Tropical varieties, maps and gossip

B.J. Frenk

Research output: ThesisPhd Thesis 1 (Research TU/e / Graduation TU/e)

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Tropical geometry is a relatively new field of mathematics that studies the tropicalization map: a map that assigns a certain type of polyhedral complex, called a tropical variety, to an embedded algebraic variety. In a sense, it translates algebraic geometric statements into combinatorial ones. An interesting feature of tropical geometry is that there does not exist a good notion of morphism, or map, between tropical varieties that makes the tropicalization map functorial. The main part of this thesis studies maps between different classes of tropical varieties: tropical linear spaces and tropicalizations of embedded unirational varieties. The first chapter is a concise introduction to tropical geometry. It collects and proves the main theorems. None of these results are new. The second chapter deals with tropicalizations of embedded unirational varieties. We give sufficient conditions on such varieties for there to exist a (not necessarily injective) parametrization whose naive tropicalization is surjective onto the associated tropical variety. The third chapter gives an overview of the algebra related to tropical linear spaces. Where fields and vector spaces are the central objects in linear algebra, so are semifields and modules over semifields central to tropical linear algebra and the study of tropical linear spaces. Most results in this chapter are known in some form, but scattered among the available literature. The main purpose of this chapter is to collect these results and to determine the algebraic conditions that suffice to give linear algebra over the semifield a familiar feel. For example, under which conditions are varieties cut out by linear polynomials closed under addition and scalar multiplication? The fourth chapter comprises the biggest part of the thesis. The techniques used are a combination of tropical linear algebra and matroid theory. Central objects are the valuated matroids introduced by Andreas Dress and Walter Wenzl. Among other things the chapter contains a classification of functions on a tropical linear space whose cycles are tropical linear subspaces, extending an old result on elementary extensions of matroids by Henry Crapo. It uses Mikhalkin’s concept of a tropical modification to define the morphisms in a category whose objects are all tropical linear spaces. Finally, we determine the structure of an open submonoid of the morphisms from affine 2-space to itself as a polyhedral complex. Finally, the fifth and last chapter is only indirectly related to maps. It studies a certain monoid contained in the tropicalization of the orthogonal group: the monoid that is generated by the distance matrices under tropical matrix multiplication (i.e. where addition is replaced by minimum, and multiplication by addition). This monoid generalizes a monoid that underlies the well-known gossip problem, to a setting where information is transmitted only with a certain degree accuracy. We determine this so-called gossip monoid for matrices up to size 4, and prove that in general it is a polyhedral monoid of dimension equal to that of the orthogonal group.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Cohen, Arjeh, Promotor
  • Draisma, Jan, Copromotor
Award date13 Mar 2013
Place of PublicationEindhoven
Print ISBNs978-90-386-3343-5
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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