The geometry and combinatorics of phylogenetic tree spaces
Department of Computer Science University of Otago
Date: Tuesday 16 October 2018
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Place: Room 241, 2nd floor, Science III building
The space of phylogenetic (aka evolutionary) trees is known to have a unique and non-trivial geometry with complicated combinatorial properties. Despite the recent major advances in our understanding of the tree space, a number of gaps remain. In this talk I will concentrate on a specific instance of phylogenetic trees called time-trees (aka dated trees), where internal nodes of the tree are ranked with respect to their time. This class of trees inherits some of the properties of classic, non-ranked, trees. However, some of the fundamental properties of the space (seen as a metric space), including its curvature, computational complexity, and neighbourhood growth function, are significantly different. These differences call for further investigations of these properties, which have a potential to become a stepping stone for new efficient phylogenetic inference methods. In this talk I will introduce all necessary background, present some of our results in this direction, and conclude with the exciting opportunities this area has to offer in computational geometry, combinatorics, and complexity theory.