On a universal limit conjecture for the nodal count statistics of quantum graphs

Applied Mathematics
Event time: 
Tuesday, October 8, 2019 - 4:00pm
LOM 215
Lior Alon
Speaker affiliation: 
Event description: 

Abstract:  Understanding the statistical properties of Laplacian eigenfunctions in general and their nodal sets in particular, have an important role in the field of spectral geometry, and interest both mathematicians and physicists. A quantum graph is a system of a metric graph with a self-adjoint Schrodinger operator. It was proven for quantum graphs that the number of points on which each eigenfunction vanish (also known as the nodal count) is bounded away from the spectral position of the eigenvalue by the first Betti number of the graph. A remarkable result by Berkolaiko and Weyand showed that the nodal surplus is equal to a magnetic stability index of the corresponding eigenvalue. A similar result for discrete graphs holds as well proved first by Berkoliako and later by Colin deVerdiere.
Both from the nodal count point of view and the magnetic point of view, it is interesting to consider the distribution of these indices over the spectrum. In our work, we show that such a density exists and defines a nodal count distribution. Moreover, this distribution is symmetric, which allows deducing the topology of a graph from its nodal count. Although for general graphs we can not a priori calculate the nodal count distribution, we proved that a certain family of graphs will have a binomial distribution. As a corollary, given any sequence of graphs from that family with an increasing number of cycles, the sequence of nodal count distributions, properly normalized, will converge to a normal distribution.

A numerical study indicates that this property might be universal and led us to state the following conjecture. For every sequence of graphs with an increasing number of cycles, the corresponding sequence of properly normalized nodal count distributions will converge to a normal distribution. 

In my talk, I will present our latest results extending the number of families of graphs for which we can prove the conjecture.
This talk is based on joint works with Ram Band (Technion) and Gregory Berkolaiko (Texas A&M).