Combinatorial group theory began with Dehn's study of surface
groups, where he used arguments from hyperbolic geometry to solve the
word/conjugacy problems. In 1984, Cannon generalized those ideas to all
"hyperbolic groups", where he was able to give a solution to the
word/conjugacy problem, and to show that their growth function satisfies
a finite linear recursion. The key observation that led to his
discoveries is that the global geometry of a hyperbolic group is determined locally:
first, one discovers the local picture of G, then the recursive structure
Abstract: In this talk, I shall present a generalization of the lattice point counting problem for Euclidean balls in the context of a certain type of homogeneous groups, the so-called Heisenberg groups.
Abstract: A Markov chain over a finite state space is said to exhibit the total variation cutoff phenomenon if, starting from some Dirac measure, the total variation distance to the stationary distribution drops abruptly from near maximal to near zero. It is conjectured that simple random walks on the family of $k$-regular, transitive graphs with a two sided $\epsilon$ spectral gap exhibit total variation cutoff (for any fixed $k$ and $\epsilon). This is known to be true only in a small number of cases.