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Given that the (degree-shifted, reduced) topological K-theory group of a topological space $X$ can be computed as a colimit over sets of homotopy classes of maps (cf. at stable unitary group)
one may think of this as a stabilization of generalized nonabelian cohomology theories (in the sense of FSS23, §2) $U_n(X)$ whose classifying spaces are the unitary groups $U(n)$. For this reason, we may call the groups $[X,U(n)] \,\coloneqq\, \pi_0 Map\big(X,U(n)\big)$ the unstable $\tilde{K}^1$-theory groups of $X$, at stage $n$.
Let $X$ be a topological space (CW-complex), and $U(n)$ the unitary group in dimension $n$. The $n$-unstable $\tilde{K}^1$-theory group $U_n(X)$ of $X$ is defined as the homotopy classes of maps, hence the connected components of the space of maps from $X$ to (the underlying topological space of) $U(n)$:
From this definition one can see that, if $X$ is a finite-dimensional CW complex then $U_n(X) = \tilde{K}^1 (X)$ for sufficiently large $n$.
The following properties are proven in Hamanaka and Kono 2003:
(Theorem 1.1 of op.cit.)
Let $\text{dim}(X)\leq 2n$. Then there exists an exact sequence of the form:
or, put differently, defining $N_n (X) \coloneqq coker(\Theta)$ (see Section 3 of op.cit. for the definition of $\Theta$):
In particular, Prop. shows that in general $U_n(X)$ is neither abelian nor does it inject into $\tilde{K}^1 (X)$.
(Theorem 1.2 of op.cit.)
For $dim(X)\leq 2n$, the cokernel group $N_n(X)$ is a finite abelian group where the order of any element divides $n!$.
An example where not only do the unstable and stable K theory groups not coincide but the latter actually vanishes is provided by the even-dimensional spheres.
(Lemma 4.1 of Hamanaka 2003)
For $n\geq 3$, the $n$ unstable K-theory group of the $2n$-dimensional sphere $S^{2n}$ is
whereas $\tilde{K}^1 (S^{2n} ) =0$.
For the notion of unstable algebraic K-theory, see Jansen 2024.
Hiroaki Hamanaka, Akira Kono: On $[X, U(n)]$ when $\text{dim}(X)$ is $2n$, Journal of Mathematics of Kyoto University 43 2 (2003) 333-348 [doi:10.1215/kjm/1250283730[
Hiroaki Hamanaka, Akira Kono: An application of unstable K-theory, Journal of Mathematics of Kyoto University 44 2 (2004) 451-456 [doi:10.1215/kjm/1250283560]
Hiroaki Hamanaka: Adams $e$-invariant, Toda bracket and $[X, U (n)]$, Journal of Mathematics of Kyoto University 43 4 (2003) 815-827 [doi:10.1215/kjm/1250281737]
On unstable algebraic K-theory:
Last revised on May 18, 2024 at 21:28:56. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.