Tag Archives: representations

Galois’ last letter

“Ne pleure pas, Alfred ! J’ai besoin de tout mon courage pour mourir à vingt ans!”

We all remember the last words of Evariste Galois to his brother Alfred. Lesser known are the mathematical results contained in his last letter, written to his friend Auguste Chevalier, on the eve of his fatal duel. Here the final sentences :



Tu prieras publiquement Jacobi ou Gauss de donner leur avis non sur la verite, mais sur l’importance des theoremes.
Apres cela il se trouvera, j’espere, des gens qui trouvent leur profis a dechiffrer tout ce gachis.
Je t’embrasse avec effusion.
E. Galois, le 29 Mai 1832

A major result contained in this letter concerns the groups $L_2(p)=PSL_2(\mathbb{F}_p) $, that is the group of $2 \times 2 $ matrices with determinant equal to one over the finite field $\mathbb{F}_p $ modulo its center. $L_2(p) $ is known to be simple whenever $p \geq 5 $. Galois writes that $L_2(p) $ cannot have a non-trivial permutation representation on fewer than $p+1 $ symbols whenever $p > 11 $ and indicates the transitive permutation representation on exactly $p $ symbols in the three ‘exceptional’ cases $p=5,7,11 $.

Let $\alpha = \begin{bmatrix} 1 & 1 \\ 0 & 1 \end{bmatrix} $ and consider for $p=5,7,11 $ the involutions on $\mathbb{P}^1_{\mathbb{F}_p} = \mathbb{F}_p \cup { \infty } $ (on which $L_2(p) $ acts via Moebius transformations)

$\pi_5 = (0,\infty)(1,4)(2,3) \quad \pi_7=(0,\infty)(1,3)(2,6)(4,5) \quad \pi_{11}=(0,\infty)(1,6)(3,7)(9,10)(5,8)(4,2) $

(in fact, Galois uses the involution $~(0,\infty)(1,2)(3,6)(4,8)(5,10)(9,7) $ for $p=11 $), then $L_2(p) $ leaves invariant the set consisting of the $p $ involutions $\Pi = { \alpha^{-i} \pi_p \alpha^i~:~1 \leq i \leq p } $. After mentioning these involutions Galois merely writes :

Ainsi pour le cas de $p=5,7,11 $, l’equation modulaire s’abaisse au degre p.
En toute rigueur, cette reduction n’est pas possible dans les cas plus eleves.

Alternatively, one can deduce these permutation representation representations from group isomorphisms. As $L_2(5) \simeq A_5 $, the alternating group on 5 symbols, $L_2(5) $ clearly acts transitively on 5 symbols.

Similarly, for $p=7 $ we have $L_2(7) \simeq L_3(2) $ and so the group acts as automorphisms on the projective plane over the field on two elements $\mathbb{P}^2_{\mathbb{F}_2} $ aka the Fano plane, as depicted on the left.

This finite projective plane has 7 points and 7 lines and $L_3(2) $ acts transitively on them.

For $p=11 $ the geometrical object is a bit more involved. The set of non-squares in $\mathbb{F}_{11} $ is

${ 1,3,4,5,9 } $

and if we translate this set using the additive structure in $\mathbb{F}_{11} $ one obtains the following 11 five-element sets

${ 1,3,4,5,9 }, { 2,4,5,6,10 }, { 3,5,6,7,11 }, { 1,4,6,7,8 }, { 2,5,7,8,9 }, { 3,6,8,9,10 }, $

$ { 4,7,9,10,11 }, { 1,5,8,10,11 }, { 1,2,6,9,11 }, { 1,2,3,7,10 }, { 2,3,4,8,11 } $

and if we regard these sets as ‘lines’ we see that two distinct lines intersect in exactly 2 points and that any two distinct points lie on exactly two ‘lines’. That is, intersection sets up a bijection between the 55-element set of all pairs of distinct points and the 55-element set of all pairs of distinct ‘lines’. This is called the biplane geometry.

The subgroup of $S_{11} $ (acting on the eleven elements of $\mathbb{F}_{11} $) stabilizing this set of 11 5-element sets is precisely the group $L_2(11) $ giving the permutation representation on 11 objects.

An alternative statement of Galois’ result is that for $p > 11 $ there is no subgroup of $L_2(p) $ complementary to the cyclic subgroup

$C_p = { \begin{bmatrix} 1 & x \\ 0 & 1 \end{bmatrix}~:~x \in \mathbb{F}_p } $

That is, there is no subgroup such that set-theoretically $L_2(p) = F \times C_p $ (note this is of courese not a group-product, all it says is that any element can be written as $g=f.c $ with $f \in F, c \in C_p $.

However, in the three exceptional cases we do have complementary subgroups. In fact, set-theoretically we have

$L_2(5) = A_4 \times C_5 \qquad L_2(7) = S_4 \times C_7 \qquad L_2(11) = A_5 \times C_{11} $

and it is a truly amazing fact that the three groups appearing are precisely the three Platonic groups!

Recall that here are 5 Platonic (or Scottish) solids coming in three sorts when it comes to rotation-automorphism groups : the tetrahedron (group $A_4 $), the cube and octahedron (group $S_4 $) and the dodecahedron and icosahedron (group $A_5 $). The “4” in the cube are the four body diagonals and the “5” in the dodecahedron are the five inscribed cubes.

That is, our three ‘exceptional’ Galois-groups correspond to the three Platonic groups, which in turn correspond to the three exceptional Lie algebras $E_6,E_7,E_8 $ via McKay correspondence (wrt. their 2-fold covers). Maybe I’ll detail this latter connection another time. It sure seems that surprises often come in triples…

Finally, it is well known that $L_2(5) \simeq A_5 $ is the automorphism group of the icosahedron (or dodecahedron) and that $L_2(7) $ is the automorphism group of the Klein quartic.

So, one might ask : is there also a nice curve connected with the third group $L_2(11) $? Rumour has it that this is indeed the case and that the curve in question has genus 70… (to be continued).

Reference

Bertram Kostant, “The graph of the truncated icosahedron and the last letter of Galois”

the McKay-Thompson series

Monstrous moonshine was born (sometime in 1978) the moment John McKay realized that the linear term in the j-function

$j(q) = \frac{1}{q} + 744 + 196884 q + 21493760 q^2 + 864229970 q^3 + \ldots $

is surprisingly close to the dimension of the smallest non-trivial irreducible representation of the monster group, which is 196883. Note that at that time, the Monster hasn’t been constructed yet, and, the only traces of its possible existence were kept as semi-secret information in a huge ledger (costing 80 pounds…) kept in the Atlas-office at Cambridge. Included were 8 huge pages describing the character table of the monster, the top left fragment, describing the lower dimensional irreducibles and their characters at small order elements, reproduced below

If you look at the dimensions of the smallest irreducible representations (the first column) : 196883, 21296876, 842609326, … you will see that the first, second and third of them are extremely close to the linear, quadratic and cubic coefficient of the j-function. In fact, more is true : one can obtain these actual j-coefficients as simple linear combination of the dimensions of the irrducibles :

$\begin{cases} 196884 &= 1 + 196883 \\
21493760 &= 1 + 196883 + 21296876 \\
864229970 &= 2 \times 1 + 2 \times 196883 + 21296876 + 842609326
\end{cases} $

Often, only the first relation is attributed to McKay, whereas the second and third were supposedly discovered by John Thompson after MKay showed him the first. Marcus du Sautoy tells a somewhat different sory in Finding Moonshine :

McKay has also gone on to find these extra equations, but is was Thompson who first published them. McKay admits that “I was a bit peeved really, I don’t think Thompson quite knew how much I knew.”

By the work of Richard Borcherds we now know the (partial according to some) explanation behind these numerical facts : there is a graded representation $V = \oplus_i V_i $ of the Monster-group (actually, it has a lot of extra structure such as being a vertex algebra) such that the dimension of the i-th factor $V_i $ equals the coefficient f $q^i $ in the j-function. The homogeneous components $V_i $ being finite dimensional representations of the monster, they decompose into the 194 irreducibles $X_j $. For the first three components we have the decompositions

$\begin{cases} V_1 &= X_1 \oplus X_2 \\
V_2 &= X_1 \oplus X_2 \oplus X_3 \\
V_3 &= X_1^{\oplus 2 } \oplus X_2^{\oplus 2} \oplus X_3 \oplus X_4
\end{cases} $

Calculating the dimensions on both sides give the above equations. However, being isomorphisms of monster-representations we are not restricted to just computing the dimensions. We might as well compute the character of any monster-element on both sides (observe that the dimension is just the character of the identity element). Characters are the traces of the matrices describing the action of a monster-element on the representation and these numbers fill the different columns of the character-table above.

Hence, the same integral combinations of the character values of any monster-element give another q-series and these are called the McKay-Thompson series. John Conway discovered them to be classical modular functions known as Hauptmoduln.

In most papers and online material on this only the first few coefficients of these series are documented, which may be just too little information to make new discoveries!

Fortunately, David Madore has compiled the first 3200 coefficients of all the 172 monster-series which are available in a huge 8Mb file. And, if you really need to have more coefficients, you can always use and modify his moonshine python program.

In order to reduce bandwidth, here a list containing the first 100 coefficients of the j-function

jfunct=[196884, 21493760, 864299970, 20245856256, 333202640600, 4252023300096, 44656994071935, 401490886656000, 3176440229784420, 22567393309593600, 146211911499519294, 874313719685775360, 4872010111798142520, 25497827389410525184, 126142916465781843075, 593121772421445058560, 2662842413150775245160, 11459912788444786513920, 47438786801234168813250, 189449976248893390028800, 731811377318137519245696, 2740630712513624654929920, 9971041659937182693533820, 35307453186561427099877376, 121883284330422510433351500, 410789960190307909157638144, 1353563541518646878675077500, 4365689224858876634610401280, 13798375834642999925542288376, 42780782244213262567058227200, 130233693825770295128044873221, 389608006170995911894300098560, 1146329398900810637779611090240, 3319627709139267167263679606784, 9468166135702260431646263438600, 26614365825753796268872151875584, 73773169969725069760801792854360, 201768789947228738648580043776000, 544763881751616630123165410477688, 1452689254439362169794355429376000, 3827767751739363485065598331130120, 9970416600217443268739409968824320, 25683334706395406994774011866319670, 65452367731499268312170283695144960, 165078821568186174782496283155142200, 412189630805216773489544457234333696, 1019253515891576791938652011091437835, 2496774105950716692603315123199672320, 6060574415413720999542378222812650932, 14581598453215019997540391326153984000, 34782974253512490652111111930326416268, 82282309236048637946346570669250805760, 193075525467822574167329529658775261720, 449497224123337477155078537760754122752, 1038483010587949794068925153685932435825, 2381407585309922413499951812839633584128, 5421449889876564723000378957979772088000, 12255365475040820661535516233050165760000, 27513411092859486460692553086168714659374, 61354289505303613617069338272284858777600, 135925092428365503809701809166616289474168, 299210983800076883665074958854523331870720, 654553043491650303064385476041569995365270, 1423197635972716062310802114654243653681152, 3076095473477196763039615540128479523917200, 6610091773782871627445909215080641586954240, 14123583372861184908287080245891873213544410, 30010041497911129625894110839466234009518080, 63419842535335416307760114920603619461313664, 133312625293210235328551896736236879235481600, 278775024890624328476718493296348769305198947, 579989466306862709777897124287027028934656000, 1200647685924154079965706763561795395948173320, 2473342981183106509136265613239678864092991488, 5070711930898997080570078906280842196519646750, 10346906640850426356226316839259822574115946496, 21015945810275143250691058902482079910086459520, 42493520024686459968969327541404178941239869440, 85539981818424975894053769448098796349808643878, 171444843023856632323050507966626554304633241600, 342155525555189176731983869123583942011978493364, 679986843667214052171954098018582522609944965120, 1345823847068981684952596216882155845897900827370, 2652886321384703560252232129659440092172381585408, 5208621342520253933693153488396012720448385783600, 10186635497140956830216811207229975611480797601792, 19845946857715387241695878080425504863628738882125, 38518943830283497365369391336243138882250145792000, 74484518929289017811719989832768142076931259410120, 143507172467283453885515222342782991192353207603200, 275501042616789153749080617893836796951133929783496, 527036058053281764188089220041629201191975505756160, 1004730453440939042843898965365412981690307145827840, 1908864098321310302488604739098618405938938477379584, 3614432179304462681879676809120464684975130836205250, 6821306832689380776546629825653465084003418476904448, 12831568450930566237049157191017104861217433634289960, 24060143444937604997591586090380473418086401696839680, 44972195698011806740150818275177754986409472910549646, 83798831110707476912751950384757452703801918339072000]

This information will come in handy when we will organize our Monstrous Easter Egg Race, starting tomorrow at 6 am (GMT)…

Farey symbols of sporadic groups

John Conway once wrote :

There are almost as many different constructions of $M_{24} $ as there have been mathematicians interested in that most remarkable of all finite groups.

In the inguanodon post Ive added yet another construction of the Mathieu groups $M_{12} $ and $M_{24} $ starting from (half of) the Farey sequences and the associated cuboid tree diagram obtained by demanding that all edges are odd. In this way the Mathieu groups turned out to be part of a (conjecturally) infinite sequence of simple groups, starting as follows :

$L_2(7),M_{12},A_{16},M_{24},A_{28},A_{40},A_{48},A_{60},A_{68},A_{88},A_{96},A_{120},A_{132},A_{148},A_{164},A_{196},\ldots $

It is quite easy to show that none of the other sporadics will appear in this sequence via their known permutation representations. Still, several of the sporadic simple groups are generated by an element of order two and one of order three, so they are determined by a finite dimensional permutation representation of the modular group $PSL_2(\mathbb{Z}) $ and hence are hiding in a special polygonal region of the Dedekind’s tessellation

Let us try to figure out where the sporadic with the next simplest permutation representation is hiding : the second Janko group $J_2 $, via its 100-dimensional permutation representation. The Atlas tells us that the order two and three generators act as

e:= (1,84)(2,20)(3,48)(4,56)(5,82)(6,67)(7,55)(8,41)(9,35)(10,40)(11,78)(12, 100)(13,49)(14,37)(15,94)(16,76)(17,19)(18,44)(21,34)(22,85)(23,92)(24, 57)(25,75)(26,28)(27,64)(29,90)(30,97)(31,38)(32,68)(33,69)(36,53)(39,61) (42,73)(43,91)(45,86)(46,81)(47,89)(50,93)(51,96)(52,72)(54,74)(58,99) (59,95)(60,63)(62,83)(65,70)(66,88)(71,87)(77,98)(79,80);

v:= (1,80,22)(2,9,11)(3,53,87)(4,23,78)(5,51,18)(6,37,24)(8,27,60)(10,62,47) (12,65,31)(13,64,19)(14,61,52)(15,98,25)(16,73,32)(17,39,33)(20,97,58) (21,96,67)(26,93,99)(28,57,35)(29,71,55)(30,69,45)(34,86,82)(38,59,94) (40,43,91)(42,68,44)(46,85,89)(48,76,90)(49,92,77)(50,66,88)(54,95,56) (63,74,72)(70,81,75)(79,100,83);

But as the kfarey.sage package written by Chris Kurth calculates the Farey symbol using the L-R generators, we use GAP to find those

L = e*v^-1  and  R=e*v^-2 so

L=(1,84,22,46,70,12,79)(2,58,93,88,50,26,35)(3,90,55,7,71,53,36)(4,95,38,65,75,98,92)(5,86,69,39,14,6,96)(8,41,60,72,61,17, 64)(9,57,37,52,74,56,78)(10,91,40,47,85,80,83)(11,23,49,19,33,30,20)(13,77,15,59,54,63,27)(16,48,87,29,76,32,42)(18,68, 73,44,51,21,82)(24,28,99,97,45,34,67)(25,81,89,62,100,31,94)

R=(1,84,80,100,65,81,85)(2,97,69,17,13,92,78)(3,76,73,68,16,90,71)(4,54,72,14,24,35,11)(5,34,96,18,42,32,44)(6,21,86,30,58, 26,57)(7,29,48,53,36,87,55)(8,41,27,19,39,52,63)(9,28,93,66,50,99,20)(10,43,40,62,79,22,89)(12,83,47,46,75,15,38)(23,77, 25,70,31,59,56)(33,45,82,51,67,37,61)(49,64,60,74,95,94,98)

Defining these permutations in sage and using kfarey, this gives us the Farey-symbol of the associated permutation representation

L=SymmetricGroup(Integer(100))("(1,84,22,46,70,12,79)(2,58,93,88,50,26,35)(3,90,55,7,71,53,36)(4,95,38,65,75,98,92)(5,86,69,39,14,6,96)(8,41,60,72,61,17, 64)(9,57,37,52,74,56,78)(10,91,40,47,85,80,83)(11,23,49,19,33,30,20)(13,77,15,59,54,63,27)(16,48,87,29,76,32,42)(18,68, 73,44,51,21,82)(24,28,99,97,45,34,67)(25,81,89,62,100,31,94)")

R=SymmetricGroup(Integer(100))("(1,84,80,100,65,81,85)(2,97,69,17,13,92,78)(3,76,73,68,16,90,71)(4,54,72,14,24,35,11)(5,34,96,18,42,32,44)(6,21,86,30,58, 26,57)(7,29,48,53,36,87,55)(8,41,27,19,39,52,63)(9,28,93,66,50,99,20)(10,43,40,62,79,22,89)(12,83,47,46,75,15,38)(23,77, 25,70,31,59,56)(33,45,82,51,67,37,61)(49,64,60,74,95,94,98)")

sage: FareySymbol("Perm",[L,R])

[[0, 1, 4, 3, 2, 5, 18, 13, 21, 71, 121, 413, 292, 463, 171, 50, 29, 8, 27, 46, 65, 19, 30, 11, 3, 10, 37, 64, 27, 17, 7, 4, 5], [1, 1, 3, 2, 1, 2, 7, 5, 8, 27, 46, 157, 111, 176, 65, 19, 11, 3, 10, 17, 24, 7, 11, 4, 1, 3, 11, 19, 8, 5, 2, 1, 1], [-3, 1, 4, 4, 2, 3, 6, -3, 7, 13, 14, 15, -3, -3, 15, 14, 11, 8, 8, 10, 12, 12, 10, 9, 5, 5, 9, 11, 13, 7, 6, 3, 2, 1]]

Here, the first string gives the numerators of the cusps, the second the denominators and the third gives the pairing information (where [tex[-2 $ denotes an even edge and $-3 $ an odd edge. Fortunately, kfarey also allows us to draw the special polygonal region determined by a Farey-symbol. So, here it is (without the pairing data) :

the hiding place of $J_2 $…

It would be nice to have (a) other Farey-symbols associated to the second Janko group, hopefully showing a pattern that one can extend into an infinite family as in the inguanodon series and (b) to determine Farey-symbols of more sporadic groups.

KMS, Gibbs & zeta function

Time to wrap up this series on the Bost-Connes algebra. Here’s what we have learned so far : the convolution product on double cosets

$\begin{bmatrix} 1 & \mathbb{Z} \\ 0 & 1 \end{bmatrix} \backslash \begin{bmatrix} 1 & \mathbb{Q} \\ 0 & \mathbb{Q}_{> 0} \end{bmatrix} / \begin{bmatrix} 1 & \mathbb{Z} \\ 0 & 1 \end{bmatrix} $

is a noncommutative algebra, the Bost-Connes Hecke algebra $\mathcal{H} $, which is a bi-chrystalline graded algebra (somewhat weaker than ‘strongly graded’) with part of degree one the group-algebra $\mathbb{Q}[\mathbb{Q}/\mathbb{Z}] $. Further, $\mathcal{H} $ has a natural one-parameter family of algebra automorphisms $\sigma_t $ defined by $\sigma_t(X_n) = n^{it}X_n $ and $\sigma_t(Y_{\lambda})=Y_{\lambda} $.

For any algebra $A $ together with a one-parameter family of automorphisms $\sigma_t $ one is interested in KMS-states or Kubo-Martin-Schwinger states with parameter $\beta $, $KMS_{\beta} $ (this parameter is often called the ‘invers temperature’ of the system) as these are suitable equilibria states. Recall that a state is a special linear functional $\phi $ on $A $ (in particular it must have norm one) and it belongs to $KMS_{\beta} $ if the following commutation relation holds for all elements $a,b \in A $

$\phi(a \sigma_{i\beta}(b)) = \phi(b a) $

Let us work out the special case when $A $ is the matrix-algebra $M_n(\mathbb{C}) $. To begin, all algebra-automorphisms are inner in this case, so any one-parameter family of automorphisms is of the form

$\sigma_t(a) = e^{itH} a e^{-itH} $

where $e^{itH} $ is the matrix-exponential of the nxn matrix $H $. For any parameter $\beta $ we claim that the linear functional

$\phi(a) = \frac{1}{tr(e^{-\beta H})} tr(a e^{-\beta H}) $

is a KMS-state.Indeed, we have for all matrices $a,b \in M_n(\mathbb{C}) $ that

$\phi(a \sigma_{i \beta}(b)) = \frac{1}{tr(e^{-\beta H})} tr(a e^{- \beta H} b e^{\beta H} e^{- \beta H}) $

$= \frac{1}{tr(e^{-\beta H})} tr(a e^{-\beta H} b) = \frac{1}{tr(e^{-\beta H})} tr(ba e^{-\beta H}) = \phi(ba) $

(the next to last equality follows from cyclic-invariance of the trace map).
These states are usually called Gibbs states and the normalization factor $\frac{1}{tr(e^{-\beta H})} $ (needed because a state must have norm one) is called the partition function of the system. Gibbs states have arisen from the study of ideal gases and the place to read up on all of this are the first two chapters of the second volume of “Operator algebras and quantum statistical mechanics” by Ola Bratelli and Derek Robinson.

This gives us a method to construct KMS-states for an arbitrary algebra $A $ with one-parameter automorphisms $\sigma_t $ : take a simple n-dimensional representation $\pi~:~A \mapsto M_n(\mathbb{C}) $, find the matrix $H $ determining the image of the automorphisms $\pi(\sigma_t) $ and take the Gibbs states as defined before.

Let us return now to the Bost-Connes algebra $\mathcal{H} $. We don’t know any finite dimensional simple representations of $\mathcal{H} $ but, sure enough, have plenty of graded simple representations. By the usual strongly-graded-yoga they should correspond to simple finite dimensional representations of the part of degree one $\mathbb{Q}[\mathbb{Q}/\mathbb{Z}] $ (all of them being one-dimensional and corresponding to characters of $\mathbb{Q}/\mathbb{Z} $).

Hence, for any $u \in \mathcal{G} = \prod_p \hat{\mathbb{Z}}_p^{\ast} $ (details) we have a graded simple $\mathcal{H} $-representation $S_u = \oplus_{n \in \mathbb{N}_+} \mathbb{C} e_n $ with action defined by

$\begin{cases} \pi_u(X_n)(e_m) = e_{nm} \\ \pi_u(Y_{\lambda})(e_m) = e^{2\pi i n u . \lambda} e_m \end{cases} $

Here, $u.\lambda $ is computed using the ‘chinese-remainder-identification’ $\mathcal{A}/\mathcal{R} = \mathbb{Q}/\mathbb{Z} $ (details).

Even when the representations $S_u $ are not finite dimensional, we can mimic the above strategy : we should find a linear operator $H $ determining the images of the automorphisms $\pi_u(\sigma_t) $. We claim that the operator is defined by $H(e_n) = log(n) e_n $ for all $n \in \mathbb{N}_+ $. That is, we claim that for elements $a \in \mathcal{H} $ we have

$\pi_u(\sigma_t(a)) = e^{itH} \pi_u(a) e^{-itH} $

So let us compute the action of both sides on $e_m $ when $a=X_n $. The left hand side gives $\pi_u(n^{it}X_n)(e_m) = n^{it} e_{mn} $ whereas the right-hand side becomes

$e^{itH}\pi_u(X_n) e^{-itH}(e_m) = e^{itH} \pi_u(X_n) m^{-it} e_m = $

$e^{itH} m^{-it} e_{mn} = (mn)^{it} m^{-it} e_{mn} = n^{it} e_{mn} $

proving the claim. For any parameter $\beta $ this then gives us a KMS-state for the Bost-Connes algebra by

$\phi_u(a) = \frac{1}{Tr(e^{-\beta H})} Tr(\pi_u(a) e^{-\beta H}) $

Finally, let us calculate the normalization factor (or partition function) $\frac{1}{Tr(e^{-\beta H})} $. Because $e^{-\beta H}(e_n) = n^{-\beta} e_n $ we have for that the trace

$Tr(e^{-\beta H}) = \sum_{n \in \mathbb{N}_+} \frac{1}{n^{\beta}} = \zeta(\beta) $

is equal to the Riemann zeta-value $\zeta(\beta) $ (at least when $\beta > 1 $).

Summarizing, we started with the definition of the Bost-Connes algebra $\mathcal{H} $, found a canonical one-parameter subgroup of algebra automorphisms $\sigma_t $ and computed that the natural equilibria states with respect to this ‘time evolution’ have as their partition function the Riemann zeta-function. Voila!

abc on adelic Bost-Connes

The adelic interpretation of the Bost-Connes Hecke algebra $\mathcal{H} $ is based on three facts we’ve learned so far :

  1. The diagonal embedding of the rational numbers $\delta~:~\mathbb{Q} \rightarrow \prod_p \mathbb{Q}_p $ has its image in the adele ring $\mathcal{A} $. ( details )

  2. There is an exact sequence of semigroups $1 \rightarrow \mathcal{G} \rightarrow \mathcal{I} \cap \mathcal{R} \rightarrow \mathbb{N}^+_{\times} \rightarrow 1 $ where $\mathcal{I} $ is the idele group, that is the units of $\mathcal{A} $, where $\mathcal{R} = \prod_p \mathbb{Z}_p $ and where $\mathcal{G} $ is the group (!) $\prod_p \mathbb{Z}_p^* $. ( details )

  3. There is an isomorphism of additive groups $\mathbb{Q}/\mathbb{Z} \simeq \mathcal{A}/\mathcal{R} $. ( details )

Because $\mathcal{R} $ is a ring we have that $a\mathcal{R} \subset \mathcal{R} $ for any $a=(a_p)_p \in \mathcal{I} \cap \mathcal{R} $. Therefore, we have an induced ‘multiplication by $a $’ morphism on the additive group $\mathcal{A}/\mathcal{R} \rightarrow^{a.} \mathcal{A}/\mathcal{R} $ which is an epimorphism for all $a \in \mathcal{I} \cap \mathcal{R} $.

In fact, it is easy to see that the equation $a.x = y $ for $y \in \mathcal{A}/\mathcal{R} $ has precisely $n_a = \prod_p p^{d(a)} $ solutions. In particular, for any $a \in \mathcal{G} = \prod_p \mathbb{Z}_p^* $, multiplication by $a $ is an isomorphism on $\mathcal{A}/\mathcal{R} = \mathbb{Q}/\mathbb{Z} $.

But then, we can form the crystalline semigroup graded skew-group algebra $\mathbb{Q}(\mathbb{Q}/\mathbb{Z}) \bowtie (\mathcal{I} \cap \mathcal{R}) $. It is the graded vectorspace $\oplus_{a \in \mathcal{I} \cap \mathcal{R}} X_a \mathbb{Q}[\mathbb{Q}/\mathbb{Z}] $ with commutation relation
$Y_{\lambda}X_a = X_a Y_{a \lambda} $ for the base-vectors $Y_{\lambda} $ with $\lambda \in \mathbb{Q}/\mathbb{Z} $. Recall from last time we need to use approximation (or the Chinese remainder theorem) to determine the class of $a \lambda $ in $\mathbb{Q}/\mathbb{Z} $.

We can also extend it to a bi-crystalline graded algebra because multiplication by $a \in \mathcal{I} \cap \mathcal{R} $ has a left-inverse which determines the commutation relations $Y_{\lambda} X_a^* = X_a^* (\frac{1}{n_a})(\sum_{a.\mu = \lambda} Y_{\mu}) $. Let us call this bi-crystalline graded algebra $\mathcal{H}_{big} $, then we have the following facts

  1. For every $a \in \mathcal{G} $, the element $X_a $ is a unit in $\mathcal{H}_{big} $ and $X_a^{-1}=X_a^* $. Conjugation by $X_a $ induces on the subalgebra $\mathbb{Q}[\mathbb{Q}/\mathbb{Z}] $ the map $Y_{\lambda} \rightarrow Y_{a \lambda} $.

  2. Using the diagonal embedding $\delta $ restricted to $\mathbb{N}^+_{\times} $ we get an embedding of algebras $\mathcal{H} \subset \mathcal{H}_{big} $ and conjugation by $X_a $ for any $a \in \mathcal{G} $ sends $\mathcal{H} $ to itself. However, as the $X_a \notin \mathcal{H} $, the induced automorphisms are now outer!

Summarizing : the Bost-Connes Hecke algebra $\mathcal{H} $ encodes a lot of number-theoretic information :

  • the additive structure is encoded in the sub-algebra which is the group-algebra $\mathbb{Q}[\mathbb{Q}/\mathbb{Z}] $
  • the multiplicative structure in encoded in the epimorphisms given by multiplication with a positive natural number (the commutation relation with the $X_m $
  • the automorphism group of $\mathbb{Q}/\mathbb{Z} $ extends to outer automorphisms of $\mathcal{H} $

That is, the Bost-Connes algebra can be seen as a giant mashup of number-theory of $\mathbb{Q} $. So, if one can prove something specific about this algebra, it is bound to have interesting number-theoretic consequences.

But how will we study $\mathcal{H} $? Well, the bi-crystalline structure of it tells us that $\mathcal{H} $ is a ‘good’-graded algebra with part of degree one the group-algebra $\mathbb{Q}[\mathbb{Q}/\mathbb{Z}] $. This group-algebra is a formally smooth algebra and we study such algebras by studying their finite dimensional representations.

Hence, we should study ‘good’-graded formally smooth algebras (such as $\mathcal{H} $) by looking at their graded representations. This will then lead us to Connes’ “fabulous states”…