∞-Lie theory (higher geometry)
For $n \in \mathbb{N}$ write $U(n)$ for the unitary group in dimension $n$ and $O(n)$ for the orthogonal group in dimension $n$, both regarded as topological groups in the standard way. Write $B U(n) , B O(n) \in$ Top for the corresponding classifying space.
Write
and
for the set of homotopy-classes of continuous functions $X \to B U(n)$.
This is equivalently the set of isomorphism classes of $O(n)$- or $U(n)$-principal bundles on $X$ as well as of rank-$n$ real or complex vector bundles on $X$, respectively:
For each $n$ let
be the inclusion of topological groups given by inclusion of $n \times n$ matrices into $(n+1) \times (n+1)$-matrices given by the block-diagonal form
This induces a corresponding sequence of morphisms of classifying spaces, def. , in Top
Write
for the homotopy colimit (the “homotopy direct limit”) over this diagram (see at homotopy colimit the section Sequential homotopy colimits).
The topological space $B U$ is not equivalent to $B U(\mathcal{H})$, where $U(\mathcal{H})$ is the unitary group on a separable infinite-dimensional Hilbert space $\mathcal{H}$. In fact the latter is contractible, hence has a weak homotopy equivalence to the point
while $B U$ has nontrivial homotopy groups in arbitrary higher degree (by Kuiper's theorem).
But there is the group $U(\mathcal{H})_{\mathcal{K}} \subset U(\mathcal{H})$ of unitary operators that differ from the identity by a compact operator. This is essentially $U = \Omega B U$. See below.
Write $\mathbb{Z}$ for the set of integers regarded as a discrete topological space.
The product spaces
are classifying spaces for real and complex topological K-theory, respectively: for every compact Hausdorff topological space $X$, we have an isomorphism of groups
See for instance (Friedlander, prop. 3.2) or (Karoubi, prop. 1.32, theorem 1.33).
First consider the statement for reduced cohomology $\tilde K(X)$:
Since a compact topological space is a compact object in Top (and using that the classifying spaces $B U(n)$ are (see there) paracompact topological spaces, hence normal, and since the inclusion morphisms are closed inclusions (…)) the hom-functor out of it commutes with the filtered colimit
Since $[X, B U(n)] \simeq U(n) Bund(X)$, in the last line the colimit is over vector bundles of all ranks and identifies two if they become isomorphic after adding a trivial bundle of some finite rank.
For the full statement use that by prop. we have
Because $H^0(X,\mathbb{Z}) \simeq [X, \mathbb{Z}]$ it follows that
There is another variant on the classifying space
Let
be the group of unitary operators on a separable Hilbert space $\mathcal{H}$ which differ from the identity by a compact operator.
Palais showed that
$U_\mathcal{K}$ is a homotopy equivalent model for $B U$. It is in fact the norm closure of the evident model of $B U$ in $U(\mathcal{H})$.
Moreover $U_{\mathcal{K}} \subset U(\mathcal{H})$ is a Banach Lie normal subgroup.
Since $U(\mathcal{H})$ is contractible, it follows that
is a model for the classifying space of reduced K-theory.
Introductions are in
Allen Hatcher, Vector bundles and K-theory (web)
Eric Friedlander, An introduction to K-theory (pdf)
Max Karoubi, K-theory: an introduction
H. Blaine Lawson, Marie-Louise Michelsohn, Spin geometry, Princeton University Press (1989)
The H-space structure on $B U \times \mathbb{Z}$ is discussed in
Last revised on October 26, 2018 at 05:49:07. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.