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Wasserstein Distance as a Tool in Analysis

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Wednesday, April 24, 2019
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12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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Stefan Steinerberger (Yale University)
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Applied Math And Analysis Seminar

Wasserstein Distance is a way of measuring the distance between two probability distributions (minimizing it is a main problem in Optimal Transport). We will give a gentle Introduction into what it means and then use it to prove (1) a completely elementary but possibly new and quite curious inequality for real-valued functions and (2) a statement along the following lines: linear combinations of eigenfunctions of elliptic operators corresponding to high frequencies oscillate a lot and vanish on a large set of co-dimension 1 (this is already interesting for trigonometric polynomials on the 2-torus, sums of finitely many sines and cosines, whose sum has to vanish on long lines) and (3) some statements in Basic Analytic Number Theory that drop out for free as a byproduct.