In May 2017, shortly after completing my PhD and giving a talk on it at a conference in Seoul, I wrote a post describing the outlook for my research.

I can go through that post paragraph-by-paragraph and thankfully most of the issues have been ironed out. In May 2018 I visited Adam Skalski at IMPAN and on that visit I developed a new example (4.2) of a random walk (with trivial n-dependence) on the Sekine quantum groups Y_n with upper and lower bounds sharp enough to prove the non-existence of the cutoff phenomenon. The question of developing a walk on Y_n showing cutoff… I now think this is unlikely considering the study of Isabelle Baraquin and my intuitions about the ‘growth’ of Y_n (perhaps if cutoff doesn’t arise in somewhat ‘natural’ examples best not try and force the issue?). With the help of Amaury Freslon, I was able to improve to presentation of the walk (Ex 4.1) on the dual quantum group \widehat{S_n}. With the help of others, it was seen that the quantum total variation distance is equal to the projection distance (Prop. 2.1). Thankfully I have recently proved the Ergodic Theorem for Random Walks on Finite Quantum Groups. This did involve a study of subgroups (and quasi-subgroups) of quantum groups but normal subgroups of quantum groups did not play so much of a role as I expected. Amaury Freslon extended the upper bound lemma to compact Kac algebras. Finally I put the PhD on the arXiv and also wrote a paper based on it.

Many of these questions, other questions in the PhD, as well as other questions that arose around the time I visited Seoul (e.g. what about random transpositions in S_n^+?) were answered by Amaury Freslon in this paper. Following an email conversation with Amaury, and some communication with Uwe Franz, I was able to write another post outlining the state of play.

This put some of the problems I had been considering into the categories of Solved, to be Improved, More Questions, and Further Work. Most of these have now been addressed. That February 2018 post gave some direction, led me to visit Adam, and I got my first paper published.

After that paper, my interest turned to the problem of the Ergodic Theorem, and in May I visited Uwe in Besancon, where I gave a talk outlining some problems that I wanted to solve. The main focus was on proving this Ergodic Theorem for Finite Quantum Groups, and thankfully that has been achieved.

What I am currently doing is learning my compact quantum groups. This work is progressing (albeit slowly), and the focus is on delivering a series of classes on the topic to the functional analysts in the UCC School of Mathematical Sciences. The best way to learn, of course, is to teach. This of course isn’t new, so here I list some problems I might look at in short to medium term. Some of the following require me to know my compact quantum groups, and even non-Kac quantum groups, so this study is not at all futile in terms of furthering my own study.

I don’t really know where to start. Perhaps I should focus on learning my compact quantum groups for a number of months before tackling these in this order?

  1. My proof of the Ergodic Theorem leans heavily on the finiteness assumption but a lot of the stuff in that paper (and there are many partial results in that paper also) should be true in the compact case too. How much of the proof/results carry into the compact case? A full Ergodic Theorem for Random Walks on Compact Quantum Groups is probably quite far away at this point, but perhaps partial results under assumptions such as (co?)amenability might be possible. OR try and prove ergodic theorems for specific compact quantum groups.
  2. Look at random walks on quantum homogeneous spaces, possibly using Gelfand Pair theory. Start in finite and move into Kac?
  3. Following Urban, study convolution factorisations of the Haar state.
  4. Examples of non-central random walks on compact groups.
  5. Extending the Upper Bound Lemma to the non-Kac case. As I speak, this is beyond what I am capable of. This also requires work on the projection and quantum total variation distances (i.e. show they are equal in this larger category)