Automorphic Forms, Group Theory and Graph Expansion

February 9 - 13, 2004


In recent years, new and important connections have emerged between discrete subgroups of Lie groups, automorphic forms and arithmetic on the one hand, and questions in discrete mathematics, combinatorics, and graph theory on the other. One of the first examples of this interaction was the explicit construction of expanders (regular graphs with a high degree of connectedness) via Kazhdan’s property T or via Selberg’s theorem (lambda1 is greater than 3/16). Some other important fruits of this interaction were the construction of Ramanujan graphs, using the Jacquet-Langlands correspondence and Deligne’s theorem on Hecke eigenvalues (Ramanujan conjecture), construction of new finitely presented simple groups via ergodic theory of lattices (a la Margulis) in a product of two trees, and a conceptual approach to the Product Replacement Algorithm of computational group theory (the convergence properties of the algorithm are related to question of whether automorphism groups of free groups have property T). In each of these cases, an unexpected application to discrete mathematics was found by using ideas from number theory, Lie groups, representation theory and ergodic theory. Applications flow in the reverse direction as well. A new combinatorial construction of expander graphs was used recently to resolve a group theoretic question on expansion in Cayley graphs. One reason these connections have been slow to emerge is that the fields involved are quite far apart, at least from the traditional viewpoint. People working in one side of the Lie Group/Discrete Math dichotomy are often not aware of the relevance of their work to the other side. Furthermore, each field has its own language and conceptual framework, so there is often a formidable language barrier to communication. This workshop will bring together mathematicians from several of the above-mentioned areas in order to strengthen the ties between the fields and generate further collaborations.


Organizing Committee

William Kantor (University of Oregon)
Alexander Lubotzky (Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel)
Jon Rogawski (UCLA)
Audrey Terras (University of California at San Diego)
Avi Wigderson (Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton)