Spring 2015, Thursdays, Blocker 506A, 4:00-4:50 PM

Date: February 19

"  Matroids, and How to Make Your Proofs Multitask "
  Christopher O'Neill  


What do vector arrangements, discrete graphs, and perfect matchings have in common? These seemingly unrelated objects (and many others) have a very similar underlying structure, known as a matroid. As a result, studying matroids allows you to simultaneously study many different objects from all over mathematics. In addition, many properties and constructions from these various objects, such as loops, duals, bases, cycles, rank, polynomial invariants, and minors (subgraphs), generalize naturally to matroids. In this talk, we will give a general definition of a matroid, and motivate their study by examining some of these constructions in detail. The only prerequisite for this talk is basic linear algebra.