Nima Anari:Log-Concave Polynomials and Matroids: Algorithms and Combinatorics

Wednesday, October 24, 2018 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Nima Anari

Abstract: I will discuss an analytic property of multivariate polynomials, which we call complete log-concavity, and its surprising uses to attack problems in combinatorics, and algorithmic tasks such as sampling, counting, and inference on discrete distributions. This property defines a large class of discrete distributions that should be thought of as the discrete analog of the well-studied continuous log-concave distributions. Examples of distributions satisfying this property include uniform distributions over bases or independent sets of matroids, determinantal point processes and certain powers of them, the random cluster model and potts model for some regimes of parameters, and several other generalizations.

I will discuss a recipe for verifying this property and then give an application in which we resolve a combinatorial conjecture of Mason on the ultra-log-concavity of the number of independent sets of varying sizes in matroids. Then I’ll discuss connections to random sampling.

Based on joint work with Kuikui Liu, Shayan Oveis Gharan, and Cynthia Vinzant.