectors \(e_k\) appears in an increasing path once, and the permutation then is the order of these vectors.…

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Topologically constrained models of statistical physics.


The Blob

Consider the following planar “spin model”: the state of the system is a function from \(\Int^2\) into \(\{0,1\}\) (on and off states). We interpret the site \((i,j), i,j\in\Int\) as the plaque, i.e. the (closed) square given by the inequalities \(s_{ij}:=i-1/2\leq x\leq i+1/2; j-1/2\leq y\leq j+1/2\).

To any configuration \(\eta\) we associate the corresponding active domain,
A_\eta=\bigcup_{(i,j): \eta(i,j)=1} s_{ij}.

We are interested in the statistical ensembles supported by the finite contractible active domains – let’s refer to such domains as blobs.…

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dimension of the Internet

As reported in the talk on the hyperbolic geometry of maps and networks, the often claimed approximability of the Internet graph (the routing graph as seen by Border Gateway Protocol) by samples from disks of large radius in the hyperbolic plane is somewhat questionable: the local dimensions of the Rips complexes build from the ASN graphs are wild.

Below are links to Javascript based visualizations
(designed and implemented by Yuriy Mileyko)
of the Rips complexes derived from

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hyperbolic geometry of Google maps


Google Maps and the Space of Views

Let’s consider the geometry hidden behind one of the best user interfaces in mobile apps ever, – the smartphone maps, the ones which you can swipe, flick and pinch. We are not talking here about the incredible engine that generates the maps on the fly as your finger waddles over the screen – just about the interface, which in a very intuitive and remarkably efficient way allows you to move between various maps.…

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