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Manik Dhar FPO (CS 105)

Date and Time
Friday, June 30, 2023 - 12:00pm to 2:00pm
Computer Science Small Auditorium (Room 105)

Manik Dhar will present his FPO "Beyond the polynomial method: Kakeya sets over finite rings and high dimensional variants" on Friday, June 30, 2023 at 12pm in CS 105. 

The members of his committee are as follows: Readers: Ran Raz and Huacheng Yu; Examiners: Zeev Dvir (adviser), Bernard Chazelle, and Noga Alon (Math Department)        

All are welcome to attend. Abstract follows below:

A Kakeya Set in Fn is a set that contains a line in every direction. It has been known for over a decade that such sets must be large. This goes back to Dvir’s proof of the finite field Kakeya conjecture as posed by Wolff. Dvir’s proof uses the polynomial method to solve this problem. The problem over finite fields also has applications in psuedorandomness and is crucially used in the construction of currently state-of-the-art seeded mergers and extractors. Wolff’s motivation was to pose a possibly simpler problem whose resolution might help with solving the notoriously difficult Euclidean Kakeya conjecture. The Euclidean Kakeya problem also has many connections with analysis, PDEs, and combinatorics. This thesis will look at two generalizations of the finite field Kakeya problem. One where Fq is replaced by the ring Z/N Z and another where we look at higher dimensional analogues of this problem. In both cases, the polynomial method does not work - as over Z/N Z polynomials do not represent all functions and in the other case a degree d polynomial can have much larger than d roots over a higher dimensional affine flat. We will cover a series of results that solve these problems by extending and in some cases going beyond the polynomial method. We will also cover recent applications of the higher dimensional Kakeya problem to give a tight analysis of the behaviour of linear hashes. At a high level, we show that if we pick subspaces of large enough dimension in comparison to the size of a set then for a large fraction of them their every shift intersects with the set in close to the expected number of points.

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