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  • Accurate measurement of galaxy structures is a prerequisite for quantitative investigation of galaxy properties or evolution. Yet, the impact of galaxy inclination and dust on commonly used metrics of galaxy structure is poorly quantified. We use infrared data sets to select inclination-independent samples of disc and flattened elliptical galaxies. These samples show strong variation in S\'{e}rsic index, concentration, and half-light radii with inclination. We develop novel inclination-independent galaxy structures by collapsing the light distribution in the near-infrared on to the major axis, yielding inclination-independent `linear' measures of size and concentration. With these new metrics we select a sample of Milky Way analogue galaxies with similar stellar masses, star formation rates, sizes and concentrations. Optical luminosities, light distributions, and spectral properties are all found to vary strongly with inclination: When inclining to edge-on, $r$-band luminosities dim by $>$1 magnitude, sizes decrease by a factor of 2, `dust-corrected' estimates of star formation rate drop threefold, metallicities decrease by 0.1 dex, and edge-on galaxies are half as likely to be classified as star forming. These systematic effects should be accounted for in analyses of galaxy properties. Read More
  • In many domains, a latent competition among different conventions determines which one will come to dominate. One sees such effects in the success of community jargon, of competing frames in political rhetoric, or of terminology in technical contexts. These effects have become widespread in the on-line domain, where the data offers the potential to study competition among conventions at a fine-grained level. In analyzing the dynamics of conventions over time, however, even with detailed on-line data, one encounters two significant challenges. First, as conventions evolve, the underlying substance of their meaning tends to change as well; and such substantive changes confound investigations of social effects. Second, the selection of a convention takes place through the complex interactions of individuals within a community, and contention between the users of competing conventions plays a key role in the convention's evolution. Any analysis must take place in the presence of these two issues. In this work we study a setting in which we can cleanly track the competition among conventions. Our analysis is based on the spread of low-level authoring conventions in the e-print arXiv over 24 years: by tracking the spread of macros and other author-defined conventions, we are able to study conventions that vary even as the underlying meaning remains constant. We find that the interaction among co-authors over time plays a crucial role in the selection of them; the distinction between more and less experienced members of the community, and the distinction between conventions with visible versus invisible effects, are both central to the underlying processes. Through our analysis we make predictions at the population level about the ultimate success of different synonymous conventions over time - and at the individual level about the outcome of "fights" between people over convention choices. Read More
  • We investigate the impact of general conditions of theoretical stability and cosmological viability on dynamical dark energy models. As a powerful example, we study whether minimally coupled, single field Quintessence models that are safe from ghost instabilities, can source the CPL expansion history recently shown to be mildly favored by a combination of CMB (Planck) and Weak Lensing (KiDS) data. Interestingly we find that in their most conservative form, the theoretical conditions impact the analysis in such a way that smooth single field Quintessence becomes significantly disfavored with respect to the standard $\Lambda$CDM cosmological model. This is due to the fact that these conditions cut a significant portion of the $(w_0,w_a)$ parameter space for CPL, in particular eliminating the region that would be favored by weak lensing data. Within the scenario of a smooth dynamical dark energy parametrized with CPL, weak lensing data favors a region that would require multiple fields to ensure gravitational stability. Read More
  • We study the problem of low-rank plus sparse matrix recovery. We propose a generic and efficient nonconvex optimization algorithm based on projected gradient descent and double thresholding operator, with much lower computational complexity. Compared with existing convex-relaxation based methods, the proposed algorithm recovers the low-rank plus sparse matrices for free, without incurring any additional statistical cost. It not only enables exact recovery of the unknown low-rank and sparse matrices in the noiseless setting, and achieves minimax optimal statistical error rate in the noisy case, but also matches the best-known robustness guarantee (i.e., tolerance for sparse corruption). At the core of our theory is a novel structural Lipschitz gradient condition for low-rank plus sparse matrices, which is essential for proving the linear convergence rate of our algorithm, and we believe is of independent interest to prove fast rates for general superposition-structured models. We demonstrate the superiority of our generic algorithm, both theoretically and experimentally, through three concrete applications: robust matrix sensing, robust PCA and one-bit matrix decomposition. Read More
  • I critically examine Goodenough's explanation for the experimentally observed phase transition in LiVO$_2$ using microscopic calculations based on density functional and dynamical mean field theories. The high-temperature rhombohedral phase exhibits both magnetic and dynamical instabilities. Allowing a magnetic solution for the rhombohedral structure does not open an insulating gap, and an explicit treatment of the on-site Coulomb $U$ interaction is needed to stabilize an insulating rhombohedral phase. The non-spin-polarized phonon dispersions of the rhombohedral phase show two unstable phonon modes at the wave vector $(\frac{1}{3},-\frac{1}{3},0)$ that corresponds to the experimentally observed trimer forming instability. A full relaxation of the supercell corresponding to this instability yields a nonmagnetic state containing V$_3$ trimers. These results are consistent with Goodenough's suggestion that the high-temperature phase is in the localized-electron regime and the transition to the low-temperature phase in the itinerant-electron regime is driven by V-V covalency. Read More
  • We study spaces of modelled distributions with singular behaviour near the boundary of a domain that, in the context of the theory of regularity structures, allow one to give robust solution theories for singular stochastic PDEs with boundary conditions. The calculus of modelled distributions established in Hairer (Invent. Math. 198, 2014) is extended to this setting. We formulate and solve fixed point problems in these spaces with a class of kernels that is sufficiently large to cover in particular the Dirichlet and Neumann heat kernels. These results are then used to provide solution theories for the KPZ equation with Dirichlet and Neumann boundary conditions and for the 2D generalised parabolic Anderson model with Dirichlet boundary conditions. In the case of the KPZ equation with Neumann boundary conditions, we show that, depending on the class of mollifiers one considers, a "boundary renormalisation" takes place. In other words, there are situations in which a certain boundary condition is applied to an approximation to the KPZ equation, but the limiting process is the Hopf-Cole solution to the KPZ equation with a different boundary condition. Read More