Sheel Ganatra (USC): Liouville sectors and localizing Fukaya categories
We introduce a new class of Liouville manifolds-with-boundary, called Liouville sectors, and show they have well-behaved, covariantly functorial Fukaya/Floer theories. Stein manifolds frequently admit coverings by Liouville sectors, which can then be used to study the Fukaya category of the total space. Our first main result in this setup is a local criterion for generating (global) Fukaya categories. One of our goals, using this framework, is to obtain a combinatorial presentation of the Fukaya category of any Stein manifold. This is joint work with John Pardon and Vivek Shende.
Nathan Dunfield (UIUC): An SL(2, R) Casson-Lin invariant and applications
When M is the exterior of a knot K in the 3-sphere, Lin showed that the signature of K can be viewed as a Casson-style signed count of the SU(2) representations of pi_1(M) where the meridian has trace 0. This was later generalized to the fact that signature function of K on the unit circle counts SU(2) representations as a function of the trace of the meridan. I will define the SL(2, R) analog of these Casson-Lin invariants, and explain how it interacts with the original SU(2) version via a new kind of smooth resolution of the real points of certain SL(2, C) character varieties in which both kinds of representations live. I will use the new invariant to study left-orderability of Dehn fillings on M using the translation extension locus I introduced with Marc Culler, and also give a new proof of a recent theorem of Gordon's on parabolic SL(2, R) representations of two-bridge knot groups. This is joint work with Jake Rasmussen (Cambridge).