# Mathematics

## There exists a weakly mixing billiard in a polygon

This main result of this talk is that there exists a billiard flow in a polygon that is weakly mixing with respect to Lebesgue measure on the unit tangent bundle to the billiard. This strengthens Kerckhoff, Masur and Smillie's result that there exists ergodic billiard flows in polygons. The existence of a weakly mixing billiard follows, via a Baire category argument, from showing that for any translation surface the product of the flows in almost every pair of directions is ergodic with respect to Lebesgue measure. This in turn is proven by showing that for every translation surface the flows in almost every pair of directions do not share non-trivial common eigenvalues. This talk will explain the problem, related results, and approach. The talk will not assume familiarity with translation surfaces. This is joint work with Giovanni Forni.

## Arithmetic and geometric properties of planar self-similar sets

Furstenberg's conjecture on the dimension of the intersection of x2,x3-invariant Cantor sets can be restated as a bound on the dimension of linear slices of the product of x2,x3-Cantor sets, which is a self-affine set in the plane. I will discuss some older and newer variants of this, where the self-affine set is replaced by a self-similar set such as the Sierpinski triangle, Sierpinski carpet or (support of) a complex Bernoulli convolution. Among other things, I will show that the intersection of the Sierpinski carpet with circles has small dimension, but on the other hand the Sierpinski carpet can be covered very efficiently by linear tubes (neighborhoods of lines). The latter fact is a recent result joint with A. Pyörälä, V. Suomala and M. Wu.

## Almost-Prime Times in Horospherical Flows

There is a rich connection between homogeneous dynamics and number theory. Often in such applications it is desirable for dynamical results to be effective (i.e. the rate of convergence for dynamical phenomena are known). In the first part of this talk, I will provide the necessary background and relevant history to state an effective equidistribution result for horospherical flows on the space of unimodular lattices in $\mathbb{R}^n$. I will then describe an application to studying the distribution of almost-prime times (integer times having fewer than a fixed number of prime factors) in horospherical orbits and discuss connections of this work to Sarnak’s Mobius disjointness conjecture. In the second part of the talk I will describe some of the ingredients and key steps that go into proving these results.

## Multiscale multicellular modeling of tissue function and disease using CompuCell3D

Multiscale multicellular models combine representations of subcellular biological networks, cell behaviors, tissue level effects and whole body effects to describe tissue outcomes during development, homeostasis and disease. I will briefly introduce these simulation methodologies, the CompuCell3D simulation environment and their applications, then focus on a multiscale simulation of an acute primary infection of an epithelial tissue infected by a virus like SARS-CoV-2, a simplified cellular immune response and viral and immune-induced tissue damage. The model exhibits four basic parameter regimes: where the immune response fails to contain or significantly slow the spread of viral infection, where it significantly slows but fails to stop the spread of infection, where it eliminates all infected epithelial cells, but reinfection occurs from residual extracellular virus and where it clears the both infected cells and extracellular virus, leaving a substantial fraction of epithelial cells uninfected. Even this simplified model can illustrate the effects of a number of drug therapy concepts. Inhibition of viral internalization and faster immune-cell recruitment promote containment of infection. Fast viral internalization and slower immune response lead to uncontrolled spread of infection. Existing antivirals, despite blocking viral replication, show reduced clinical benefit when given later during the course of infection. Simulation of a drug which reduces the replication rate of viral RNA, shows that a low dosage that provides only a relatively limited reduction of viral RNA replication greatly decreases the total tissue damage and extracellular virus when given near the beginning of infection. However, even a high dosage that greatly reduces the rate of RNA replication rapidly loses efficacy when given later after infection. Many combinations of dosage and treatment time lead to distinct stochastic outcomes, with some replicas showing clearance or control of the virus (treatment success), while others show rapid infection of all epithelial cells (treatment failure). This switch between a regime of frequent treatment success and frequent failure occurs is quite abrupt as the time of treatment increases. The model is open-source and modular, allowing rapid development and extension of its components by groups working in parallel.

## A Bratteli-Vershik model for $\mathbb{Z^2}$ actions, or how cohomology can help us make dynamical systems

The Bratteli-Vershik model is a method of producing minimal actions of the integers on a Cantor set. It was given by myself, Rich Herman and Chris Skau, building on seminal ideas of Anatoly Vershik, over 30 years ago. Rather disappointingly and surprisingly, there isn't a good version for $\mathbb{Z}^2$ actions. I'll report on a new outlook on the problem and recent progress with Thierry Giordano (Ottawa) and Christian Skau (Trondheim). The new outlook focuses on the model as an answer to the question: which cohomological invariants can arise from such actions? I will not assume any familiarity with either the original model or the cohomology. The first half of the talk will be a gentle introduction to the $\mathbb{Z}$-case and the second half will deal with how to adapt the question to get an answer for $\mathbb{Z}^2$

## Binocular Rivalry; Modeling by Network Structure

Binocular rivalry explores the question of how the brain copes with contradictory information. A subject is shown two different pictures – one to each eye. What images does the subject perceive? Results from rivalry experiments usually lead to alternation of percepts and are often surprising. Hugh Wilson proposed modeling rivalry in the brain by using structured networks of differential equations. We use Wilson networks as modeling devices and equivariant Hopf bifurcation as a tool to both post-dict and predict experimentally observed percepts. This work is joint with Casey Diekman, Zhong-Lin Lu, Tyler McMillen, Ian Stewart, Yunjiao Wang, and Yukai Zhao.

## Bratteli-Vershik models for Cantor and Borel dynamical systems

In this talk we will introduce Bratteli diagrams and Vershik maps. Herman-Putnam-Skau proved that for every minimal Cantor dynamical system there exists a Bratteli-Vershik model. We will discuss the proof of this theorem, some of its applications and recent developments. We will also discuss Bratteli-Vershik models for Borel dynamical systems (Bezuglyi-Dooley-Kwiatkowski). Finally, we will briefly talk about connections between Bratteli diagrams and flows on translation surfaces (Lindsey-Treviño).

## Veech's Criterion for a process to be prime

This talk will present Veech's criterion for an ergodic probability measure preserving system to be prime. It will define factors of measure preserving systems, prime and self-joinings and provide examples. It uses disintegration of measures, the ergodic decomposition and Haar's Theorem. It will state these results and have examples of disintegration of measures and the ergodic decomposition, but wont discuss their proofs.

## Gaps of saddle connection directions for some branched covers of tori

TBA

## Real-time modelling of the COVID-19 epidemic: perspectives from British Columbia

The COVID-19 global pandemic has led to unprecedented public interest in mathematical modelling as a tool to understand the dynamics of disease spread and predict the impact of public health interventions. In this pair of talks, we will describe how mathematical models are being used, with particular reference to the British Columbia epidemic.

In the first talk, Prof. Caroline Colijn (Dept. of Mathematics, Simon Fraser University) will outline the key features of the British Columbia data and focus on how modelling has allowed us to estimate the effectiveness of the provincial response. In the second talk, Prof. Daniel Coombs (Dept. of Mathematics and Inst. of Applied Mathematics, University of British Columbia) will describe forward-looking modelling approaches that can provide some guidance as the province moves towards partial de-escalation of measures. Each talk will be 30 mins in length and followed by a question and discussion period.

For more details on the group's work and to contact the team, please visit https://bccovid-19group.ca/