mnev's universality corollaries, quantitative versions?

Mnev's universality theorem claims that any semialgebraic set is the realization space of some oriented matroid. Moreover, the rank of the or matroid can be prescribed in advance.

1.-Are there interesting corollaries to Mnev's theorem? I am aware of interesting algorithmic consequences.

Geometric consequences? Examples in which the theorem is used to prove that other moduli spaces can also be wild?

MacPherson's definition of "combinatorial differentiable manifolds" and oriented matroid bundles are based on a local system of oriented matroids over a simplicial complex. Is there some implication from Mnev's theorem to the theory of combinatorial differentiable manifolds.

What about proofs that would be easy (or statemens that would be true) if realization spaces of oriented matroids where better behaved, say connected, or contractible..

2.-Are there quantitative versions of this theorem relating (say) the number and degrees of the defining polynomial (in)equalities or the betty numbers of the semialgebraic set with the rank and number of elements in the corresponding or-mat.

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You did not cite it, but I assume you know Vakil's paper "Murphy's law in Algebraic Geometry". He uses Mnev's theorem to prove that "every singularity of finite type over $\mathbf{Z}$" (up to smooth parameters) appears on: the Hilbert scheme of curves in projective space; and the moduli spaces of smooth projective general-type surfaces (or higher-dimensional varieties), plane curves with nodes and cusps, stable sheaves, isolated threefold singularities, and more" –  Francesco Polizzi Aug 5 '11 at 8:13
Thanks I did glance at this paper. It looks fun, and even for someone like me who knows no algebraic geometry the moral of the story is kind of clear. Are the proofs somehow like algorithmic complexity reductions? Do you know what is in Lafforgue's related paper? –  Alfredo Hubard Aug 5 '11 at 15:01
Thanks, do you know about implications of Mnev's universality to the theory of Matroid Bundles?? –  Alfredo Hubard Aug 14 '11 at 18:49
simple-minded matroid bundles are ill defined thenks to universality. The problem showed up in attempts to use matroids for formulas for pontrjagin classes. But there ara still subjects to work on. –  Nikolai Mnev Aug 26 '11 at 5:30
A comment about a quantitative bound: Mnëv’s proof provides a polynomial-time reduction from the existential theory of the reals to the realizability of an oriented matroid (see Shor 1991; available online at math.mit.edu/~shor/papers/Stretchability_NP-hard.pdf). This implies that if you have a semialgebraic set defined by polynomials whose coefficients are algebraic numbers, then the size of the oriented matroid constructed from it by Mnëv’s proof can be bounded by a polynomial in the bit-length of the description of the polynomials. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Aug 26 '11 at 18:40

For your first question, you might be interested in Ravi Vakil's paper "Murphy's law in algebraic geometry". He uses Mnëv's theorem to show that a large family of moduli spaces which are known to have singularities are in fact "as singular as possible", by which he means that every possible type of singularity defined over $\mathrm{Spec}(\mathbb{Z})$ will appear at some point of the moduli space.
Here's a different application. Kontsevich defined for every graph $G$ a hypersurface $Y_G$ in a way motivated by QFT and the theory of Feynmann integrals. Motivated by computer experiments, he suggested that period integrals on the $Y_G$ should always be multiple zeta values. I am not sure of the precise relationship here, but I believe that this is (at least morally) the same thing as stating that the cohomology of $Y_G$ contains only mixed Tate motives. This is a very strong condition to impose and would say that the cohomology of $Y_G$ is extremely special. In particular this would imply that the function $q \mapsto \#Y_G(\mathbf F_q)$ that counts the number of points on $Y_G$ over a finite field is always given by a polynomial in $q$. Belkale and Brosnan in "Matroids, motives and a conjecture of Kontsevich" disproved this conjecture in the strongest possible way: they showed that for ANY scheme $X$ of finite type over $\mathbf Z$, the function $q \mapsto \#Z(\mathbf F_q)$ is a finite linear combination of functions $q \mapsto \#Y_G(\mathbf F_q)$ for graphs $G$. Their proof uses Mnëv's theorem in a crucial way.
Here arxiv.org/abs/1108.4733 i have a very simple rational local formula for the chern-euler class of a triangulated $S^1$ bundle. Im shure that it can be rewritten for rank 2 matroid bundles. It can be fun –  Nikolai Mnev Sep 2 '11 at 12:19