This Tuesday, Professor Laszlo Babai from University of Chicago will give a special talk entitled "Groups, Graphs, Matrices, Avalanches: The Abelian Sandpile Model".
Abstract: Originating in statistical physics and nearly simultaneously and independently introduced in algebraic graph theory and in theoretical computer science in the 1990s, the Abelian Sandpile Model associates a variety of structures with a diffusion process on finite graphs. The model gives rise to a remarkably rich theory which connects the fields of graph theory, stochastic processes, commutative semigroups and groups, matrices and determinants, lattices in n-dimensional space, algorithms, number theory, discrete dynamical syetems, and more.
After a general introduction, I will outline work I have done recently with then undergraduate Igor Gorodezky; the collaboration started at a summer REU.
The talk will take place in Beckman B126 ("Big Beckman") at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, December 2, 2008. It should be appealing to undergrads and seasoned researchers alike, so save the date!