The course is both an introduction to topology and an investigation of various applications of topology in science and engineering. Topology, simply put, is a mathematical study of shapes, and it often turns out that just knowing a rough shape of an object (whether that object is as concrete as platonic solids or as abstract as the space of all paths in large complex networks) can enhance one’s understanding of the object. We will start with a few key theoretical concepts from point-set topology with proofs, while letting breadth take precedence over depth, and then introduce key concepts from algebraic topology, which attempts to use algebraic concepts, mostly group theory, to develop ideas of homotopy, homology, and cohomology, which render topology “computable.” Finally, we discuss a few key examples of real-world applications of computational topology, an emerging field devoted to the study of efficient algorithms for topological problems, especially those arising in science and engineering, which builds on classical results from algebraic topology as well as algorithmic tools from computational geometry and other areas of computer science. The questions we like to ask are: Do I know the topology of my network? What is a rough shape of the large data set that I am working with (is there a logical gap?)? Will the local picture of a part of the sensor field I am looking at give rise to a consistent global common picture?
Multivariate calculus, linear algebra and matrix theory (e.g., EN.625.609 Matrix Theory), and an undergraduate-level course in probability and statistics.