April 21, 2022
Europe/Rome timezone

3:00 PM   GSSI Auditorium (Rectorate building)

Awarding of  the International Prize  “Tullio Levi-Civita”  for the Mathematical and Mechanical Sciences  - Prof. Felix Otto , Director at the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences, Leipzig 

Chair: Prof. Mario Pulvirenti (Emeritus Roma Sapienza and MeMocs)


3:30 PM GSSI Auditorium (Rectorate building)


Chair: Prof. Pierangelo Marcati (GSSI)

SPEAKER: Prof. Felix OTTO - Director at the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences, Leipzig

TITLE:   A variational regularity theory for optimal transportation

The optimal transportation of one measure into another, leading to the notion of their Wasserstein distance, is a problem in the calculus of variations with a statistical interpretation. The regularity theory for the coupling is subtle and was revolutionized by Caffarelli. This approach relies on the fact that the Euler-Lagrange equation of this variational problem is given by the Monge-Ampère equation. The latter is a prime example of a fully nonlinear (degenerate) elliptic equation, amenable to comparison principle arguments.

We present a purely variational approach to the regularity theory for opti- mal transportation, introduced with M. Goldman and refined with M. Huesmann. Following De Giorgi’s philosophy for the regularity theory of minimal surfaces, it is based on the approximation of the displacement by a harmonic gradient, through the construction of a variational competitor. This variational approach allows to re-prove the ε-regularity result of Figalli et. al. bypassing Caffarelli’s theory.

The advantage of the variational approach lies in its robustness regarding the regularity of the measures, which can be arbitrary measures. In particular, it can be applied to the optimal matching between the two empirical mea- sures, as formulated by Ajtai et. al. The connection to the Monge-Ampère equation and ultimately to the Poisson equation, enabled Parisi et. al. to give a finer characterization, made rigorous by Ambrosio et. al. on the macroscopic level. As one application of our variational approach we can go down to the mesoscopic level and obtain a sharp non-existence result in the critical 2-dimensional case (work with M. Huesmann and F. Mattesini).


Practical info

Please notice that, in accordance to GSSI regulations, your EU Digital Covid-19 Certificate (Green Pass) will be checked at the entrance.

The event can also be attended online at the zoom link: