The Pick–Nevanlinna interpolation problem in its fullest generality is as follows:

Given domains $D_1$, $D_2$ in complex Euclidean spaces, and a set ${(z_i,w_i): 1\leq i\leq N}\subset D_1\times D_2$, where $z_i$ are distinct and $N$ is a positive integer $\geq 2$, find necessary and sufficient conditions for the existence of a holomorphic map $F$ from $D_1$ into $D_2$ such that $F(z_i) = w_i$, $1\leq N$.

When such a map $F$ exists, we say that $F$ is an interpolant of the data. Of course, this problem is intractable at the above level of generality. However, two special cases of the problem – which we shall study in this thesis – have been of lasting interest:

INTERPOLATION FROM THE POLYDISC TO THE UNIT DISC: This is the case $D_1 = D^n$ and $D_2 = D$, where $D$ denotes the open unit disc in the complex plane and $n$ is a positive integer. The problem itself originates with Georg Pick’s well-known theorem (independently discovered by Nevanlinna) for the case $n=1$. Much later, Sarason gave another proof of Pick’s result using an operator-theoretic approach, which is very influential. Using this approach for $n\geq 2$, Agler–McCarthy provided a solution to the problem with the restriction that the interpolant is in the Schur–Agler class. This is notable because when $n = 2$ the latter result completely solves the problem for the case $D_1 = D^2$, $D_2 = D$. However, Pick’s approach can also be effective for $n\geq 2$. In this thesis, we give an alternative characterization for the existence of a $3$-point interpolant based on Pick’s approach and involving the study of rational inner functions.

Cole, Lewis and Wermer lifted Sarason’s approach to uniform algebras – leading to a characterization for the existence of an interpolant in terms of the positivity of a large, rather abstractly-defined family of $(N\times N)$ matrices. McCullough later refined their result by identifying a smaller family of matrices. The second result of this thesis is in the same vein, namely: it provides a characterization of those data that admit a $D^n$-to-$D$ interpolant in terms of the positivity of a family of matrices parametrized by a class of polynomials.

INTERPOLATION FORM THE UNIT DISC TO THE SPECTRAL UNIT BALL: This is the case $D_1 = D$ and $D_2$ is the set of all $(n\times n)$ matrices with spectral radius less than $1$. The interest in this arises from problems in Control Theory. Bercovici, Fois and Tannenbaum adapted Sarason’s methods to give a (somewhat hard-to-check) characterization for the existence of an interpolant under a very mild restriction. Later, Agler–Young established a relation between the interpolation problem in the spectral unit ball and that in the symmetrized polydisc – leading to a necessary condition for the existence of an interpolant. Bharali later provided a new inequivalent necessary condition for the existence of an interpolant for any $n$ and $N=2$. We shall present a necessary condition for the existence of a $3$-point interpolant. This we shall achieve by modifying Pick’s approach and applying the aforementioned result due to Bharali.

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Last updated: 17 Oct 2019