Abelian groups: their role in the pathological behaviour of braids and the downfall of democracy!

Host Institution:

RMIT

Title of Seminar:

Abelian groups: their role in the pathological behaviour of braids and the downfall of democracy!

Speaker's Name:

Prof Brian Davey

Speaker's Institution:

La Trobe University

Time and Date:

Friday 24 May, 4.00 PM (AEST)

Seminar Abstract:

A famous theorem in social choice theory, due to Kenneth Arrow, says that there is no "reasonable" system for combining preference orders. For example, in an election we may want a system for taking the voters' various rankings of the candidates in order of preference and obtaining a single ranking of the candidates.

I will discuss an unexpected connection between Arrow's Theorem and my research into braids (a kind of partially ordered set). Indeed, my study of braids led to a theorem about finite abelian groups that can be applied to simplify the proof of Arrow's Theorem; a surprising interconnection between three apparently quite different parts of mathematics.

The talk will be aimed at a general audience and will assume nothing other than some elementary facts about abelian groups. 

Seminar Convenor:

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AGR IT support:

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