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On Ring Schemes

The theory of group schemes seems to be well developed: there are many applications and examples, and the literature is vast.

On the other hand, a quick google search with some obvious keywords (ring, schemes, algebraic) does not yield any good reference on Ring Schemes, nor any interesting examples (other than Witt schemes) or applications. My question, out of pure curiosity, is:

Is there any good introductory reference(s) to the subject?

I'd be most interested in knowing what the important questions and applications of Ring schemes are.

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 I don't know what algebraic geometers have done, but there's a nontrivial amount of applicative algebraic topology literature about affine formal ring schemes / coalgebraic rings. Such objects appear when building the co/homology of the destabilization of another co/homology theory. Searching on any of 'Hopf ring', 'coalgebraic ring', 'biring', 'ring-ring', and potentially 'Tall-Wraith monoid' will probably turn topology-application type stuff up. – Eric Peterson Feb 4 2012 at 8:50 $\mathbb{A}^n_S$ is a ring scheme over $S$, or does this count as a non interesting example? – Martin Brandenburg Feb 4 2012 at 8:59 @Martin: which multiplication do you have in mind that would work for every $n$ ? – Qfwfq Feb 4 2012 at 12:49 If the ring-schemes are not assumed to be commutative, there is a theory of (relative over $S$) Azumaya algebras. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azumaya_algebra – Qfwfq Feb 4 2012 at 12:52 $\mathbb{A}^n_S(T)=\mathcal{O}_T(T)^n$ is a ring for every scheme $T/S$. – Martin Brandenburg Feb 4 2012 at 17:42
Let's consider algebraic rings over an algebraically closed field $k$. It has been shown by Greenberg that an irreducible algebraic ring over $k$ is Artinian. Conversely, every commutative Artinian local ring carries the structure of (irreducible) algebraic ring. Moreover, as a variety a ring variety is isomorphic to an affine space, so there isn't as much variation as for algebraic groups. However, if $G$ is a group scheme (let's say affine and smooth) over an Artinian local ring $A$ with residue field $k$, then because $A$ is an algebraic ring, the so called Greenberg functor lets us view $G(A)$ as an algebraic group over $k$, and the structure of these groups can be quite complicated. This in turn has applications for instance in the representation theory of reductive groups over finite rings. Algebraic rings have also found some applications in group theory and appear in a paper by M. Kassabov and M. Sapir called "Nonlinearity of matrix groups".