A Mind for Madness

Musings on art, philosophy, mathematics, and physics


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An Application of p-adic Volume to Minimal Models

Today I’ll sketch a proof of Ito that birational smooth minimal models have all of their Hodge numbers exactly the same. It uses the {p}-adic integration from last time plus one piece of heavy machinery.

First, the piece of heavy machinery: If {X, Y} are finite type schemes over the ring of integers {\mathcal{O}_K} of a number field whose generic fibers are smooth and proper, then if {|X(\mathcal{O}_K/\mathfrak{p})|=|Y(\mathcal{O}_K/\mathfrak{p})|} for all but finitely many prime ideals, {\mathfrak{p}}, then the generic fibers {X_\eta} and {Y_\eta} have the same Hodge numbers.

If you’ve seen these types of hypotheses before, then there’s an obvious set of theorems that will probably be used to prove this (Chebotarev + Hodge-Tate decomposition + Weil conjectures). Let’s first restrict our attention to a single prime. Since we will be able to throw out bad primes, suppose we have {X, Y} smooth, proper varieties over {\mathbb{F}_q} of characteristic {p}.

Proposition: If {|X(\mathbb{F}_{q^r})|=|Y(\mathbb{F}_{q^r})|} for all {r}, then {X} and {Y} have the same {\ell}-adic Betti numbers.

This is a basic exercise in using the Weil conjectures. First, {X} and {Y} clearly have the same Zeta functions, because the Zeta function is defined entirely by the number of points over {\mathbb{F}_{q^r}}. But the Zeta function decomposes

\displaystyle Z(X,t)=\frac{P_1(t)\cdots P_{2n-1}(t)}{P_0(t)\cdots P_{2n}(t)}

where {P_i} is the characteristic polynomial of Frobenius acting on {H^i(X_{\overline{\mathbb{F}_q}}, \mathbb{Q}_\ell)}. The Weil conjectures tell us we can recover the {P_i(t)} if we know the Zeta function. But now

\displaystyle \dim H^i(X_{\overline{\mathbb{F}_q}}, \mathbb{Q}_\ell)=\deg P_i(t)=H^i(Y_{\overline{\mathbb{F}_q}}, \mathbb{Q}_\ell)

and hence the Betti numbers are the same. Now let’s go back and notice the magic of {\ell}-adic cohomology. If {X} and {Y} are as before over the ring of integers of a number field. Our assumption about the number of points over finite fields being the same for all but finitely many primes implies that we can pick a prime of good reduction and get that the {\ell}-adic Betti numbers of the reductions are the same {b_i(X_p)=b_i(Y_p)}.

One of the main purposes of {\ell}-adic cohomology is that it is “topological.” By smooth, proper base change we get that the {\ell}-adic Betti numbers of the geometric generic fibers are the same

\displaystyle b_i(X_{\overline{\eta}})=b_i(X_p)=b_i(Y_p)=b_i(Y_{\overline{\eta}}).

By the standard characteristic {0} comparison theorem we then get that the singular cohomology is the same when base changing to {\mathbb{C}}, i.e.

\displaystyle \dim H^i(X_\eta\otimes \mathbb{C}, \mathbb{Q})=\dim H^i(Y_\eta \otimes \mathbb{C}, \mathbb{Q}).

Now we use the Chebotarev density theorem. The Galois representations on each cohomology have the same traces of Frobenius for all but finitely many primes by assumption and hence the semisimplifications of these Galois representations are the same everywhere! Lastly, these Galois representations are coming from smooth, proper varieties and hence the representations are Hodge-Tate. You can now read the Hodge numbers off of the Hodge-Tate decomposition of the semisimplification and hence the two generic fibers have the same Hodge numbers.

Alright, in some sense that was the “uninteresting” part, because it just uses a bunch of machines and is a known fact (there’s also a lot of stuff to fill in to the above sketch to finish the argument). Here’s the application of {p}-adic integration.

Suppose {X} and {Y} are smooth birational minimal models over {\mathbb{C}} (for simplicity we’ll assume they are Calabi-Yau, Ito shows how to get around not necessarily having a non-vanishing top form). I’ll just sketch this part as well, since there are some subtleties with making sure you don’t mess up too much in the process. We can “spread out” our varieties to get our setup in the beginning. Namely, there are proper models over some {\mathcal{O}_K} (of course they aren’t smooth anymore), where the base change of the generic fibers are isomorphic to our original varieties.

By standard birational geometry arguments, there is some big open locus (the complement has codimension greater than {2}) where these are isomorphic and this descends to our model as well. Now we are almost there. We have an etale isomorphism {U\rightarrow V} over all but finitely many primes. If we choose nowhere vanishing top forms on the models, then the restrictions to the fibers are {p}-adic volume forms.

But our standard trick works again here. The isomorphism {U\rightarrow V} pulls back the volume form on {Y} to a volume form on {X} over all but finitely primes and hence they differ by a function which has {p}-adic valuation {1} everywhere. Thus the two models have the same volume over all but finitely many primes, and as was pointed out last time the two must have the same number of {\mathbb{F}_{q^r}}-valued points over these primes since we can read this off from knowing the volume.

The machinery says that we can now conclude the two smooth birational minimal models have the same Hodge numbers. I thought that was a pretty cool and unexpected application of this idea of {p}-adic volume. It is the only one I know of. I’d be interested if anyone knows of any other.


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What’s up with the fppf site?

I’ve been thinking a lot about something called Serre-Tate theory lately. I want to do some posts on the “classical” case of elliptic curves. Before starting though we’ll go through some preliminaries on why one would ever want to use the fppf site and how to compute with it. It seems that today’s post is extremely well known, but not really spelled out anywhere.

Let’s say you’ve been reading stuff having to do with arithmetic geometry for awhile. Then without a doubt you’ve encountered étale cohomology. In fact, I’ve used it tons on this blog already. Here’s a standard way in which it comes up. Suppose you have some (smooth, projective) variety {X/k}. You want to understand the {\ell^n}-torsion in the Picard group or the (cohomological) Brauer group where {\ell} is a prime not equal to the characteristic of the field.

What you do is take the Kummer sequence:

\displaystyle 0\rightarrow \mu_{\ell^n}\rightarrow \mathbb{G}_m\stackrel{\ell^n}{\rightarrow} \mathbb{G}_m\rightarrow 0.

This is an exact sequence of sheaves in the étale topology. Thus it gives you a long exact sequence of cohomology. But since {H^1_{et}(X, \mathbb{G}_m)=Pic(X)} and {H^2_{et}(X, \mathbb{G}_m)=Br(X)}. Just writing down the long exact sequence you get that the image of {H^1_{et}(X, \mu_{\ell^n})\rightarrow Pic(X)} is exactly {Pic(X)[\ell^n]}, and similarly with the Brauer group. In fact, people usually work with the truncated short exact sequence:

\displaystyle 0\rightarrow Pic(X)/\ell^n Pic(X) \rightarrow H^2_{et}(X, \mu_{\ell^n})\rightarrow Br(X)[\ell^n]\rightarrow 0

Fiddling around with other related things can help you figure out what is happening with the {\ell^n}-torsion. That isn’t the point of this post though. The point is what do you do when you want to figure out the {p^n}-torsion where {p} is the characteristic of the ground field? It looks like you’re in big trouble, because the above Kummer sequence is not exact in the étale topology.

It turns out that you can switch to a finer topology called the fppf topology (or site). This is similar to the étale site, except instead of making your covering families using étale maps you make them with faithfully flat and locally of finite presentation maps (i.e. fppf for short when translated to french). When using this finer topology the sequence of sheaves actually becomes exact again.

A proof is here, and a quick read through will show you exactly why you can’t use the étale site. You need to extract {p}-th roots for the {p}-th power map to be surjective which will give you some sort of infinitesimal cover (for example if {X=Spec(k)}) that looks like {Spec(k[t]/(t-a)^p)\rightarrow Spec(k)}.

Thus you can try to figure out the {p^n}-torsion again now using “flat cohomology” which will be denoted {H^i_{fl}(X, -)}. We get the same long exact sequences to try to fiddle with:

\displaystyle 0\rightarrow Pic(X)/p^n Pic(X) \rightarrow H^2_{fl}(X, \mu_{p^n})\rightarrow Br(X)[p^n]\rightarrow 0

But what the heck is {H^2_{fl}(X, \mu_{p^n})}? I mean, how do you compute this? We have tons of books and things to compute with the étale topology. But this fppf thing is weird. So secretly we really want to translate this flat cohomology back to some étale cohomology. I saw the following claimed in several places without really explaining it, so we’ll prove it here:

\displaystyle H^2_{fl}(X, \mu_p)=H^1_{et}(X, \mathbb{G}_m/\mathbb{G}_m^p).

Actually, let’s just prove something much more general. We actually get that

\displaystyle H^i_{fl}(X, \mu_p)=H^{i-1}_{et}(X, \mathbb{G}_m/\mathbb{G}_m^p).

The proof is really just a silly “trick” once you see it. Since the Kummer sequence is exact on the fppf site, by definition this just means that the complex {\mu_p} thought of as concentrated in degree {0} is quasi-isomorphic to the complex {\mathbb{G}_m\stackrel{p}{\rightarrow} \mathbb{G}_m}. It looks like this is a useless and more complicated thing to say, but this means that the hypercohomology (still fppf) is isomorphic:

\displaystyle \mathbf{H}^i_{fl}(X, \mu_p)=\mathbf{H}^i_{fl}(X, \mathbb{G}_m\stackrel{p}{\rightarrow} \mathbb{G}_m).

Now here’s the trick. The left side is the group we want to compute. The right hand side only involves smooth group schemes, so a theorem of Grothendieck tells us that we can compute this hypercohomology using fpqc, fppf, étale, Zariski … it doesn’t matter. We’ll get the same answer. Thus we can switch to the étale site. But of course, just by definition we now extend the {p}-th power map (injective on the etale site) to an exact sequence

\displaystyle 0\rightarrow \mathbb{G}_m \rightarrow \mathbb{G}_m\rightarrow \mathbb{G}_m/\mathbb{G}_m^p\rightarrow 0.

Thus we get another quasi-isomorphism of complexes. This time to {\mathbb{G}_m/\mathbb{G}_m^p[-1]}. This is a complex concentrated in a single degree, so the hypercohomology is just the etale cohomology. The shift by {-1} decreases the cohomology by one and we get the desired isomorphism {H^i_{fl}(X, \mu_p)=H^{i-1}_{et}(X, \mathbb{G}_m/\mathbb{G}_m^p)}. In particular, we were curious about {H^2_{fl}(X, \mu_p)}, so we want to figure out {H^1_{et}(X, \mathbb{G}_m/\mathbb{G}_m^p)}.

Alright. You’re now probably wondering what in the world to I do with the étale cohomology of {\mathbb{G}_m/\mathbb{G}_m^p}? It might be on the étale site, but it is a weird sheaf. Ah. But here’s something great, and not used all that much to my knowledge. There is something called the multiplicative de Rham complex. On the étale site we actually have an exact sequence of sheaves via the “dlog” map:

\displaystyle 0\rightarrow \mathbb{G}_m/\mathbb{G}_m^p\stackrel{d\log}{\rightarrow} Z^1\stackrel{C-i}{\rightarrow} \Omega^1\rightarrow 0.

This now gives us something nice because if we understand the Cartier operator (which is Serre dual to the Frobenius!) and know things how many global {1}-forms are on the variety (maybe none?) we have a hope of computing our original flat cohomology!


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This Week’s Finds in Arithmetic Geometry

It has been going around the math blogosphere that in honor of John Baez’s 20 year anniversary of doing This Week’s Finds we all do one in our area. So here’s a brief This Week’s Finds in Arithmetic Geometry. Hopefully this will raise awareness of the blog that essentially pioneered math/physics blogging (and if you’re into arithmetic geometry some papers you might not have caught yet).

Since the content and style of Baez’s This Week’s Finds vary so much, I’ll just copy what Jordan Ellenberg did here and give some papers posted the last week that caught my attention.

The fields of definition of branched Galois covers of the projective line by Hilaf Hasson caught my attention because I just met him and saw him speak on this exact topic a few weeks ago at the Joint Meetings. Although the results are certainly interesting in themselves, the part that a blog audience might appreciate is the set of corollaries to the results.

Recall that a major open problem in number theory is the “Inverse Galois Problem” which asks which groups arise as Galois groups. I even posted an elementary proof that if you don’t care what your fields are, then any finite group arises as {Gal(L/K)}. In general (for example if you force {K=\mathbb{Q}}), then the problem is extremely hard and wide open.

If you haven’t seen this type of thing before, then it might be surprising, but you can actually use geometry to study this question. This is exactly the type of result that Hilaf gets.

Next is New derived autoequivalences of Hilbert schemes and generalised Kummer varieties by Andreas Krug. This topic is near and dear to me because I study derived categories in the arithmetic setting. I haven’t taken a look at this paper in any depth, but I’ll just point out why these types of things are important.

In the classification of varieties one often tries to study the problem up to some type of birational equivalence otherwise it would be too difficult. Often times birational varieties are derived equivalent, but not the other way around. So one could think of studying varieties up to derived equivalence as a slightly looser classification.

When trying to figure out what two varieties that are derived equivalent have in common, a typical sticking point is that you need to know certain automorphisms of the derived category (i.e. autoequivalence) exist to get nice cohomological properties or something. When papers constructing new autoequivalences come out it always catches my attention because I want to know if the method used transfers to situations I work in.

Lastly, we’ll do La conjecture de Tate entière pour les cubiques de dimension quatre sur un corps fini by François Charles and Alena Pirutka. If you don’t know what the Tate conjecture is, then lots of people refer to it as the Hodge conjecture in positive characteristic.

If you’ve ever seen any cohomology theory, then you should be at least passingly familiar with the idea that certain sub-objects (subvarieties or submanifolds etc) can be realized as classes in the cohomology. Sometimes this is due to construction and sometimes it is a major theorem.

The particular case of the Tate conjecture says the following. Consider the relatively easy to prove fact. If you take a cycle on your variety {X/k}, then the cohomology class it maps to (in {\ell}-adic cohomology) will be invariant under the natural Galois action {Gal(\overline{k}/k)} (because it is defined over {k}!). The Tate conjecture is that any Galois invariant cohomology class actually comes from one of these cycles.

The fact that mathematicians can have honest arguments over whether or not the Tate conjecture or the Hodge conjecture (a million dollar problem!) is harder just gives credence to the fact that it is darned hard. If you weren’t convinced, then just consider that this paper is proving the Tate conjecture in the particular case of smooth hypersurfaces of degree {3} in {\mathbb{P}^5} just for the cohomology classes of degree {4}. People consider this progress, and they should.


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2012 Blogging

It’s the start of a new year, so I’m going to start up something new here. My research interests have recently tended towards arithmetic geometry, so my plan for 2012 is to write some basics of algebraic number theory and arithmetic geometry that I use a lot. I’ll try to avoid redoing some of the stuff that has already been done at Climbing Mount Bourbaki.

I’d like to explain what modular forms are and what some of their basic properties are. I may detour a little into Galois representations at some point. I definitely want to talk about L-functions of varieties and what it means for a variety to be modular. This may lead to some discussion about Fermat’s Last Theorem and the Taniyama-Shimura conjecture. Scattered throughout I’ll probably have to cover some more classical algebraic number theory.

If you’re interested in related topics just post a comment and maybe I’ll get to it. Maybe in a few weeks I’ll scratch this whole idea and do something else. Who knows?

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