Simons Foundation Lectures are free public colloquia related to basic science and mathematics. These high-level talks are intended for professors, students, postdocs and business professionals, but interested people from the metropolitan area are welcome as well.
Single particle cryo-electron microscopy (EM) recently joined X-ray crystallography and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy as a high-resolution structural method for biological macromolecules. In single particle cryo-EM, the 3-D structure needs to be determined from many noisy 2-D projection images of individual, ideally identical frozen-hydrated macromolecules whose orientations and positions are random and unknown.
This lecture will explore algorithms for estimating the unknown pose parameters. The main focus will be on algorithms that are based on semidefinite programming relaxations that can be viewed as extensions to existing approximation algorithms to max-cut and unique games, two fundamental problems in theoretical computer science.