Seminars & Colloquia Calendar
Jacobian Groups of Graphs
Louis Gaudet, Rutgers University
Date & time: Wednesday, 21 March 2018 at 12:15PM - 1:15PM
Abstract: Given a (finite) graph G, there is a natural finite abelian group we can associate to G, called its Jacobian group. There are different sources of motivation for studying these groups. They are the “tropical” (i.e. piecewise-linear) analogs of classical algebro-geometric objects. They are used as models for certain physical systems—so-called “sandpile groups.” The statistics of Jacobian groups of random graphs are related to the Cohen-Lenstra heuristics, which describe statistics of ideal class groups of number fields. For instance, a fun fact: the Jacobian of a random graph is cyclic just about 79% of the time.
Rather than discuss these connections in depth, we’ll explore a more basic question: which groups actually appear as the Jacobian of some graph? Along the way, we’ll observe and exploit connections of the Jacobian group to classical graph theoretic properties of interest: planarity, counts of spanning trees, etc. We’ll construct graphs whose Jacobians realize a large class of groups, and we’ll prove that there are infinite families of groups that cannot be realized as the Jacobian of any graph. The general question, however, is still open, and I will point out several possible research problems.