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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

4:15 PM - 5:00 PM (ET)

Exley Science Center (Tower)

Event Type

Seminar/Colloquium

Contact

Caryn Canalia

Department

Mathematics and Computer Science

Link

https://eaglet.wesleyan.edu/MasterCalendar/EventDetails.aspx?EventDetailId=65050

Abstract: The polynomial method is an umbrella term that describes an evolving set of algebraic statements used to solve problems in arithmetic combinatorics, combinatorial geometry, graph theory and elsewhere by associating a set of objects with the zero set of a polynomial whose degree is somehow constrained. Algebraic statements about the zero set translate into statements about the set of objects of interest.

We will examine two tools from the polynomial method toolkit, each of which generalizes the following, well-known fact: a one-variable polynomial over a field can have at most as many zeros as its degree. The first generalization which we will discuss is Alon¹s Non-vanishing Corollary, a statement for a multivariate polynomial introduced in the 1990s that follows from his celebrated Combinatorial Nullstellensatz. The second generalization is the Alon-Furedi Theorem, a statement which gives a lower bound on the number of non-zeros of a multivariate polynomial over a Cartesian product. We give an application for each of these tools. For the first we show how to apply it to a combinatorial problem of the polymath Martin Gardner known as the minimum no-three-in-a-line problem.

For the second we show how it quickly proves a number-theoretic result from the 1930s due to Ewald Warning, a statement which gives a lower bound on the number of common zeros of a polynomial system over a finite field.