One approach to studying properties of random walks on groups with random generators is to study word-measures on these groups. This approach was proven useful for the study of symmetric groups and random regular graphs. In the current work we focus on the unitary groups U(n). For example, if w is a word in F_2 = <x,y>, sample at random two elements from U(n), A for x and B for y, and evaluate w(A,B). The measure of this random element is called the w measure on U(n). We study the expected trace (and other invariants) of a random unitary matrix sampled from U(n) according to the w-measure, and find surprising algebraic properties of w that determine these quantities. This is joint work with Michael Magee.

Video Recording