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Applied Algebraic Topology in Geometry

   Department of Mathematics

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

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  Dr R Hepworth, Dr M Grant  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

In recent years the techniques of algebraic topology have been applied to data analysis with great success, and the resulting subject areas of Applied Algebraic Topology and Topological Data Analysis have seen rapid growth. This project will apply these new techniques to pure mathematics itself, in order to study geometric objects. Topological data analysis studies point clouds, in which each point of the cloud represents a single piece of data. It tries to answer the question “What is the shape of the point cloud?”. It does this by allowing points of the cloud that are close together to merge, and then examining the resulting space. The features of the space that last for a long time as more and more points merge are called the persistent features, and give us a meaningful measurement of the shape of the point cloud. The result is called the Persistent Homology of the point cloud. Topological data analysis has been used to great effect in applications, but has seen little use in pure mathematics itself. This project will seek out applications of topological data analysis in pure mathematics. For example, persistent homology can be applied to the cloud of points in a manifold. In this case, when points that are very close together are merged, the result is an accurate picture of the topology of the manifold. But the persistent features remain to be analysed, and it is hoped that they will encode geometric properties such as volume, diameter and curvature. Applicants for this project should have a good background in pure mathematics, and in particular should have completed first courses in algebraic topology and differential geometry. Persistent homology is a very computational subject, and there are many programming tools for the study of persistent homology. This project offers an opportunity to learn and apply some of these tools, especially in the study of specific examples.

Selection will be made on the basis of academic merit. The successful candidate should have, or expect to obtain, a First class UK Honours degree in Mathematics, or a 2:1 Honours degree in Mathematics alongside a Masters with Merit or Distinction, also in Mathematics. First courses in Algebraic Topology and Differential Geometry are essential, together with the first degree requirements.

Formal applications can be completed online:

• Apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics

• State name of the lead supervisor as the Name of Proposed Supervisor

• State ‘Self-funded’ as Intended Source of Funding

• State the exact project title on the application form

When applying please ensure all required documents are attached:

• All degree certificates and transcripts (Undergraduate AND Postgraduate MSc-officially translated into English where necessary)

• Detailed CV, Personal Statement/Motivation Letter and Intended source of funding

Informal inquiries can be made to Dr R Hepworth ([Email Address Removed]) with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Postgraduate Research School ([Email Address Removed])

Funding Notes

This PhD project has no funding attached and is therefore available to students (UK/International) who are able to seek their own funding or sponsorship. Supervisors will not be able to respond to requests to source funding. Details of the cost of study can be found by visiting
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