Questions tagged [big-picture]

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, it can be helpful to keep in mind that the design of MathOverflow does not make it a good fit for questions that are too broad.

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10
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2answers
776 views

Motivation for birational geometry

I'm interested in how do people that work in birational geometry view their field — specifically, what are the kinds of geometric questions (as opposed to commutative-algebraic questions) that ...
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5answers
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Why do we have two theorems when one implies the other?

Why do we have two theorems one for the density of $C^{\infty}_c(\mathbb{R}^n)$ in $L^p(\mathbb{R}^n)$ and one for the density of $C^{\infty}_c(\Omega)$ in $L^p(\Omega)$? with $\Omega$ an open subset ...
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9answers
7k views

The use of computers leading to major mathematical advances II

I would like to ask about recent examples, mainly after 2015, where experimentation by computers or other use of computers has led to major mathematical advances. This is a continuation of a question ...
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1answer
307 views

Where do these divergent integrals appear in mathematics and physics?

I have already asked a similar question, albeit far more extensive, but it was criticized and closed for being too extensive and promotional. So, here is a greatly truncated and focused version. Since ...
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3answers
460 views

Anomalous phenomena [closed]

What are examples of strikingly anomalous phenomena in mathematics, where just one or a rather small number of cases stand out because they don't fit a general pattern? This is most interesting when ...
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2answers
308 views

Differentiation of functions over graphs

In short: There are various ways to define differentiation over a graph. I am trying to get the big picture, like a more complete and structured bestiary. Definitions. Let $G=(V,E)$ be a directed ...
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0answers
66 views

What intuitive meaning "determinant" of a divergency (divergent integral, series, germ, pole or a singularity) can have?

I am working on the algebra of "divergencies", that is, infinite integrals, series, and germs. So, I decided to construct something similar to the modulus or determinant of a matrix of these ...
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0answers
109 views

On primes of specified length and bit pattern

Denote $P(n,k)$ to be the number of primes between $2^n$ and $2^{n+1}-1$ having $k$ number of $1$s in its binary expansion between the $n+1$th binary digit and the least which is always $1$ if $n>1$...
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1answer
600 views

Motivation for $C^*$-algebras

I just gave a presentation on exotic group $C^*$-algebras and someone asked why these are studied. I could answer that they can be used to construct $C^*$-algebras with certain properties. However, I ...
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3answers
381 views

Comparing the existing formulations of universal algebra and their levels of generality

I am a newcomer to universal algebra and I just read this (very good, IMO) book on the topic: Adámek, J., Rosický, J., & Vitale, E. M. (2010). Algebraic theories: a categorical introduction to ...
59
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2answers
7k views

Nonconvexity and discretization

Edit: Here's a more down-to-earth, and somewhat weakened, but I believe still nontrivial, version of the main theorem. Prototypical nonconvex spaces are $\ell^p$-spaces for $0<p<1$, say $\ell^p(\...
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0answers
140 views

Morphism of non-commutative algebras

Disclaimer: this question is a "big picture" one that comes from my personal thoughts in physics. If it doesn't fit this site, please tell me. While having a walk, I thought a bit about what ...
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1answer
110 views

Sober spaces vs. spatial frames-a big picture

For any topological space $X$ one can consider the so called frame of all open subsets of $X$ to be denoted by $\mathcal{O}(X)$. If $f:X \to Y$ is continuous taking the inverse image we get the ...
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3answers
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What sorts of extra axioms might we add to ZFC to compute higher Busy Beaver numbers?

First, some context. Ever since I was a high schooler, I have been fascinated with large numbers. As I have grown in mathematical maturity, I have become both disappointed and fascinated to see that ...
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0answers
100 views

Evidence of optimality of sieve algorithms

Sieve techniques apply to integer factoring and discrete logarithm to provide $2^{O(((\log n)(\log\log n)^2)^{1/3})}$ complexity for $n$ bit factoring and $n$ bit prime discrete logarithm. The state ...
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0answers
67 views

Is there a bipartite graph whose determinant corresponds to number of perfect matchings?

Let $M\in\{0,1\}^{n\times n}$ be a square integer matrix. If we consider $M$ as biadjacency of a balanced bipartite graph on $2n$ vertices having $n$ vertices of color $1$ and $n$ vertices of color $2$...
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2answers
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Intuitive explanation why "shadow operator" $\frac D{e^D-1}$ connects logarithms with trigonometric functions?

Consider the operator $\frac D{e^D-1}$ which we will call "shadow": $$\frac {D}{e^D-1}f(x)=\frac1{2 \pi }\int_{-\infty }^{+\infty } e^{-iwx}\frac{-iw}{e^{-i w}-1}\int_{-\infty }^{+\infty } e^...
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3answers
361 views

Is there a quantum analog of Kolmogorov Complexity?

Kolmogorov Complexity (interpreted in terms of shortest program computing a string) and Shannon Entropy are quite similar. Since there is a quantum entropy is it reasonable to ask if there is quantum ...
6
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1answer
211 views

Geometric intuition for $R[x,y]/ (x^2,y^2)$, kinematic second tangent bundle, and Wraith axiom

This is a sort of continuation of this question. In synthetic differential geometry (SDG), we have $D\subset R$ comprised of the second order nilpotents. The Kock-Lawvere axiom (KL axiom) implies that ...
11
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0answers
316 views

What is the motivation for a Frobenius manifold?

A Frobenius manifold is a type of manifolds with extra structure. The main examples are quantum cohomology (viewed as a space itself), GBV algebras, the ``Saito'' examples arising from singularities (...
11
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3answers
708 views

Axiomatic definition of quantum groups

This is a question I've discussed with a lot of mathematicians, and have read some mathematical texts about, and watched some conference talks about: what is, axiomatically, a quantum group? There are ...
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14answers
11k views

Each mathematician has only a few tricks

The question "Every mathematician has only a few tricks" originally had approximately the title of my question here, but originally admitted an interpretation asking for a small collection ...
153
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46answers
26k views

Every mathematician has only a few tricks

In Gian-Carlo Rota's "Ten lessons I wish I had been taught" he has a section, "Every mathematician has only a few tricks", where he asserts that even mathematicians like Hilbert ...
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1answer
423 views

Mathematics based only on real numbers [closed]

I'm aware that >90% will outright reject this, so feel free to ignore it. I'd much appreciate those trying to figure out in which way this question (or rather its eventual answer) would make sense. ...
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1answer
212 views

What are some interesting relationships between pi and phi? [closed]

Phi is the golden mean solution to the 1/x=1+x and pi the transcendental number relating the radius of the circle to its area. A side note: while there are really interesting series converging to pi, ...
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0answers
107 views

Analogues over finite fields of certain integers defined multiplicatively in $\mathbb Z$

For any irreducible polynomial $f$ of degree $d$ in finite field $\mathbb F$ we have that $$x^{|\mathbb F|^d}-x\equiv0\bmod f$$ and thus the polynomial $x^{|\mathbb F|^d}-x$ is the analog of factorial ...
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2answers
500 views

Why is modular forms applicable to packing density bounds from linear programming at $n\in\{8,24\}$?

Sphere packing problem in $\mathbb R^n$ asks for the densest arrangement of non-overlapping spheres within $\mathbb R^n$. It is now know that the problem is solved at $n=8$ and $n=24$ using modular ...
5
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0answers
170 views

Why does the Lax pair formalism look so similar to the Hamiltonian equations, and what is the significance of this?

If we have a Lax pair for a system, which we'll call operators $L$ and $B$, then the system \begin{align*}L\psi&=\lambda\psi\\ \psi_t&=B\psi\end{align*} has as its integrability condition ...
5
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3answers
665 views

Update on "Hopf algebras: their status and pervasiveness" by Hazewinkel

Hazewinkel wrote this article in 2005. Perhaps it's time for an update. For example, updating item 34: Ordinary differential equations much work has been done on the underlying Hopf algebra (HA) of ...
5
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1answer
254 views

The Idea of Kroneckerian geometry

Let $X$ be a complex, projective algebraic variety and assume that $X$ has a model $X_0$ over $\mathbb Z$ i.e. $X\cong X_0\times_{\operatorname{Spec }\mathbb Z}\operatorname{Spec }\mathbb C$. Let's ...
7
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1answer
735 views

Geometric intuition behind this chain homotopy

My question has to do with the chain homotopy that appears in Lee's Introduction to Topological Manifols and Rotman's Introduction to Algebraic Topology proofs that the inclusion $$C_\bullet^\mathcal{...
3
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2answers
256 views

Theories requiring dual continuous and discrete constructs

Over the years there have been questions of a similar ilk on MO (e.g., Q1, Q2, Q3) concerning theories in which either continuous constructs or discrete constructs preceded the development of the ...
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1answer
133 views

Understanding the reason for the particular formulation of the definition of a concrete reflector (as stated in The Joy of Cats)

This question is essentially a followup of this question. But before going into the question let me introduce the relevant definitions as given in The Joy of Cats. Definition 1. Let $\bf{X}$ be a ...
3
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0answers
243 views

What is the logical progression in algebraic tools for studying spaces (varieties -> schemes, sheaves, topos etc.)?

Some algebraists (Cartier, Weil, Atiyah, etc.) sometimes speak of geometry as a long history of essentially asking the same question—"what is space, and how would one describe a space uniquely". ...
2
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2answers
259 views

How should I think about concrete functors and in particular about concrete isomorphism?

All the definitions that follow is taken from The Joy of Cats. Definition 1. Let $\bf{X}$ be a category. A concrete category over $\bf{X}$ is a pair $({\bf{A}},U)$, where $\bf{A}$ is a category ...
6
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0answers
109 views

On earlier references for $P=BPP$ and Kolmogorov's possible view on modern breakthroughs involving randomness?

Kolmogorov and Uspenskii in this paper 'http://epubs.siam.org/doi/pdf/10.1137/1132060' speculate $P=BPP$ in $1986$. They do this without getting into circuit lower bounds and from a different view ...
38
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3answers
3k views

A map of non-pathological topology?

I think of topological spaces as coming in several "islands of interestingness" (the CW island, the Zariski archipelago,...) dotting a vast "pathological sea" (the long line ocean, the gulf of the ...
10
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0answers
227 views

Hausdorff dimension and von Neumann dimension

There are two subjects in which non-integral dimensions appear: fractal geometry: consider the well-known Hausdorff dimension of fractals. von Neumann algebra: consider a type ${\rm II_1}$ ...
81
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15answers
8k views

Theorems that impeded progress

It may be that certain theorems, when proved true, counterintuitively retard progress in certain domains. Lloyd Trefethen provides two examples: Faber's Theorem on polynomial interpolation: ...
3
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1answer
1k views

Regarding learning Algebraic Topology [closed]

Recently, I read a little portion of homotopy theory from Bredon's 'Topology and Geometry' and found that I like it enough to want to continue reading material in Algebraic Topology. A little ...
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0answers
121 views

Arithmetic that corresponds to combinatorial rectangles and cylinder intersections?

Definable subsets of $\mathbb N$ in the language of Presburger arithmetic are exactly the eventually periodic sets. In communication complexity the interpretation is more on intersection and union of ...
29
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2answers
2k views

Motivation behind Analytic Number Theory

I am an undergraduate student of mathematics and recently took an introductory course in analytic number theory, where the instructor roughly followed Apostol's first text on the subject. I have now ...
18
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1answer
992 views

Axiom of Choice versus V=L in opposition to large cardinals

Consider the following two observations: The axiom $V=L$ is incompatible with large cardinal axioms that are somehow "too large", like measurable cardinals. The axiom of Choice is incompatible with ...
5
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0answers
387 views

Grothendieck letter to Jun-Ichi Yamashita on tame topology

I am looking for Grothendieck writings on tame topology: a manuscript on tame topology mentioned by Scharlau; a letter to Jun-Ichi Yamashita; a letter to Z.Mebkhout. I am also interested in ...
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0answers
101 views

Is there a simple algebraic setup to accomodate fibres and cofibres at the same time?

If I understand it correctly, there are two mutually dual "leading principles" in homotopy theory: never perform quotients, add structure instead; never require subobjects, take fibres instead. ...
2
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0answers
276 views

Fundamental groupoid and fibration

In this post, it is said that a functor from the fundamental groupoid of a space $X$ (denoted by $\Pi(X)$) to the category $\mathrm{Vect}$ of vector spaces gives a flat vector bundle over $X$. But I ...
62
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4answers
4k views

Why did Voevodsky consider categories "posets in the next dimension", and groupoids the correct generalisation of sets?

Earlier today, I stumbled upon this article written by V. Voevodsky about the "philosophy" behind the Univalent Foundations program. I had read it before around the time of his passing, and one ...
9
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1answer
397 views

Three theorems on the number of nonzero coefficients of a polynomial

The number of positive real roots of a polynomial with real coefficients is strictly smaller than the number of nonzero coefficients of the polynomial. This is an immediate corollary of Descartes' ...
11
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1answer
541 views

Poincare duality spaces vs. manifolds via lifting maps, the obstruction theory and the role of simply connectedness

Suppose that we are given a topological space $X$: assume for simplicity that $X$ is compact we want to adress the following question: Is it true that one can find a manifold $M$ which is homotopy ...
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1answer
807 views

What is the big picture of algebraic geometry? [closed]

I am trying to understand a big-picture for Algebraic Geometry: Given a category of commutative rings $\mathrm{CRing}$, we can create objects that locally look like these objects called schemes. This ...

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