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Some combinatorial applications of guided random processes

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  • User Peter Keevash (Oxford)
  • ClockThursday 09 March 2023, 14:30-15:30
  • HouseMR12.

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Random greedy algorithms became ubiquitous in Combinatorics after Rodl’s nibble (semi-random method), which was repeatedly refined for various applications, such as iterative graph colouring algorithms (Molloy-Reed) and lower bounds for the Ramsey number R(3,t) via the triangle-free process (Bohman-Keevash / Fiz Pontiveros-Griffiths-Morris). More recently, when combined with absorption, they have played a key role in many existence and approximate counting results for combinatorial structures, following a paradigm established by my proofs of the Existence of Designs and Wilson’s Conjecture on the number of Steiner Triple Systems. Here absorption (converting approximate solutions to exact solutions) is generally the most challenging task, which has spurred the development of many new ideas, including my Randomised Algebraic Construction method, the Kuhn-Osthus Iterative Absorption method and Montgomery’s Addition Structures (for attacking the Ryser-Brualdi-Stein Conjecture). The design and analysis of a suitable guiding mechanism for the random process can also come with major challenges, such as in the recent proof of Erdos’ Conjecture on Steiner Triple Systems of high girth (Kwan-Sah-Sawhney-Simkin). This talk will survey some of this background and also mention some recent results on the Queens Problem (Bowtell-Keevash / Luria-Simkin / Simkin) and the Existence of Subspace Designs (Keevash-Sah-Sawhney). I may also mention recent solutions of the Talagrand / Kahn-Kalai Threshold Conjectures (Frankston-Kahn-Narayanan-Park / Park-Pham) and thresholds for Steiner Triple Systems / Latin Squares (Keevash / Jain-Pham), where the key to my proof is constructing a suitable spread measure via a guided random process.

This talk is part of the Combinatorics Seminar series.

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