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Geometric Representation Theory August 18, 2014 to December 19, 2014
Organizers LEAD David Ben-Zvi (University of Texas), Ngô Bảo Châu (University of Chicago), Thomas Haines (University of Maryland), Florian Herzig (University of Toronto), Kevin McGerty (University of Oxford), David Nadler (University of California, Berkeley), Catharina Stroppel (Hausdorff Research Institute for Mathematics, University of Bonn), Eva Viehmann (TU München)

Representation theory is the study of the basic symmetries of mathematics and physics. Symmetry groups come in many different flavors: finite groups, Lie groups, p-adic groups, loop groups, adelic groups,.. A striking feature of representation theory is the persistence of fundamental structures and unifying themes throughout this great diversity of settings. One such theme is the Langlands philosophy, a vast nonabelian generalization of the Fourier transform of classical harmonic analysis, which serves as a visionary roadmap for the subject and places it at the heart of number theory.

The fundamental aims of geometric representation theory are to uncover the deeper geometric and categorical structures underlying the familiar objects of representation theory and harmonic analysis, and to apply the resulting insights to the resolution of classical problems. A groundbreaking example of its success is Beilinson-Bernstein's generalization of the Borel-Weil-Bott theorem, giving a uniform construction of all representations of Lie groups via the geometric study of differential equations on flag varieties.

The geometric study of representations often reveals deeper layers of structure in the form of categorification. Categorification typically replaces numbers (such as character values) by vector spaces (typically cohomology groups), and vector spaces (such as representation rings) by categories (typically of sheaves). It is a primary explanation for miraculous integrality and positivity properties in algebraic combinatorics. A recent triumph of geometric methods is Ngô's proof of the Fundamental Lemma, a key technical ingredient in the Langlands program. The proof relies on the cohomological interpretation of orbital integrals, which makes available the deep topological tools of algebraic geometry (such as Hodge theory and the Weil conjectures).

A primary goal of the upcoming MSRI program is to explore the potential impact of geometric methods and ideas in the Langlands program by bringing together researchers working in the diverse areas impacted by the Langlands philosophy, with a particular emphasis on representation theory over local fields. More generally, participants in the program will seek to explore new principles and paradigms within geometric representation theory. A major source of inspiration comes from theoretical physics, where new perspectives on the central objects of geometric representation theory arise in the study supersymmetric gauge theory, integrable systems and topological string theory. The impact of these ideas is only beginning to be absorbed and the program will provide a forum for their dissemination and development.

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Programmatic Workshops
August 28, 2014 - August 29, 2014 Connections for Women: Geometric Representation Theory
September 02, 2014 - September 05, 2014 Introductory Workshop: Geometric Representation Theory
November 17, 2014 - November 21, 2014 Categorical Structures in Harmonic Analysis