Author Archives: John Roe

Artin’s Criterion, Part II

In this post I want to sketch the proof of “Artin’s criterion”, following Ahlfors’ book as referred to in my previous post (and presumably following Artin himself, though I still have not come up with any original reference to him).  The argument generalizes easily to \((n-1)\)-dimensional cycles in an open subset \(\Omega\subseteq {\mathbb R}^n\), but for simplicity I will stick to the planar case.

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Artin’s Criterion

Picture of Artin

Emil Artin, picture from Wikipedia

There’s been a long lull in updates to this page.  I’ve posted elsewhere about the reason for that: in brief, I was found to have cancer, and subsequent treatments have kept me busy for months.  You can read about this on my personal website, but I’m not going to write more about it here.

Meanwhile though I have been slowly writing up a book-length version of my MASS 2013 course, “Winding Around”, whose central theme is “The Winding Number in Topology, Geometry and Analysis”.  As I was “winding around” myself and trying to complete Chapter 5 in a way that was satisfactory, I ran into an interesting “gap” in my own understanding.  This is related to the homology version of Cauchy’s theorem.  This is usually stated in the following way.

Theorem  Let \(f\) be a function that is holomorphic on an open subset \(\Omega\subseteq\mathbb C\), and let \(\Gamma\) be a cycle in \(\Omega\) that is nullhomologous, this being defined to mean that the winding number of \(\Gamma\) about each point of \({\mathbb C}\setminus\Omega\) is zero.   Then

\[ \int_\Gamma f(z)dz = 0. \]

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The Big Question About Limit Operators II

In the first post in this series, I gave some background to the “Big Question” on limit operators which it appears that Lindner and Seidel have solved for the case of free abelian groups.  In the next couple of posts I want to sketch some of the key ideas of their proof and to explore to what extent it can also be generalized to all exact groups (in the same way that I generalized the basic theory of limit operators to all exact groups in my 2005 paper).

There are two components to the L-S argument, it seems to me.

  • a localization property for the “lower norm” of a finite propagation operators, and
  • a “condensation of singularities” argument.

In this post we’ll look at the first of those. Continue reading

The Big Question about Limit Operators I

A recent paper on the ArXiv (see bibliography below) is entitled “An Affirmative Answer to the Big Question about Limit Operators”.   I want to do a series of posts about this paper.  In this one I will try to explain the background, at least in the most elementary (Hilbert space) case.  In this introduction I will begin by re-expressing matters in the language of coarse geometry, following my paper (also in the bibliography below).

The basic setting is a discrete group \(\Gamma\) with a (left-invariant) word metric; in the usual literature about limit operators this group is \(\mathbb Z\) or \({\mathbb Z}^n\), but there is no particular need for this restriction.  Let \(A\) denote the rough algebra of \(\Gamma\), that is the C*-algebra of operators on \(H=\ell^2(\Gamma)\) generated by \(\ell^\infty(\Gamma)\) together with the right translations by elements of \(\Gamma\); equivalently, the closure of the bounded finite propagation operators on \(H\).  If \(T\in A\), then all the translates \(L_\gamma T L_\gamma^*\) also belong to \(A\), and indeed it is easy to see that they form a precompact subset of \(A\) in the strong (or *-strong) operator topology.  The set of *-strong limit points of this subset is called the \emph{operator spectrum} of \(A\) and denoted \(\sigma_{op}(A) \). Continue reading