Geometry, Groups and Model Theory
Start date: Jun 1, 2014,
End date: May 31, 2019
Our proposed research lies at the interface of Geometry, Group Theory, Number Theory and Combinatorics. In recent years, striking results were obtained in those disciplines with the help of a surprise newcomer at the border between mathematics and logic: Model Theory. Bringing its unique point of view and its powerful formalism, Model Theory made a resounding entry into several different fields of mathematics. Here shedding new light on a classical phenomenon, there solving a long-standing open problem via a completely new method.Recent examples of concrete mathematical problems where Model Theory interacted in a fruitful manner abound: the local version of Hilbert's 5th problem by Goldbring and van den Dries, Szemeredi's theorems in combinatorics and graph theory, the André-Oort conjecture in diophantine geometry (Pila, Wilkie, Zannier), etc. In this vein, and building on Hrushovski's model-theoretic work, Green, Tao and myself recently settled a conjecture of Lindenstrauss pertaining to the structure of approximate groups.Our plan in this project is to put these methods into further use, to collaborate with model theorists, and to start looking through this prism at a small collection of familiar problems coming from combinatorics, group theory, analysis and spectral geometry of metric spaces, or from arithmetic geometry. Among them: extend our study of approximate groups to the general setting of locally compact groups, obtain uniform estimates on the spectrum of Cayley graphs of large finite groups, prove an analogue for character varieties of the Pink-Zilber conjectures in relation with rigidity theory for discrete subgroups of Lie groups, and clarify the links between uniform spectral gaps and height lower bounds in diophantine geometry with a view towards Lehmer's conjecture.
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