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Tag: hyperbolic

Dedekind or Klein ?

The black&white psychedelic picture on the left of a tessellation of the hyperbolic upper-halfplane, was called the Dedekind tessellation in this post, following the reference given by John Stillwell in his excellent paper Modular Miracles, The American Mathematical Monthly, 108 (2001) 70-76.

But is this correct terminology? Nobody else uses it apparently. So, let’s try to track down the earliest depiction of this tessellation in the literature…

Stillwell refers to Richard Dedekind‘s 1877 paper “Schreiben an Herrn Borchard uber die Theorie der elliptische Modulfunktionen”, which appeared beginning of september 1877 in Crelle’s journal (Journal fur die reine und angewandte Mathematik, Bd. 83, 265-292).

There are a few odd things about this paper. To start, it really is the transcript of a (lengthy) letter to Herrn Borchardt (at first, I misread the recipient as Herrn Borcherds which would be really weird…), written on June 12th 1877, just 2 and a half months before it appeared… Even today in the age of camera-ready-copy it would probably take longer.

There isn’t a single figure in the paper, but, it is almost impossible to follow Dedekind’s arguments without having a mental image of the tessellation. He gives a fundamental domain for the action of the modular group $\Gamma = PSL_2(\mathbb{Z}) $ on the hyperbolic upper-half plane (a fact already known to Gauss) and goes on in section 3 to give a one-to-one mapping between this domain and the complex plane using what he calls the ‘valenz’ function $v $ (which is our modular function $j $, making an appearance in moonshine, and responsible for the black&white tessellation, the two colours corresponding to pre-images of the upper or lower half-planes).

Then there is this remarkable opening sentence.

Sie haben mich aufgefordert, eine etwas ausfuhrlichere Darstellung der Untersuchungen auszuarbeiten, von welchen ich, durch das Erscheinen der Abhandlung von Fuchs veranlasst, mir neulich erlaubt habe Ihnen eine kurze Ubersicht mitzuteilen; indem ich Ihrer Einladung hiermit Folge leiste, beschranke ich mich im wesentlichen auf den Teil dieser Untersuchungen, welcher mit der eben genannten Abhandlung zusammenhangt, und ich bitte Sie auch, die Ubergehung einiger Nebenpunkte entschuldigen zu wollen, da es mir im Augenblick an Zeit fehlt, alle Einzelheiten auszufuhren.

Well, just try to get a paper (let alone a letter) accepted by Crelle’s Journal with an opening line like : “I’ll restrict to just a few of the things I know, and even then, I cannot be bothered to fill in details as I don’t have the time to do so right now!” But somehow, Dedekind got away with it.

So, who was this guy Borchardt? How could this paper be published so swiftly? And, what might explain this extreme ‘je m’en fous’-opening ?

Carl Borchardt was a Berlin mathematician whose main claim to fame seems to be that he succeeded Crelle in 1856 as main editor of the ‘Journal fur reine und…’ until 1880 (so in 1877 he was still in charge, explaining the swift publication). It seems that during this time the ‘Journal’ was often referred to as “Borchardt’s Journal” or in France as “Journal de M Borchardt”. After Borchardt’s death, the Journal für die Reine und Angewandte Mathematik again became known as Crelle’s Journal.

As to the opening sentence, I have a toy-theory of what was going on. In 1877 a bitter dispute was raging between Kronecker (an editor for the Journal and an important one as he was the one succeeding Borchardt when he died in 1880) and Cantor. Cantor had published most of his papers at Crelle and submitted his latest find : there is a one-to-one correspondence between points in the unit interval [0,1] and points of d-dimensional space! Kronecker did everything in his power to stop that paper to the extend that Cantor wanted to retract it and submit it elsewhere. Dedekind supported Cantor and convinced him not to retract the paper and used his influence to have the paper published in Crelle in 1878. Cantor greatly resented Kronecker’s opposition to his work and never submitted any further papers to Crelle’s Journal.

Clearly, Borchardt was involved in the dispute and it is plausible that he ‘invited’ Dedekind to submit a paper on his old results in the process. As a further peace offering, Dedekind included a few ‘nice’ words for Kronecker

Bei meiner Versuchen, tiefer in diese mir unentbehrliche Theorie einzudringen und mir einen einfachen Weg zu den ausgezeichnet schonen Resultaten von Kronecker zu bahnen, die leider noch immer so schwer zuganglich sind, enkannte ich sogleich…

Probably, Dedekind was referring to Kronecker’s relation between class groups of quadratic imaginary fields and the j-function, see the miracle of 163. As an added bonus, Dedekind was elected to the Berlin academy in 1880…

Anyhow, no visible sign of ‘Dedekind’s’ tessellation in the 1877 Dedekind paper, so, we have to look further. I’m fairly certain to have found the earliest depiction of the black&white tessellation (if you have better info, please drop a line). Here it is

It is figure 7 in Felix Klein‘s paper “Uber die Transformation der elliptischen Funktionen und die Auflosung der Gleichungen funften Grades” which appeared in may 1878 in the Mathematische Annalen (Bd. 14 1878/79). He even adds the j-values which make it clear why black triangles should be oriented counter-clockwise and white triangles clockwise. If Klein would still be around today, I’m certain he’d be a metapost-guru.

So, perhaps the tessellation should be called Klein’s tessellation??
Well, not quite. Here’s what Klein writes wrt. figure 7

Diese Figur nun – welche die eigentliche Grundlage fur das Nachfolgende abgibt – ist eben diejenige, von der Dedekind bei seiner Darstellung ausgeht. Er kommt zu ihr durch rein arithmetische Betrachtung.

Case closed : Klein clearly acknowledges that Dedekind did have this picture in mind when writing his 1877 paper!

But then, there are a few odd things about Klein’s paper too, and, I do have a toy-theory about this as well… (tbc)



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…

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the modular group and superpotentials (1)

Here I will go over the last post at a more leisurely pace, focussing on a couple of far more trivial examples. Here’s the goal : we want to assign a quiver-superpotential to any subgroup of finite index of the modular group. So fix such a subgroup $\Gamma’ $ of the modular group $\Gamma=PSL_2(\mathbb{Z}) $ and consider the associated permutation representation of $\Gamma $ on the left-cosets $\Gamma/\Gamma’ $. As $\Gamma \simeq C_2 \ast C_3 $ this representation is determined by the action of the order 2 and order 3 generators of the modular group. There are a number of combinatorial gadgets to control the subgroup $\Gamma’ $ and the associated permutation representation : (generalized) Farey symbols and dessins d’enfants.

Recall that the modular group acts on the upper-halfplane (the ‘hyperbolic plane’) by Moebius transformations, so to any subgroup $\Gamma’ $ we can associate a fundamental domain for its restricted action. The dessins and the Farey symbols give us a particular choice of these fundamental domains. Let us consider the two most trivial subgroups of all : the modular group itself (so $\Gamma/\Gamma $ is just one element and therefore the associated permutation representation is just the trivial representation) and the unique index two subgroup $\Gamma_2 $ (so there are two cosets $\Gamma/\Gamma_2 $ and the order 2 generator interchanges these two while the order 3 generator acts trivially on them). The fundamental domains of $\Gamma $ (left) and $\Gamma_2 $ (right) are depicted below

In both cases the fundamental domain is bounded by the thick black (hyperbolic) edges. The left-domain consists of two hyperbolic triangles (the upper domain has $\infty $ as the third vertex) and the right-domain has 4 triangles. In general, if the subgroup $\Gamma’ $ has index n, then its fundamental domain will consist of $2n $ hyperbolic triangles. Note that these triangles are part of the Dedekind tessellation so really depict the action of $PGL_2(\mathbb{Z} $ and any $\Gamma $-hyperbolic triangle consists of one black and one white triangle in Dedekind’s coloring. We will indicate the color of a triangle by a black circle if the corresponding triangle is black. Of course, the bounding edges of the fundamental domain need to be identified and the Farey symbol is a notation device to clarify this. The Farey symbols of the above domains are
[tex]\xymatrix{\infty \ar@{-}[r]_{\circ} & 0 \ar@{-}[r]_{\bullet} & \infty}[/tex] and [tex]\xymatrix{\infty \ar@{-}[r]_{\bullet} & 0 \ar@{-}[r]_{\bullet} & \infty}[/tex] respectively. In both cases this indicates that the two bounding edges on the left are to be identified as are the two bounding edges on the right (so, in particular, after identification $\infty $ coincides with $0 $). Hence, after identification, the $\Gamma $ domain consists of two triangles on the vertices ${ 0,i,\rho } $ (where $\rho=e^{2 \pi i}{6} $) (the blue dots) sharing all three edges, the $\Gamma_2 $ domain consists of 4 triangles on the 4 vertices ${ 0,i,\rho,\rho^2 } $ (the blue dots). In general we have three types of vertices : cusps (such as 0 or $\infty $), even vertices (such as $i $ where there are 4 hyperbolic edges in the Dedekind tessellation) and odd vertices (such as $\rho $ and $\rho^2 $ where there are 6 hyperbolic edges in the tessellation).

Another combinatorial gadget assigned to the fundamental domain is the cuboid tree diagram or dessin. It consists of all odd and even vertices on the boundary of the domain, together with all odd and even vertices in the interior. These vertices are then connected with the hyperbolic edges connecting them. If we color the even vertices red and the odds blue we have the indicated dessins for our two examples (the green pictures). An half-edge is an edge connecting a red and a blue vertex in the dessin and we number all half-edges. So, the $\Gamma $-dessin has 1 half-edge whereas the $\Gamma_2 $-dessin has two (in general, the number of these half-edges is equal to the index of the subgroup). Observe also that every triangle has exactly one half-edge as one of its three edges. The dessin gives all information to calculate the permutation representation on the coset-set $\Gamma/\Gamma’ $ : the action of the order 2 generator of $\Gamma $ is given by taking for each internal red vertex the two-cycle $~(a,b) $ where a and b are the numbers of the two half-edges connected to the red vertex and the action of the order 3 generator is given by taking for every internal blue vertex the three cycle $~(c,d,e) $ where c, d and e are the numbers of the three half-edges connected to the blue vertex in counter-clockwise ordering. Our two examples above are a bit too simplistic to view this in action. There are no internal blue vertices, so the action of the order 3 generator is trivial in both cases. For $\Gamma $ there is also no red internal vertex, whence this is indeed the trivial representation whereas for $\Gamma_2 $ there is one internal red vertex, so the action of the order 2 generator is given by $~(1,2) $, which is indeed the representation representation on $\Gamma/\Gamma_2 $. In general, if the index of the subgroup $\Gamma’ $ is n, then we call the subgroup of the symmetric group on n letters $S_n $ generated by the action-elements of the order 2 and order 3 generator the monodromy group of the permutation representation (or of the subgroup). In the trivial cases here, the monodromy groups are the trivial group (for $\Gamma $) and $C_2 $ (for $\Gamma_2 $).

As a safety-check let us work out all these concepts in the next simplest examples, those of some subgroups of index 3. Consider the Farey symbols

[tex]\xymatrix{\infty \ar@{-}[r]_{\circ} & 0 \ar@{-}[r]_{\circ} & 1 \ar@{-}[r]_{\circ} & \infty}[/tex] and
[tex]\xymatrix{\infty \ar@{-}[r]_{\circ} & 0 \ar@{-}[r]_{1} & 1 \ar@{-}[r]_{1} & \infty}[/tex]

In these cases the fundamental domain consists of 6 triangles with the indicated vertices (the blue dots). The distinction between the two is that in the first case, one identifies the two edges of the left, resp. bottom, resp. right boundary (so, in particular, 0,1 and $\infty $ are identified) whereas in the second one identifies the two edges of the left boundary and identifies the edges of the bottom with those of the right boundary (here, 0 is identified only with $\infty $ but also $1+i $ is indetified with $\frac{1}{2}+\frac{1}{2}i $).

In both cases the dessin seems to be the same (and given by the picture on the right). However, in the first case all three red vertices are distinct hence there are no internal red vertices in this case whereas in the second case we should identify the bottom and right-hand red vertex which then becomes an internal red vertex of the dessin!

Hence, if we order the three green half-edges 1,2,3 starting with the bottom one and counting counter-clockwise we see that in both cases the action of the order 3-generator of $\Gamma $ is given by the 3-cycle $~(1,2,3) $. The action of the order 2-generator is trivial in the first case, while given by the 2-cycle $~(1,2) $ in the second case. Therefore, the monodromy group is the cylic group $C_3 $ in the first case and is the symmetric group $S_3 $ in the second case.

Next time we will associate a quiver to these vertices and triangles as well as a cubic superpotential which will then allow us to define a noncommutative algebra associated to any subgroup of the modular group. The monodromy group of the situation will then reappear as a group of algebra-automorphisms of this noncommutative algebra!

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