Using the Borsuk-Ulam Theorem: Lectures on Topological Methods in Combinatorics and Geometry / Edition 1

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Overview

To the uninitiated, algebraic topology might seem fiendishly complex, but its utility is beyond doubt. This brilliant exposition goes back to basics to explain how the subject has been used to further our understanding in some key areas. A number of important results in combinatorics, discrete geometry, and theoretical computer science have been proved using algebraic topology. While the results are quite famous, their proofs are not so widely understood. This book is the first textbook treatment of a significant part of these results. It focuses on so-called equivariant methods, based on the Borsuk-Ulam theorem and its generalizations. The topological tools are intentionally kept on a very elementary level. No prior knowledge of algebraic topology is assumed, only a background in undergraduate mathematics, and the required topological notions and results are gradually explained.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
From the reviews:

[...]Matousek's lively little textbook now shows that Lovász' insight as well as beautiful work of many others (such as Vrecíca and Zivaljevíc, and Sarkaria) have opened up an exciting area of matheamtics that connects combinatorics, graph theory, algebraic topology and discrete geometry. What seemed like an ingenious trick in 1978 now presents itself as an instance of the "test set paradigm": to construct configuration spaces for combinatorial problems such that coloring, incidence or transversal problems may be translated into the (non-)existence of suitable equivariant maps.

The vivid account of this area and its ramifications by Matousek is an exciting, a coherent account of this area of topological combinatorics. It features a collection of mathematical gems written with a broad view of the subject and still with loving care for details. Recommended reading! [..]

Günter M. Ziegler (Berlin)

Zbl. MATH Volume 1060 Productions-no.: 05001

...."The book contains more than 100 exercises, many of them being compressed outlines of interesting results. As such, most of them are both challenging and interesting.

I think this book will be of interest mostly for mathematicians and graduate students. It can certainly be used in a graduate course or seminar. It has an extensive list of references and it covers many interesting and not-so-easy results, with proofs that are sometimes easier than in the original papers. I wouldn't say that this book is an "easy read", but it is very well written, very interesting, and very informative".

Mihaela Poplicher, MAA Online

"This book is intended to make elementary topological methods more accessible to those who work in other areas of mathematics. … This excellent book is useful for specialists in discrete geometry, combinatorics and computer science who want to learn how algebraic topology can be used in their discipline. It is also very suitable as a textbook for such a course." (Ferenc Fodor, Acta Scientiarum Mathematicarum, Vol. 71, 2005)

"The book is addressed to mathematicians, scientists, and engineers working on signal and image processing and medical imaging. It is written by experts and for experts, but each chapter has an introductory part written for non-specialists, giving them the possibility to find what the chapter is dealing with. The book contains important contributions to the areas mentioned in the title: sampling, wavelets and tomography." (S. Cobzas, Studia universitatis Babes-Bolyai Mathematica, Vol. XLIX (2), 2004)

"This book … is based on a couple of graduate courses in ‘topological combinatorics’ taught by the author … . The book contains more than 100 exercises, many of them being compressed outlines of interesting results. As such, most of them are both challenging and interesting. … It has an extensive list of references and it covers many interesting and no-so-easy results, with proofs that are sometimes easier than in the original papers. … it is very well written, very interesting, and very informative." (Mihaela Poplicher, MAA Online, January, 2005)

"This excellent textbook is based on lecture notes by the author on applications of some topological methods in combinatorics and geometry. … All chapters include exercises and historical and bibliographical notes. Many hints for further reading are given. … topologists will find here some nice applications for their lectures." (Zdzislaw Dzedzej, Mathematical Reviews, 2004 i)

"Matoušek’s lively little textbook now shows that Lovász’ insight as well as beautiful work of many others … have opened up an exciting area of mathematics that connects combinatorics, graph theory, algebraic topology and discrete geometry. … The vivid account of this area and its ramifications by Matoušek is an exciting, a coherent account of this area of topological combinatorics. It features a collection of mathematical gems written with a broad view of the subject and still with loving care for details. Recommended reading!" (Günter M. Ziegler, Zentralblatt MATH, Vol. 1016, 2003)

"This textbook explains elementary but powerful topological methods based on the Borsuk-Ulam theorem and its generalizations. It covers many substantial results, sometimes with proofs simpler than those in the original papers." (L'ENSEIGNEMENT MATHEMATIQUE, Vol. 49 (1-2), 2003)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9783540003625
  • Publisher: Springer Berlin Heidelberg
  • Publication date: 6/4/2003
  • Series: Universitext Series
  • Edition description: 1st ed. 2003. Corr. 2nd printing 3rd Printing.
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 214
  • Sales rank: 1,353,046
  • Product dimensions: 6.16 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Table of Contents

Simplicial Complexes.- The Borsuk–Ulam Theorem.- Direct Applications of Borsuk–Ulam.- A Topological Interlude.-—2-Maps and Nonembeddability.- Multiple Points of Coincidence.

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