Last updated: October 1, 2003

Northeastern University
Mathematics Department

Maurice Auslander Distinguished Lectures*

October 2 - 3, 2003


Ken Brown
(Cornell University)

Event Title
Lecture 1
Applications of Ring Theory to Probability Thursday, October 2, 4:30 -5:30 PM
135 Shillman Hall
Lecture 2
A Geometric Approach to Solomon's Descent Algebra Friday, October 3, 10:30 - 11:30 AM
511 Lake Hall

Abstracts of the Lectures

Applications of Ring Theory to Probability

I will show how the representation theory of algebras can be used as an aid in analyzing a family of finite Markov chains. The chains happen to be random walks on semigroups, and the analysis is based on a study of the associated semigroup algebras. Many of the interesting examples come from hyperplane arrangements, so the geometry and combinatorics of hyperplane arrangements also play a role.

A Geometric Approach to Solomon's Descent Algebra

Solomon's descent algebra is an interesting non-commutative algebra associated with a finite reflection group W.  (The name comes from the case where W is the symmetric group.)  Bidigare discovered that it is closely related to the semigroup algebras discussed in Lecture 1.  I will explain this connection and give some applications to the structure of the descent algebra.

Social Program

Date and Time
Thursday, October 2, 4:00 - 4:25 PM
544 Nightingale
Thursday, October 2, 5:45 - 7:00 PM
Raytheon Amphitheater
Thursday, October 2, 7:30 PM
Turner Fisheries (in Westin Hotel)

Those wishing to attend the Conference on Representations of Algebras, to be held at Northeastern University on October 3 - 4, 2002, may want to arrive earlier to attend both the lectures and the conference. For inquiries, contact  Alex Martsinkovsky  <>

Archive: 2002

* Sponsored by Bernice Auslander