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Tag: Calabi-Yau

now what?

You may not have noticed, but the really hard work was done behind the scenes, resurrecting about 300 old posts (some of them hidden by giving them ‘private’-status). Ive only deleted about 10 posts with little or no content and am sorry I’ve self-destructed about 20-30 hectic posts over the years by pressing the ‘delete post’ button. I would have liked to reread them after all the angry mails Ive received. But, as Ive defended myself at the time, and as I continue to do today, a blog only records feelings at a specific moment. Often, the issue is closed for me once Ive put my frustrations in a post, and then Ill forget all about it. Sadly, the gossip-circuit in noncommutative circles is a lot, a lot, slower than my mood swings, so by the time people complain it’s no longer an issue for me and I tend to delete the post altogether. A blog really is a sort of diary. For example, it only struck me now, rereading the posts of the end of 2006, beginning of 2007, how depressed I must have been at the time. Fortunately, life has improved, somewhat… Still, after all these reminiscences, the real issue is : what comes next?

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve closed the open series on tori-cryptography and on superpotentials in a rather abrupt manner. It took me that long to realize that none of you is waiting for this kind of posts. You’re thinking : if he really wants to show off, let him do his damned thing on the arXiv, a couple of days a year, at worst, and then we can then safely ignore it, like we do with most papers. Isnt’t that true? Of course it is…

So, what are you waiting for? Here’s what I believe to be a sensible thing to try out. Over the last 4 years I must have posted well over 50 times what I believe noncommutative geometry is all about, so if you still don’t know, please consult the archive, I fear I can only repeat myself. Probably, it is more worthwhile to reach out to other approaches to noncommutative geometry, trying to figure out what, if anything, they are after, without becoming a new-age convert (‘connes-vert’, I’d say). The top-left picture may give you an inkling of what I’m after… Besides, Im supposed to run a ‘capita selecta’ course for third year Bachelors and Ive chosen to read with them the book The music of the primes and to expand on the mathematics hinted only at in the book. So, I’ll totally immerse myself in Connes’ project to solve the Riemann-hypothesis in the upcoming months.

Again, rereading old posts, it strikes me how much effort I’ve put into trying to check whether technology can genuinely help mathematicians to do what they want to do more efficiently (all post categorized as iMath). I plan some series of posts re-exploring these ideas. The first series will be about the overhyped Web-2 thing of social-bookmarking. So, in the next weeks I’ll go undercover and check out which socialsites are best for mathematicians (in particular, noncommutative geometers) to embrace…

Apart from these, admittedly vague, plans I am as always open for suggestions you might have. So, please drop a comment..



It’s been a while, so let’s include a recap : a (transitive) permutation representation of the modular group $\Gamma = PSL_2(\mathbb{Z}) $ is determined by the conjugacy class of a cofinite subgroup $\Lambda \subset \Gamma $, or equivalently, to a dessin d’enfant. We have introduced a quiver (aka an oriented graph) which comes from a triangulation of the compactification of $\mathbb{H} / \Lambda $ where $\mathbb{H} $ is the hyperbolic upper half-plane. This quiver is independent of the chosen embedding of the dessin in the Dedeking tessellation. (For more on these terms and constructions, please consult the series Modular subgroups and Dessins d’enfants).

Why are quivers useful? To start, any quiver $Q $ defines a noncommutative algebra, the path algebra $\mathbb{C} Q $, which has as a $\mathbb{C} $-basis all oriented paths in the quiver and multiplication is induced by concatenation of paths (when possible, or zero otherwise). Usually, it is quite hard to make actual computations in noncommutative algebras, but in the case of path algebras you can just see what happens.

Moreover, we can also see the finite dimensional representations of this algebra $\mathbb{C} Q $. Up to isomorphism they are all of the following form : at each vertex $v_i $ of the quiver one places a finite dimensional vectorspace $\mathbb{C}^{d_i} $ and any arrow in the quiver
[tex]\xymatrix{\vtx{v_i} \ar[r]^a & \vtx{v_j}}[/tex] determines a linear map between these vertex spaces, that is, to $a $ corresponds a matrix in $M_{d_j \times d_i}(\mathbb{C}) $. These matrices determine how the paths of length one act on the representation, longer paths act via multiplcation of matrices along the oriented path.

A necklace in the quiver is a closed oriented path in the quiver up to cyclic permutation of the arrows making up the cycle. That is, we are free to choose the start (and end) point of the cycle. For example, in the one-cycle quiver

[tex]\xymatrix{\vtx{} \ar[rr]^a & & \vtx{} \ar[ld]^b \\ & \vtx{} \ar[lu]^c &}[/tex]

the basic necklace can be represented as $abc $ or $bca $ or $cab $. How does a necklace act on a representation? Well, the matrix-multiplication of the matrices corresponding to the arrows gives a square matrix in each of the vertices in the cycle. Though the dimensions of this matrix may vary from vertex to vertex, what does not change (and hence is a property of the necklace rather than of the particular choice of cycle) is the trace of this matrix. That is, necklaces give complex-valued functions on representations of $\mathbb{C} Q $ and by a result of Artin and Procesi there are enough of them to distinguish isoclasses of (semi)simple representations! That is, linear combinations a necklaces (aka super-potentials) can be viewed, after taking traces, as complex-valued functions on all representations (similar to character-functions).

In physics, one views these functions as potentials and it then interested in the points (representations) where this function is extremal (minimal) : the vacua. Clearly, this does not make much sense in the complex-case but is relevant when we look at the real-case (where we look at skew-Hermitian matrices rather than all matrices). A motivating example (the Yang-Mills potential) is given in Example 2.3.2 of Victor Ginzburg’s paper Calabi-Yau algebras.

Let $\Phi $ be a super-potential (again, a linear combination of necklaces) then our commutative intuition tells us that extrema correspond to zeroes of all partial differentials $\frac{\partial \Phi}{\partial a} $ where $a $ runs over all coordinates (in our case, the arrows of the quiver). One can make sense of differentials of necklaces (and super-potentials) as follows : the partial differential with respect to an arrow $a $ occurring in a term of $\Phi $ is defined to be the path in the quiver one obtains by removing all 1-occurrences of $a $ in the necklaces (defining $\Phi $) and rearranging terms to get a maximal broken necklace (using the cyclic property of necklaces). An example, for the cyclic quiver above let us take as super-potential $abcabc $ (2 cyclic turns), then for example

$\frac{\partial \Phi}{\partial b} = cabca+cabca = 2 cabca $

(the first term corresponds to the first occurrence of $b $, the second to the second). Okay, but then the vacua-representations will be the representations of the quotient-algebra (which I like to call the vacualgebra)

$\mathcal{U}(Q,\Phi) = \frac{\mathbb{C} Q}{(\partial \Phi/\partial a, \forall a)} $

which in ‘physical relevant settings’ (whatever that means…) turn out to be Calabi-Yau algebras.

But, let us return to the case of subgroups of the modular group and their quivers. Do we have a natural super-potential in this case? Well yes, the quiver encoded a triangulation of the compactification of $\mathbb{H}/\Lambda $ and if we choose an orientation it turns out that all ‘black’ triangles (with respect to the Dedekind tessellation) have their arrow-sides defining a necklace, whereas for the ‘white’ triangles the reverse orientation makes the arrow-sides into a necklace. Hence, it makes sense to look at the cubic superpotential $\Phi $ being the sum over all triangle-sides-necklaces with a +1-coefficient for the black triangles and a -1-coefficient for the white ones. Let’s consider an index three example from a previous post

[tex]\xymatrix{& & \rho \ar[lld]_d \ar[ld]^f \ar[rd]^e & \\
i \ar[rrd]_a & i+1 \ar[rd]^b & & \omega \ar[ld]^c \\
& & 0 \ar[uu]^h \ar@/^/[uu]^g \ar@/_/[uu]_i &}[/tex]

In this case the super-potential coming from the triangulation is

$\Phi = -aid+agd-cge+che-bhf+bif $

and therefore we have a noncommutative algebra $\mathcal{U}(Q,\Phi) $ associated to this index 3 subgroup. Contrary to what I believed at the start of this series, the algebras one obtains in this way from dessins d’enfants are far from being Calabi-Yau (in whatever definition). For example, using a GAP-program written by Raf Bocklandt Ive checked that the growth rate of the above algebra is similar to that of $\mathbb{C}[x] $, so in this case $\mathcal{U}(Q,\Phi) $ can be viewed as a noncommutative curve (with singularities).

However, this is not the case for all such algebras. For example, the vacualgebra associated to the second index three subgroup (whose fundamental domain and quiver were depicted at the end of this post) has growth rate similar to that of $\mathbb{C} \langle x,y \rangle $…

I have an outlandish conjecture about the growth-behavior of all algebras $\mathcal{U}(Q,\Phi) $ coming from dessins d’enfants : the algebra sees what the monodromy representation of the dessin sees of the modular group (or of the third braid group).
I can make this more precise, but perhaps it is wiser to calculate one or two further examples…

One Comment


Kea’s post reminded me to have a look at my search terms (the things people type into search engines to get redirected here). Quite a sobering experience…

Via Google Analytics I learn that 49,51% of traffic comes from Search Engines (compared to 26,17% from Referring Sites and 24,32% from direct hits) so I should take Search Terms more seriously! Above you can find the top-25.

On 1. there is neverendingbooks. Well, some people seem to remember the blog-name, but require google to remember the URL (…, okay, fair enough. But from then on… all search terms are iTouch related! The first ‘other’ term is puzzle m at 24. and believe me things do not improve afterwards. Here the only non-Touch related search terms in the top 100 :

  • (40)
  • “puzzle m” (42)
  • moonshine mathematics (79)
  • necklace algebra (80)
  • “calabi-yau algebra (90)
  • “dessin d enfant” (91)
  • “lieven le bruyn” (95)
  • Mathieu group + M(13) (97)
  • 13 points 5 lines puzzle (98)
  • 15 itouch sliding puzzle (99)

the last one is really touching (sic). Is there anybody out there still interested in the mathematics, or should I turn this blog into a yaib (yet another iTouch blog) ???