Event Detail

Event Type: 
Department Colloquium
Tuesday, February 14, 2006 - 07:00
Dearborn 118

Speaker Info

Univ. of British Columbia

We will see how tools from probability theory can help us answer some questions arising in the study of genome rearrangement, which have the following flavor: given two species (say, mice and men), can we quantify how different or how similar they are? On a mathematical level, this will lead us to study the behavior of a certain random walk on the symmetric group and show that it exhibits a phase transition. Along the way we will discuss some connections with Erdos-Renyi random graphs (aka mean-field percolation) and hyperbolic geometry. Some familiarity with elementary probability notions (such as the Poisson process) is preferable but not essential.