Questions designed to get an overview of a specific subject or body of results or to understand the relations among similar definitions, techniques or concepts appearing in different sub-fields of mathematics. While such questions by their very nature sometimes cannot be made very narrow and focused,...

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-2
votes
0answers
83 views

What are your favourite correspondences? [on hold]

For example, I like the Curry-Howard correspondence. But I'm interested in gathering up a bunch of interesting examples from various fields.
-3
votes
0answers
139 views

How to explain the subject Operator Algebra to dummies? [closed]

I have to appear for an interview to pass the requirements of AI instructor. I have to explain what is operator algebra which is my subject to Professors of Department of Second Language Studies. Any ...
24
votes
2answers
2k views

Linear algebra in terms of abstract nonsense?

The categories of vector spaces and finite dimensional vector spaces are pretty much as nice as can be, I think. I was wondering what portions of basic linear algebra (first couple of courses) fall ...
4
votes
2answers
264 views

Critical points in $ZF$ without Choice

Recall the definition of critical point for set theory: A critical point of an elementary embedding of one transitive class into another transitive class is the smallest ordinal not mapped to ...
2
votes
1answer
286 views

Are there analogies between $\Bbb F_q[x_1,x_2]$ and a suitable object related to $\Bbb Z$?

Much progress in understanding $\Bbb Z$ is made from analogies between $\Bbb F_q[x]$ and $\Bbb Z$. Can there be analogies between arithmetic in $\Bbb F_q[x_1,x_2]$ and a suitable object related to $\...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

How much of modern algebraic geometry is there in modern complex(algebraic, analytic, differential) geometry?

Good day to you, people of mathoverflow. I'll get to the point. I wonder how much of modern abstract algebraic geometry is there in modern complex geometry? What do I mean by complex geometry? ...
10
votes
1answer
619 views

Foundations of topology

I recently went to a talk of Oleg Viro where he expressed his dissatisfaction with current foundations of differential topology parallel to what has been discussed here. Also some time ago I read ...
5
votes
1answer
162 views

Most natural equivalence between $C^*$-algebras in NCG

I have listen or read that, in the context of noncommutative geometry, Morita equivalence is a more natural equivalence for $C^*$-algebras than $*$-isomorphism. Can someone explain this sentence or ...
22
votes
4answers
1k views

Expert, Intuitive, Organizing Analogies

In learning a new area it is very helpful to have high-level intuitive analogies that keep track of the various parts of an important argument or strategy. Experts have a store of such things, and ...
29
votes
1answer
2k views

Grothendieck says: points are not mere points, but carry Galois group actions

Apologies in advance if this question is too elementary for MO. I didn't find an explanation of these ideas in any algebraic geometry books (I don't know French). The following is an excerpt from ...
39
votes
25answers
7k views

Where can square roots come from when they are not distances?

In a recent survey "Supergeometry in Mathematics and Physics", Kapranov points out cases in which observable quantities of immediate interest are represented as bilinear combinations of more ...
42
votes
10answers
3k views

What advantage humans have over computers in mathematics?

Now that AlphaGo has just beaten Lee Sedol in Go and Deep Blue has beaten Garry Kasparov in chess in 1997, I wonder what advantage humans have over computers in mathematics? More specifically, are ...
29
votes
0answers
560 views

Atiyah-Singer theorem-a big picture

So far I made several attempts to really learn Atiyah-Singer theorem. In order to really understand this result rather broad background is required: you need to know analysis (pseudodifferential ...
2
votes
1answer
392 views

A morphism-revealing category? [closed]

Categories of sets and functions can be considered as subcategories of Set but when considered as subcategories of the category SubSet, of pairs of sets with pairs $(X,S)$, $S\subseteq X$, as objects ...
2
votes
0answers
116 views

Intuition behind the Duistermaat-Guillemin version of Weyl's law

The theorem in question (see this paper), after a modification by Ivrii (see this paper) states the following: Let $(M, g)$ be a compact Riemannian manifold of dimension $n \geq 2$. Assume that the ...
13
votes
1answer
484 views

Axiom of choice as zero dimensionality

In the paper Quantifiers and Sheaves by Lawvere, at the bottom of the second page, the author writes: "... the condition that every epi splits, which geometrically we would call 0-dimensionality ...
4
votes
1answer
237 views

What kinds of limits does localization of commutative rings reflect?

Localization of commutative rings is a left exact left adjoint, so it behaves nicely with plenty of things. Local-to-global principles are also abundant in commutative algebra, and I thought some of ...
18
votes
2answers
864 views

how do you visualize characteristic class?

For cohomology, there are some equivalent definitions when the object we consider is sufficiently nice. Since I mainly work with algebraic variety, I will restrict the objects I am considering to be ...
11
votes
1answer
226 views

On Bailey–Borwein–Plouffe formula for irrational numbers

A BBP-type formula for an irrational number $\alpha$ in the integer base $b\geq 2$ is a formula in the form $\alpha=\Sigma_{k=0}^{\infty}\frac{1}{b^k}\frac{p(k)}{q(k)}$ ($p, q$ are polynomials in ...
82
votes
16answers
8k views

Proposals for polymath projects

Background Polymath projects are a form of open Internet collaboration aimed towards a major mathematical goal, usually to settle a major mathematical problem. This is a concept introduced in 2009 by ...
10
votes
1answer
417 views

Grothendieck - sheaves as meter sticks

I'm trying to read parts of McLarty's Grothendieck on Simplicity and Generality. In the article, I read Grothendieck thought of sheaves over some topological space as meter sticks measuring it. ...
1
vote
0answers
98 views

Programmatically computing dual Hopf algebras: state of the art

Given a graded Hopf algebra of finite type, we know the (graded) linear dual is also a graded Hopf algebra. For instance the dual Hopf algebra to the polynomial algebra on an even degree generator, $R[...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Why we study Geometric invariant theory?

I am trying to learn Geometric invariant theory like it was introduced by Mumford. But I do not have a strong motivation and so I want to know the reason of studying Geometric invariant theory. I just ...
6
votes
1answer
496 views

What is the applications of the dg-enhancements of derived categories of sheaves

Let $X$ be a scheme and let $D^b_{\text{coh}}(X)$ be the derived category of complexes of sheaves with bounded, coherent cohomologies. We know that the category $D^b_{\text{coh}}(X)$ has some ...
21
votes
6answers
2k views

Residual finiteness: why do we care?

Residually finite groups have been studied for a long time. However, I am struggling to work out why we care, or perhaps, why they continue to be of interest. Let me explain. Magnus, in his 1968 ...
2
votes
1answer
546 views

Statistical distance between discrete and continuous distributions

Are there any statistical distance functions that are capable of comparing a continuous and a discrete distribution? From reading this list http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statistical_distance the only ...
-2
votes
1answer
551 views

How many of Ramanujan's discoveries have had a practical application? [closed]

I was reading about the Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan who, before dying at the age of 32, independently compiled nearly 3900 results (this is from Wikipedia). So based on this he seems to ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Why Riemann Hypothesis so important [closed]

I am often hearing people emphasized how important the RH is,one of them said that it should lead to an efficient way of determining whether a given large number is prime,and the other said,RH would ...
2
votes
0answers
248 views

Interpretation of Shannon Entropy Application

Consider a collection of increasing positive integers $\{a_i\}_{i=1}^m$ and the distribution $p_i=\frac{a_i}{\sum_{i=1}^ma_i}$. Let entropy of $\mathcal{A}=\{a_i\}_{i=1}^m$ be given by $$H(\mathcal{A}...
4
votes
2answers
703 views

What's so special about $1$-categories?

I have been pretty thoroughly convinced for some time now that, when thinking about mathematics, one really should be thinking 'categorically', that is, one should always be thinking of the morphisms ...
4
votes
2answers
331 views

Can one make a category concrete by “enlarging the universe”?

This is more or less a followup of this question. There, it was established that (it is well known that) the homotopy category of topological spaces is not concrete, in other words, there is no ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

The resolution of which conjecture/problem would advance Mathematics the most? [closed]

This is an impossibly broad question, and makes the unwarranted assumption that Mathematics is a uniform field. It might make more sense to ask the same question restricted to, say, Mathematical Logic,...
-3
votes
1answer
140 views

Decidable theorem or result that is not weaker than Tarski's theorem

I am wondering what other decidable theorem or results that is not weaker or stronger than Tarski's theorem. Could any one give reference or a simple introduction about such result known in their ...
30
votes
3answers
1k views

Underlying idea for (automorphic) L-function?

Edit: So with a few more months of math under my belt, I recognize some of the issues with this question. I still hope for an answer, so let me say a few things. Within the Langlands philosophy, L-...
22
votes
8answers
3k views

Examples of intuition from fields other than Physics to solve math problems

This is a chaser for the examples of using physical intuition to solve math problems question. Physical intuition seems to be used relatively frequently for solving math problems as well as stating ...
2
votes
2answers
437 views

Categories with binary relations as objects

For the category of functions, pairs of functions making commutative diagrams are the canonical morphisms $\alpha:f\rightarrow g$. For binary relations there is an alternative, to consider the ...
26
votes
9answers
2k views

Continuous relations?

What might it mean for a relation $R\subset X\times Y$ to be continuous? In topology, category theory or in analysis? Is it possible, canonical, useful? I have a vague idea of the possibility of ...
2
votes
1answer
455 views

Computer Science applications of Roth's Theorem [closed]

I have been reading about Additive Combinatorics and in particular Roth's theorem which states any positive upper density set has infinitely many 3-step arithmetic progressions. Let $A \subset \...
13
votes
0answers
206 views

What do tangles teach us about braids?

A braid is a smooth level-preserving embedding $f\colon\, \{1,2,\ldots,n\}\times[0,1]\hookrightarrow \mathbb{R}^2 \times [0,1]$ such that $f(k,0)=(k,0)$ and $f(k,1) \in \{1,2,\ldots,n\} \times \{1\}$....
14
votes
1answer
609 views

Why are Witten-Reshetikhin-Turaev invariants expected to be integral?

A Witten-Reshetikhin-Turaev (WRT) Invariant $\tau_{M,L}^G(\xi)\in\mathbb{C}$ is an invariant of closed oriented 3-manifold $M$ containing a framed link $L$, where $G$ is a simple Lie group, and $\xi$ ...
7
votes
1answer
799 views

Differences in philosophy between Lie Groups and Differential Galois Theory

As far as I have heard,Sophus Lie's aim was to construct an analogue of galois theory for differential galois theory. I am familiar with lie group but not with differential galois theory. What is the ...
55
votes
9answers
5k views

How does one find out what's happening in contemporary mathematics research?

How does one find out what's happening in contemporary mathematics research? EDIT: I should have mentioned that I am looking for open access online sources. It so happens that I have been outside ...
23
votes
9answers
8k views

Why are polynomials so useful in mathematics?

This is perhaps unanswerable, or perhaps I am too algebraically ignorant to phrase it cogently, but: Is there some identifiable reason that polynomials over $\mathbb{C}$, $\mathbb{R}$, $\...
7
votes
5answers
2k views

Advice on choosing an area of specialization

I'm not sure if this is an appropriate question for MO, but I figured it couldn't hurt to ask. I'm a second year graduate student, currently gearing up to construct a committee and syllabus for my ...
7
votes
1answer
132 views

Classifying two-faces of four-polytopes

Motivation: This question is related to my study of hyperbolic Coxeter polytopes. In general, if one put some restrictions on the type of their dihedral angles (say, all dihedral angles are equal to $\...
6
votes
1answer
270 views

Under which constraints are there only finite numbers of irreducible eta product identities?

For the Dedekind eta function, defined as usual by $\eta(q) = q^{\frac1{24}} \prod\limits_{n=1}^{\infty} (1-q^{n})$, let for brevity $e_k:=\eta(q^k)$. An eta product identity (or eta identity for ...
12
votes
0answers
583 views

How come Cartan did not notice the close relationship between symmetric spaces and isoparametric hypersurfaces?

Elie Cartan made fundamental contributions to the theory of Lie groups and their geometrical applications. Among those, we can list the introduction of the remarkable family of Riemannian symmetric ...
7
votes
1answer
404 views

Surreal numbers, ultrapowers of $\Bbb R$, ordinal-valued functions and the slow-growing hierarchy

Philip Ehrlich's paper “The Absolute Arithmetic Continuum and the Unification of All Numbers Great and Small”, The Bulletin of Symbolic Logic 18 (1) 2012, pp. 1-45. claims as a theorem that, in NBG, $\...
4
votes
1answer
158 views

Toric ideal of slice of a polytope?

Given a collection $A:=\{a_1, \ldots ,a_n \}$ of different integer points in $\mathbb{N}^d$, which span an affine hyperplane when viewed in $\mathbb{R}^d$, one can define a toric ideal $I_A$ from a ...
3
votes
0answers
567 views

Differential Galois number theory

Following http://math.stackexchange.com/questions/635659/can-the-error-term-involved-in-the-pnt-be-expressed-in-a-galois-theoretic-framew?noredirect=1#comment1341143_635659, I vainly tried to find ...