Event Type:

Department Colloquium

Date/Time:

Tuesday, February 14, 2006 - 07:00

Location:

Dearborn 118

Guest Speaker:

Institution:

Univ. of British Columbia

Abstract:

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.