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Metric Cotype

Abstract

We introduce the notion of metric cotype, a property of metric spaces related to a property of normed spaces, called Rademacher cotype. Apart from settling a long standing open problem in metric geometry, this property is used to prove the following dichotomy: A family of metric spaces F is either almost universal (i.e., contains any finite metric space with any distortion > 1), or there exists α > 0, and arbitrarily large n-point metrics whose distortion when embedded in any member of F is at least Ω((log n)^α). The same property is also used to prove strong non-embeddability theorems of L_q into L_p, when q > max{2,p}. Finally we use metric cotype to obtain a new type of isoperimetric inequality on the discrete torus

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