# nLab integration of differential forms

Contents

### Context

#### Differential geometry

synthetic differential geometry

Introductions

from point-set topology to differentiable manifolds

Differentials

V-manifolds

smooth space

Tangency

The magic algebraic facts

Theorems

Axiomatics

cohesion

• (shape modality $\dashv$ flat modality $\dashv$ sharp modality)

$(\esh \dashv \flat \dashv \sharp )$

• dR-shape modality$\dashv$ dR-flat modality

$\esh_{dR} \dashv \flat_{dR}$

infinitesimal cohesion

tangent cohesion

differential cohesion

singular cohesion

$\array{ && id &\dashv& id \\ && \vee && \vee \\ &\stackrel{fermionic}{}& \rightrightarrows &\dashv& \rightsquigarrow & \stackrel{bosonic}{} \\ && \bot && \bot \\ &\stackrel{bosonic}{} & \rightsquigarrow &\dashv& \mathrm{R}\!\!\mathrm{h} & \stackrel{rheonomic}{} \\ && \vee && \vee \\ &\stackrel{reduced}{} & \Re &\dashv& \Im & \stackrel{infinitesimal}{} \\ && \bot && \bot \\ &\stackrel{infinitesimal}{}& \Im &\dashv& \& & \stackrel{\text{étale}}{} \\ && \vee && \vee \\ &\stackrel{cohesive}{}& \esh &\dashv& \flat & \stackrel{discrete}{} \\ && \bot && \bot \\ &\stackrel{discrete}{}& \flat &\dashv& \sharp & \stackrel{continuous}{} \\ && \vee && \vee \\ && \emptyset &\dashv& \ast }$

Models

Lie theory, ∞-Lie theory

differential equations, variational calculus

Chern-Weil theory, ∞-Chern-Weil theory

Cartan geometry (super, higher)

# Contents

## Idea

Here we discuss the integration of a differential form (possibly twisted in some way) on a topological manifold (possibly with additional structure) over an appropriately structured submanifold (or formal linear combination thereof).

## Description

See at differential form for basic definitions.

### Integration of top-dimension pseudoforms (pseudoforms to measures)

Let $X$ be an $n$-dimensional topological manifold, and let $\omega$ be a continuous $n$-pseudoform on $X$. Suppose that $X$ is paracompact and Hausdorff, so that we may find a locally finite cover of $X$ with a subordinate partition of unity and a continuous coordinate chart on each patch. (When $X$ is differentiable, or even smooth, then these may also be chosen to be differentiable or smooth, which may be convenient but is not necessary.) Then $\omega$ defines a measure on $X$ as follows:

• On each coordinate patch $U$, fix the orientation given by the coordinates to turn $\omega$ into an untwisted $n$-form $\hat{\omega}$; then write $\hat{\omega}$ in coordinates as

$\hat{\omega} = \omega_U \wedge \mathrm{d}x^1 \wedge \cdots \wedge \mathrm{d}x^n .$

In this situation, it is convenient also to write

$\omega = \omega_U \mathrm{d}x^1 \cdots \mathrm{d}x^n ;$

in other words, we interpret $\mathrm{d}x^1 \cdots \mathrm{d}x^n$ as the absolute value of $\mathrm{d}x^1 \wedge \cdots \wedge \mathrm{d}x^n$.

• The coordinates on $U$ define a diffeomorphism between $U$ and an open subset of $\mathbf{R}^n$ that we'll also call $U$; so use the latter formula to interpret

(1)$\int_U \omega = \int_U \omega_U(x^1,\ldots,x^n)\, \mathrm{d}x^1 \cdots \mathrm{d}x^n ,$

where the right-hand side is now interpreted in the usual way as an integral with respect to Lebesgue measure.

• Using the partition of unity, write

$\omega = \sum_U w_U \omega_U ,$

where $w_U$ is a weight function defined on $U$ and $\omega_U$ is the restriction of $\omega$ to $U$. Then we have

$\textstyle{\int}_X \omega = \sum_U \textstyle{\int}_U w_U(x^1,\ldots,x^n) \omega_U(x^1,\ldots,x^n)\, \mathrm{d}x^1 \cdots \mathrm{d}x^n ,$

or more generally,

$\textstyle{\int}_E \omega = \sum_U \int_U \chi_E(x^1,\ldots,x^n) w_U(x^1,\ldots,x^n) \omega_U(x^1,\ldots,x^n)\, \mathrm{d}x^1 \cdots \mathrm{d}x^n$

for $E$ a measurable subset of $X$ and $\chi_E$ the characteristic function of $E$. This makes $\omega$ into a measure $\omega \colon E \mapsto \int_E \omega$ on $X$.

A priori, this definition depends not only on the particular coordinate patches chosen but also on the partition of unity chosen to go with them. Furthermore, the definition could be done just as easily (perhaps even more easily) for something other than an $n$-pseudoform. But the (perhaps surprising) fact that justifies it all is this:

###### Theorem

When $\omega$ is an $n$-pseudoform, the definition of $\int_E \omega$ is independent of the coordinates and partition chosen. Furthermore, the map from $n$-pseudoforms to measures is linear.

Note that, if $\omega$ were an $n$-form instead of a pseudoform, then the definition would depend on the orientation of the coordinates chosen. We could fix that by using the absolute value ${|\omega_U|}$ in place of $\omega_U$ in (1) and the following equations, but then the map from forms to measures would not be linear.

### Measures to pseudoforms

It may also be enlightening to consider how to go back from a measure to an $n$-pseudoform. If $\omega$ is an absolutely continuous Radon measure on $X$, then it defines an $n$-pseudoform (which we may also call $\omega$) as follows:

• Given a point $a$, choose one of the two local orientations at $a$.
• Given $n$ linearly independent vectors $(v_1,\ldots,v_n)$ at $a$, develop them into a coordinate system on a neighbourhood $U$ of $a$.
• For sufficiently large natural number $k$, the coordinate cube $C_k$ of points with coordinates in $[0,1/k]^n$ exists (lies within $U$).
• Let $L$ be $\lim_{k \to \infty} k^n \omega(C_k)$.
• If the coordinate system on $U$ is positively oriented at $a$, then let $\omega(v_1,\ldots,v_n)$ be $L$; if the coordinate system on $U$ is negatively oriented at $a$, then let $\omega(v_1,\ldots,v_n)$ be $-L$.
• Extend the definition to $n$ arbitrary vectors by continuity (which necessarily maps a linearly dependent tuple of vectors to zero).

Again, this definition is independent of the coordinate system chosen (as long as it extends the given vectors); or if that's not true, then we messed up and need to add further restrictions to the absolutely continuous Radon measure $\omega$. The definition is not independent of the orientation chosen, of course; thus we get a pseudoform rather than an untwisted form. You might try to ignore the orientation and take $\omega(v_1,\ldots,v_n)$ to be $L$ always, but that does not define an exterior form, as is most easily seen if two vectors are switched (which does not change $L$). Instead, this would define an absolute differential form (which is equivalent to a pseudoform when, as here, the degree equals the dimension).

### Integration of more general forms

One can integrate forms other than $n$-pseudoforms, of course, but only over certain structures within the manifold $X$. Specifically, if $R$ is a $p$-dimensional submanifold of $X$ (that is a $p$-dimensional manifold $U$ equipped with a map $R\colon U \to X$), then we would like to integrate $p$-forms or $p$-pseudoforms (defined on $X$) over $R$. Here is how we do this:

• We may integrate a $p$-form $\eta$ over $R$ if $R$ is oriented, that is if $U$ is oriented. We pull back $\eta$ from $X$ to $U$, then use the orientation on $U$ to turn $\eta$ into a $p$-pseudoform, which we can then integrate on the $p$-dimensional manifold $U$.

• We may integrate a $p$-pseudoform $\eta$ over $R$ if $R$ is pseudooriented, that is if it is equipped with a map that, for each point $a$ on $U$, takes a local orientation of $X$ at $R(a)$ to a local orientation of $U$ at $a$, continuously in $a$ and taking opposite orientations to opposite orientations. Then locally, we turn $\eta$ into a $p$-form on $X$ using a local orientation on $X$, pull that back to $U$, and use the corresponding local orientation on $U$ to turn that back into a $p$-pseudoform, which we can then integrate on $U$.

Thus, while integration of $n$-pseudoforms is the most basic, integration of general $p$-forms is actually a bit simpler than integration of general $p$-pseudoforms. Integration of other twisted or vector-valued forms can also be done, again given appropriate structure on $R$.

Note that, if $X$ is thought of a submanifold of itself, then it has a natural pseudoorientation that takes each local orientation to itself, and so we recover the original definition of integration of $n$-pseudoforms on $X$. Also, if $X$ is an oriented manifold, then it may be viewed as an oriented submanifold of itself, giving a definition of integration of $n$-forms on $X$.

To integrate on unoriented submanifolds of arbitrary dimension, use absolute differential forms. To integrate nonlinear differential forms, use cogerm differential forms.

### Integration on other domains

One often sees the definition of integration given for parametrised submanifolds, that is submanifolds where $U$ is an open subset of $\mathbf{R}^p$. This amounts to a combination of the concepts above, with the two uses of $U$ (as a coordinate patch in $X$ or as the source of a submanifold of $X$) identified. The theorem that the integral of an $n$-pseudoform on $X$ is independent of the coordinates chosen now becomes a theorem that the integral of a parametrised submanifold is independent of the parametrisation (up to some details about orientation), which in the end returns the result that one can integrate forms over arbitrary submanifolds (given an orientation or pseudoorientation as above).

We can also integrate on a formal linear combination of submanifolds, which is handy since these are the chains of de Rham homology?. This is straightforward:

$\int_{\sum_i \alpha_i U_i} \omega \coloneqq \sum_i \alpha_i \int_{U_i} \omega .$

## In cohesive homotopy-type theory

We discuss here a general abstract formulation of differential forms, their integration and the Stokes theorem in cohesive (∞,1)-toposes, hence the axiomatics of cohesive homotopy type theory (following Bunke-Nikolaus-Völkl 13, theorem 3.2).

### General definition

Let $\mathbf{H}$ be a cohesive (∞,1)-topos. We write $(\Pi \dashv \flat \dashv \sharp)$ for the defining triple of adjoint modalities (shape modality $\dashv$ flat modality $\dashv$ sharp modality).

As usual (see at structures in a cohesive ∞-topos – de Rham cohomology) we deduce from this the secondary cohesive modalities $\Pi_{dR}$ and $\flat_{dR}$: for a pointed object with loop space object $G$ (for instance the delooping $\mathbf{B}G$) $\flat_{dR}G$ is defined by the long homotopy fiber sequence

$G \stackrel{\theta_G}{\longrightarrow} \flat_{dR} G \stackrel{}{\longrightarrow} \flat \mathbf{B}G \longrightarrow \mathbf{B}G$

where the morphism on the right is the $\flat$-counit. Here $\theta_G$ is the Maurer-Cartan form on $G$.

(Beware that elsewhere we write $\flat_{dR}\mathbf{B}G$ for what here we write $\flat_{dR}G$.)

Dually $\Pi_{dR}$ is defined.

Write now

$Stab(\mathbf{H}) = T_\ast \mathbf{H} \hookrightarrow T \mathbf{H} \to \mathbf{H}$

for tangent cohesive (∞,1)-topos of $\mathbf{H}$, extending it by its stabilization $Stab(\mathbf{H})$ given by spectrum objects in $\mathbf{H}$.

We assume that there is an interval object

$\ast \cup \ast \stackrel{(i_0, i_1)}{\longrightarrow} \Delta^1$

“exhibiting the cohesion” (see at continuum) in that there is a (chosen) equivalence between the shape modality $\Pi$ and the localization $L_{\Delta^1}$ at the the projection maps out of Cartesian products with this line $\Delta^1\times (-) \to (-)$

$\Pi \simeq L_{\Delta^1} \,.$

This is the case for instance for the “standard continuum”, the real line in $\mathbf{H} =$ Smooth∞Grpd.

It follows in particular that there is a chosen equivalence of (∞,1)-categories

$\flat(\mathbf{H})\simeq L_{\Delta^1}\mathbf{H}$

between the flat modal homotopy-types and the $\Delta^1$-homotopy invariant homotopy-types.

Given a stable homotopy type $\hat E \in Stab(\mathbf{H})\hookrightarrow T \mathbf{H}$ cohesion provides two objects

$\Pi_{dR} \hat E \,,\;\; \flat_{dR}\hat E \;\; \in Stab(\mathbf{H})$

which may be interpreted as de Rham complexes with coefficients in $\Pi(\flat_{dR} \Sigma \hat E)$, the first one restricted to negative degree, the second to non-negative degree. Moreover, there is a canonical map

$\array{ \Pi_{dR}\hat E && \stackrel{\mathbf{d}}{\longrightarrow} && \flat_{dR}\hat E \\ & {}_{\mathllap{\iota}}\searrow && \nearrow_{\mathrlap{\theta_{\hat E}}} \\ && \hat E }$

which interprets as the de Rham differential $\mathbf{d}$. See at differential cohomology diagram for details.

Throughout in the following we leave the “inclusion” $\iota$ of “differential forms regarded as $\hat E$-connections on trivial $E$-bundles” implicit.

###### Definition

Integration of differential forms is the morphism

$\int_{\Delta^1} \;\colon\; [\Delta^1, \flat_{dR}\hat E] \longrightarrow \Pi_{dR}\hat E$

which is induced via the homotopy cofiber property of $\flat_{dR}\Omega \hat E$ from the counit naturality square of the flat modality on $[(\ast \coprod \ast \stackrel{(i_0, i_1)}{\to} \Delta ^1 ), -]$, using that this square exhibits a null homotopy due to the $\Delta^1$-homotopy invariance of $\flat \hat E$.

###### Proposition

The Stokes theorem holds:

$\int_0^1 \circ \mathbf{d} \simeq i_1^\ast - i_0^\ast \,.$

### Recovering traditional integration of differential forms

###### Proposition

In $\mathbf{H} =$ Smooth∞Grpd let $\hat E \in Stab(\mathbf{H})$ be given, under the stable Dold-Kan correspondence, by the traditional truncated de Rham complex $\hat E \coloneqq \Omega^{\bullet \geq n }$.

Then on this object the general cohesive integration map of def. reduces on the $-n$th homotopy group to the tradition fiber integration of differential forms as above:

$\int_{(\Delta^1 \times X)/X} \;\colon\; \Omega(\Delta^1 \times X)_{cl}^n \longrightarrow \Omega^{n-1}(X)/im(\mathbf{d}) \,.$

## References

Exposition with an eye towards applications in physics

Discussion in the abstract context of cohesion and differential cohomology is in

Last revised on June 9, 2023 at 17:32:52. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.