Abstract:
This paper begins the study of relations between Riemannian geometry and contact topology in any dimension and continues this study in dimension 3. Specifically we provide a lower bound for the radius of a geodesic ball in a contact manifold that can be embedded in the standard contact structure on Euclidean space, that is on the size of a Darboux ball. The bound is established with respect to a Riemannian metric compatible with an associated contact form. In dimension three, it further leads us to an estimate of the size for a standard neighborhood of a closed Reeb orbit. The main tools are classical comparison theorems in Riemannian geometry. In the same context, we also use holomorphic curves techniques to provide a lower bound for the radius of a PS-tight ball.

Abstract:
The main result of this paper is a construction of fundamental domains for certain group actions on Lorentz manifolds of constant curvature. We consider the simply connected Lie group G~, the universal cover of the group SU(1,1) of orientation-preserving isometries of the hyperbolic plane. The Killing form on the Lie group G~ gives rise to a bi-invariant Lorentz metric of constant curvature. We consider a discrete subgroup Gamma_1 and a cyclic discrete subgroup Gamma_2 in G~ which satisfy certain conditions. We describe the Lorentz space form Gamma_1\G~/Gamma_2 by constructing a fundamental domain for the action of the product of Gamma_1 and Gamma_2 on G~ by (g,h)*x=gxh^{-1}. This fundamental domain is a polyhedron in the Lorentz manifold G~ with totally geodesic faces. For a co-compact subgroup the corresponding fundamental domain is compact. The class of subgroups for which we construct fundamental domains corresponds to an interesting class of singularities. The bi-quotients of the form Gamma_1\G~/Gamma_2 are diffeomorphic to the links of quasi-homogeneous Q-Gorenstein surface singularities.

Abstract:
A common theme of enumerative combinatorics is formed by counting functions that are polynomials evaluated at positive integers. In this expository paper, we focus on four families of such counting functions connected to hyperplane arrangements, lattice points in polyhedra, proper colorings of graphs, and $P$-partitions. We will see that in each instance we get interesting information out of a counting function when we evaluate it at a \emph{negative} integer (and so, a priori the counting function does not make sense at this number). Our goals are to convey some of the charm these "alternative" evaluations of counting functions exhibit, and to weave a unifying thread through various combinatorial reciprocity theorems by looking at them through the lens of geometry, which will include some scenic detours through other combinatorial concepts.

Abstract:
This paper presents sixteen quantitative versions of the classic Tverberg, Helly, & Caratheodory theorems in combinatorial convexity. Our results include measurable or enumerable information in the hypothesis and the conclusion. Typical measurements include the volume, the diameter, or the number of points in a lattice.

Abstract:
A (q,k,t)-design matrix is an m x n matrix whose pattern of zeros/non-zeros satisfies the following design-like condition: each row has at most q non-zeros, each column has at least k non-zeros and the supports of every two columns intersect in at most t rows. We prove that the rank of any (q,k,t)-design matrix over a field of characteristic zero (or sufficiently large finite characteristic) is at least n - (qtn/2k)^2 . Using this result we derive the following applications: (1) Impossibility results for 2-query LCCs over the complex numbers: A 2-query locally correctable code (LCC) is an error correcting code in which every codeword coordinate can be recovered, probabilistically, by reading at most two other code positions. Such codes have numerous applications and constructions (with exponential encoding length) are known over finite fields of small characteristic. We show that infinite families of such linear 2-query LCCs do not exist over the complex numbers. (2) Generalization of results in combinatorial geometry: We prove a quantitative analog of the Sylvester-Gallai theorem: Let $v_1,...,v_m$ be a set of points in $\C^d$ such that for every $i \in [m]$ there exists at least $\delta m$ values of $j \in [m]$ such that the line through $v_i,v_j$ contains a third point in the set. We show that the dimension of $\{v_1,...,v_m \}$ is at most $O(1/\delta^2)$. Our results generalize to the high dimensional case (replacing lines with planes, etc.) and to the case where the points are colored (as in the Motzkin-Rabin Theorem).

Abstract:
These notes are focused on three recent results in discrete random geometry, namely: the proof by Duminil-Copin and Smirnov that the connective constant of the hexagonal lattice is \sqrt{2+\sqrt 2}; the proof by the author and Manolescu of the universality of inhomogeneous bond percolation on the square, triangular, and hexagonal lattices; the proof by Beffara and Duminil-Copin that the critical point of the random-cluster model on Z^2 is \sqrt q/(1+\sqrt q). Background information on the relevant random processes is presented on route to these theorems. The emphasis is upon the communication of ideas and connections as well as upon the detailed proofs.

Abstract:
In this paper, we give a survey of various sphere theorems in geometry. These include the topological sphere theorem of Berger and Klingenberg as well as the differentiable version obtained by the authors. These theorems employ a variety of methods, including geodesic and minimal surface techniques as well as Hamilton's Ricci flow. We also obtain here new results concerning complete manifolds with pinched curvature.

Abstract:
Many combinatorial sequences (for example, the Catalan and Motzkin numbers) may be expressed as the constant term of $P(x)^k Q(x)$, for some Laurent polynomials $P(x)$ and $Q(x)$ in the variable $x$ with integer coefficients. Denoting such a sequence by $a_k$, we obtain a general formula that determines the congruence class, modulo $p$, of the indefinite sum $\sum_{k=0}^{rp -1} a_k$, for {\it any} prime $p$, and any positive integer $r$, as a linear combination of sequences that satisfy linear recurrence (alias difference) equations with constant coefficients. This enables us (or rather, our computers) to automatically discover and prove congruence theorems for such partial sums. Moreover, we show that in many cases, the set of the residues is finite, regardless of the prime $p$.

Abstract:
We develop a new technique that allows us to show in a unified way that many well-known combinatorial theorems, including Tur\'an's theorem, Szemer\'edi's theorem and Ramsey's theorem, hold almost surely inside sparse random sets. For instance, we extend Tur\'an's theorem to the random setting by showing that for every $\epsilon > 0$ and every positive integer $t \geq 3$ there exists a constant $C$ such that, if $G$ is a random graph on $n$ vertices where each edge is chosen independently with probability at least $C n^{-2/(t+1)}$, then, with probability tending to $1$ as $n$ tends to infinity, every subgraph of $G$ with at least $(1 - \frac{1}{t-1} + \epsilon) e(G)$ edges contains a copy of $K_t$. This is sharp up to the constant $C$. We also show how to prove sparse analogues of structural results, giving two main applications, a stability version of the random Tur\'an theorem stated above and a sparse hypergraph removal lemma. Many similar results have recently been obtained independently in a different way by Schacht and by Friedgut, R\"odl and Schacht.