The weekly SILO Seminar Series is made possible through the generous support of the 3M Company and its Advanced Technology Group


with additional support from the Analytics Group of the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company

Northwestern Mutual

Computational topology for configuration spaces of hard disks

Matthew Kahle, Member of the Institute of Advanced Study

Date and Time: Nov 23, 2011 (12:30 PM)
Location: Orchard room (3280) at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery Building


Configuration spaces of hard spheres (in two dimensions,
hard disks) are fundamental objects in topology as well as physics.
Yet so far very little is known about the topology of these spaces. I
will report on joint work with G. Carlsson, J. Gorham, and J. Mason on
developing computational Morse theoretic methods for understanding the
topology of these spaces. Dozens of changes in topology may already
be observed with five particles, suggesting intricate topology
underlying liquid-solid phase transitions.