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This thesis is concerned with the study of symmetry breaking phenomena for several different semilinear partial differential equations. Roughly speaking, this encompasses equations whose symmetries are not necessarily inherited by their solutions, which is particularly interesting for ground state solutions.

In this thesis, we cover two intimately related objects in combinatorics, namely random constraint satisfaction problems and random matrices. First we solve a classic constraint satisfaction problem, 2-SAT using the graph structure and a message passing algorithm called Belief Propagation. We also explore another message passing algorithm called Warning Propagation and prove a useful result that can be employed to analyze various type of random graphs. In particular, we use this Warning Propagation to study a Bernoulli sparse parity matrix and reveal a unique phase transition regarding replica symmetry. Lastly, we use variational methods and a version of local limit theorem to prove a sufficient condition for a general random matrix to be of full rank.

We consider a class of nonautonomous nonlinear competitive parabolic systems on bounded radial domains under Neumann or Dirichlet boundary conditions. We show that, if the initial profiles satisfy a reflection inequality with respect to a hyperplane, then bounded positive solutions are asymptotically (in time) foliated Schwarz symmetric with respect to antipodal points. Additionally, a related result for (positive and sign changing solutions) of scalar equations with Neumann or Dirichlet boundary conditions is given. The asymptotic shape of solutions to cooperative systems is also discussed.

We provide extensions of the dual variational method for the nonlinear Helmholtz equation from Evéquoz and Weth. In particular we prove the existence of dual ground state solutions in the Sobolev critical case, extend the dual method beyond the standard Stein Tomas and Kenig Ruiz Sogge range and generalize the method for sign changing nonlinearities.

In the qualitative analysis of solutions of partial differential equations, many interesting questions are related to the shape of solutions. In particular, the symmetries of a given solution are of interest. One of the first more general results in this direction was given in 1979 by Gidas, Ni and Nirenberg... The main tool in proving this symmetry and monotonicity result is the moving plane method. This method, which goes back to Alexandrov’s work on constant mean curvature surfaces in 1962, was introduced in 1971 by Serrin in the context of partial differential equations to analyze an overdetermined problem...

We present new results on nonlocal Dirichlet problems established by means of suitable spectral theoretic and variational methods, taking care of the nonlocal feature of the operators. We mainly address: First, we estimate the Morse index of radially symmetric sign changing bounded weak solutions to a semilinear Dirichlet problem involving the fractional Laplacian. In particular, we derive a conjecture due to Bañuelos and Kulczycki on the geometric structure of the second Dirichlet eigenfunctions. Secondly, we study a small order asymptotics with respect to the parameter s of the Dirichlet eigenvalues problem for the fractional Laplacian. Thirdly, we deal with the logarithmic Schrödinger operator. In particular, we provide an alternative to derive the singular integral representation corresponding to the associated Fourier symbol and introduce tools and functional analytic framework for variational studies. Finaly, we study nonlocal operators of order strictly below one. In particular, we investigate interior regularity properties of weak solutions to the associated Poisson problem depending on the regularity of the right-hand side.

The thesis is composed of four Chapters.
In the first Chapter, the boundary expression of the one-sided shape derivative of nonlocal Sobolev best constants is derived. As a simple consequence, we obtain the fractional version of the so-called Hadamard formula for the torsional rigidity and the first Dirichlet eigenvalue. An application to the optimal obstacle placement problem for the torsional rigidity and the first eigenvalue of the fractional Laplacian is given.
In the second Chapter, we introduce and prove a new maximum principle for doubly antisymmetric functions. The latter can be seen as the first step towards studying the optimal obstacle placement problem for the second fractional eigenvalue. Using the new maximum principle we derive new symmetry results for odd solutions to semilinear Dirichlet boundary value problems with Lipschitz nonlinearity.
In the third Chapter, we derive new integration by parts formula for the fractional Laplace operator with a general globally Lipschitz vector field and in particular, we obtain a new Pohozaev type identity generalizing the one obtained by X. Ros-Oton and J. Serra. As an application we obtain nonexistence results for semilinear Dirichlet boundary problems in bounded domains that are not necessarly starshaped.
In the last Chapter, we study symmetry properties of second eigenfunctions of annuli. Using results from the first Chapter and the maximum principle in Chpater 2, we extend the result on the optimal obstacle placement problem from the first eigenvalue to the second eigenvalue.