group cohomology, nonabelian group cohomology, Lie group cohomology
cohomology with constant coefficients / with a local system of coefficients
differential cohomology
An elliptic cohomology theory is a type of generalized (Eilenberg-Steenrod) cohomology theory associated with the datum of an elliptic curve.
Periodic multiplicative generalized (Eilenberg-Steenrod) cohomology theories $A$ are characterized by the formal group whose ring of functions $A(\mathbb{C}P^\infty)$ is the cohomology ring of $A$ evaluated on the complex projective space $\mathbb{C}P^\infty$ and whose group product is induced from the canonical morphism $\mathbb{C}P^\infty \times \mathbb{C}P^\infty \to \mathbb{C}P^\infty$ that describes the tensor product of complex line bundles under the identification $\mathbb{C}P^\infty \simeq \mathcal{B} U(1)$.
There are precisely three types of such formal group laws:
the simple additive group structure – this corresponds to standard integral cohomology given by the Eilenberg-MacLane spectrum;
the multiplicative group that corresponds to complex K-theory
the formal group law on elliptic curve.
An elliptic cohomology theory is a periodic multiplicative generalized (Eilenberg-Steenrod) cohomology theory whose corresponding formal group is an elliptic curve, hence which is represented by an elliptic spectrum.
A theorem proven by Goerss-Hopkins-Miller and later in a different way by Jacob Lurie shows that the assignment of generalized (Eilenberg-Steenrod) cohomology theories to elliptic curves lifts to an assignment of representing spectra in a structure preserving way.
The homotopy limit of this assignment functor, i.e. the “gluing” of all spectra representing all elliptic cohomology theories is the spectrum that represents the cohomology theory called tmf.
A properly developed theory of elliptic cohomology is likely to shed some light on what string theory really means. (Witten 87, very last sentence)
The following is rough material originating from notes taken live (and long ago), to be polished. See also at elliptic genus and Witten genus
Some topological invariants of manifolds that are of interest:
we restricted attention to closed connected smooth manifolds $X$
the Euler characteristic $e(X) \in \mathbb{Z}$
takes all values in $\mathbb{Z}$
is the obstruction to the existence of a nowhere vanishing vector field on $X$:
signature $sgn(X)$
this is the obstruction to $X$ being cobordant to a fiber bundle over the circle:
$X$ is bordant to a fiber bundle over $S^1$ precisely if $sgn(X) = 0$
when $X$ has a spin structure
the index of the Dirac operator $D$:
theorem (Gromov-Lawson / Stolz) let $dim X \geq 5$ and
then $X$ admits a Riemannian metric of positive scalar curvature precisely when $\alpha(X) = 0$
These invariants share the following properties:
they are additive under disjoint union of manifolds
they are multiplicative under cartesian product of manifolds
$e(X) mod 2, sgn(X), ind(D_X)$ all vanish when $X$ is a boundary, $\exists W : X = \partial W$, which means that $X$ is cobordant to the empty manifold $\emptyset$.
in other words, these invariants are genera, namely ring homomorphisms
form the cobordism ring $\Omega$ to some commutative ring $R$
good genera are those which reflect geometric properties of $X$.
now for $X$ a topological space consider the cobordism ring over $X$:
where addition and multiplication are again given by disjoint union and cartesian product.
this assignment of rings to topological spaces is a generalized homology theory: cobordism homology theory
question given a genus $\Omega \to R$, can we find a homology theory $R(-)$ with $R = R(pt)$ its homology ring over the point and such that it all fits into a natural diagram
This would be a parameterized extension $\rho = R(-)$ of $R$ .
Now let $X$ be a closed manifold.
consider $u_X : X \to K(\pi_1(X),1)$ (on the right an Eilenberg-MacLane space) which is the classifying map for the universal cover
then consider
theorem (Julia Weber)
take the Euler characteristic mod 2, $Eu(X)$
for $X$ smooth we have then:
theorem (Minalta)
something analogous for signature genus
$sign_X[X,u] \in sig_\bullet(K) \otimes \mathbb{Q}$
this is the Novikov higher signature
now the same for the $\alpha$-genus
now towards elliptic genera: recall the notion of string structure of a manifold $X$: a lift of the structure map $X \to \mathcal{B}O(n)$ through the 4th connected universal cover $\mathcal{B}String(n) := \mathcal{B}O(n)\langle 4\rangle \to \mathcal{B} O$:
so consider String manifolds and the bordism ring $\Omega_\bullet^{String}$ of String manifold, let $M_\bullet$ be the ring of integral modular forms, then there is a genus – the Witten genus $W$–
where $\Omega_\bullet^{String}(pt) \to tmf_\bullet(pt)$ is surjective
conjecture (Stolz conjecture)
If a String manifold $Y$ has a positive Ricci curvature metric, then the Witten genus vanishes.
The attempted “Proof” of this is the motivation for the Stolz-Teichner-program for geometric models for elliptic cohomology:
“Proof” If $Y$ is String, then the loop space $L Y$ is has spin structure, so if $Y$ has positive Ricci curvature the $L Y$ has positive scalar curvature which implies by the above that $ind^{S^1} D_{L Y} = 0$ which by the index formula is the Witten genus.
The analog of the orbit method with equivariant K-theory replaced by equivariant elliptic cohomology yields (aspects of) the representation theory of loop groups. (Ganter 12)
chromatic level | complex oriented cohomology theory | E-∞ ring/A-∞ ring | real oriented cohomology theory |
---|---|---|---|
0 | ordinary cohomology | Eilenberg-MacLane spectrum $H \mathbb{Z}$ | HZR-theory |
0th Morava K-theory | $K(0)$ | ||
1 | complex K-theory | complex K-theory spectrum $KU$ | KR-theory |
first Morava K-theory | $K(1)$ | ||
first Morava E-theory | $E(1)$ | ||
2 | elliptic cohomology | $Ell_E$ | |
second Morava K-theory | $K(2)$ | ||
second Morava E-theory | $E(2)$ | ||
algebraic K-theory of KU | $K(KU)$ | ||
$n$ | $n$th Morava K-theory | $K(n)$ | |
$n$th Morava E-theory | $E(n)$ | BPR-theory | |
$n+1$ | algebraic K-theory applied to chrom. level $n$ | $K(E_n)$ (red-shift conjecture) | |
$\infty$ | complex cobordism cohomology | MU | MR-theory |
The concept of elliptic cohomology originates around
motivated by Serge Ochanine’s concept of elliptic genus and by Edward Witten’s QFT/string theoretic explanation of the universal elliptic genus, the Witten genus.
The concept of an elliptic spectrum representing an elliptic cohomology theory is due to
Modern accounts of (equivariant) elliptic cohomology in terms of stable homotopy theory include
Further discussion of equivariant elliptic cohomology and the relation to loop group representation theory is in
Discussion of generalization to higher chromatic homotopy theory is discussed in
Douglas Ravenel, Toward higher chromatic analogs of elliptic cohomology pdf
Douglas Ravenel, Toward higher chromatic analogs of elliptic cohomology II, Homology, Homotopy and Applications, vol. 10(1), 2008, pp.1{36 (pdf, pdf slides)
The elliptic genus and Witten genus were understood as the large volume limit of the partition function of the superstring in
The following reference discuss aspects of the construction of elliptic cohomology / tmf in terms of quantum field theory. See also at Witten genus.
P Hu, Igor Kriz, Conformal field theory and elliptic cohomology, Advances in Mathematics, Volume 189, Issue 2, 20 December 2004, Pages 325–412 (pdf)
Igor Kriz, Hisham Sati, M-theory, type IIA superstrings, and elliptic cohomology, Adv. Theor. Math. Phys. 8 (2004), no. 2, 345–394 (Euclid, arXiv:hep-th/0404013)
A proposal for a construction via FQFT is discussed at
The case of elliptic cohomology associated with the Tate curve is discussed in