The *height* of a variety should reflect how close the variety is to being ordinary and other arithmetic properties.

Let $X$ be a smooth proper $n$ dimensional variety over an algebraically closed field $k$ of characteristic $p$. Then one can define the Artin-Mazur formal group $\Phi$. Since it is a one-dimensional formal group, it is completely determined up to isomorphism by its height?. This is the **height of the variety** . The height could be infinite if $\Phi\simeq \widehat{\mathbb{G}_a}$, otherwise $\Phi$ is a p-divisible group.

For an elliptic curve, the height is either $1$ in which case it is ordinary, or $2$ in which case it is supersingular.

A Calabi-Yau variety of any dimension is ordinary if and only if it has height $1$. For K3 surfaces the height is less than or equal to $10$ or infinite, but for all higher dimensional Calabi-Yau varieties the height has no known bound. Infinite height Calabi-Yau varieties are known as supersingular.

The height of an abelian variety depends on its $p$-rank, but must be $1$, $2$, or infinite.

Let $\mathcal{W}$ be the sheaf of Witt vectors on a variety $X$ satisfying the conditions above. If $X$ has finite height, then the Dieudonne module of the Artin-Mazur formal group is isomorphic to $H^n(X, \mathcal{W})$. By standard Dieudonne theory, $D(\Phi)$ is a free of rank $ht(X)$ module over $W$, so $ht(X)=\dim_K H^n(X, \mathcal{W})\otimes K$ where $K$ is the fraction field of $W$.

One consequence of the above is that $X$ is supersingular (of infinite height) if $H^n(X, \mathcal{W})$ is not a finite-type $W$-module. It is possible also that it is a torsion module in which case $H^n(X, \mathcal{W})\otimes K=0$ and again we can conclude that $X$ is of infinite height (since if $X$ were of finite height it would be a free module).

Suppose that $X$ is a variety with the above hypotheses, then the torsion free part of the crystalline cohomology $H^n_{crys}(X/W)$ is a Cartier module under the action of Frobenius. We can consider the part with slopes less than $1$, i.e. $H^n_{crys}(X/W)\otimes_W K_{[0,1)}$. The dimension of this is the height of $X$.

- Michael Artin, Barry Mazur,
*Formal Groups Arising from Algebraic Varieties*, numdam, MR56:15663

Last revised on July 31, 2011 at 00:13:42. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.