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53
votes
10answers
9k views

Motivation for algebraic K-theory?

I'm looking for a big-picture treatment of algebraic K-theory and why it's important. I've seen various abstract definitions (Quillen's plus and Q constructions, some spectral constructions like ...
40
votes
6answers
3k views

Which of Quillen's Papers Should I read?

I just heard that Dan Quillen passed on. I am not familiar with his work and want to celebrate his life by reading some of his papers. Which one(s?) should I read? I am an algebraic geometry who is ...
33
votes
2answers
2k views

What arithmetic information is contained in the algebraic K-theory of the integers

I'm always looking for applications of homotopy theory to other fields, mostly as a way to make my talks more interesting or to motivate the field to non-specialists. It seems like most talks about ...
29
votes
6answers
3k views

Why is Milnor K-theory not ad hoc?

When Milnor introduced in "Algebraic K-Theory and Quadratic Forms" the Milnor K-groups he said that his definition is motivated by Matsumoto's presentation of algebraic $K_2(k)$ for a field $k$ but is ...
27
votes
3answers
2k views

How much linear algebra can be done with graphs?

Let G be a finite directed acyclic graph, with sources $A=\{a_1,\ldots,a_n\}$ and sinks $B=\{b_1,\ldots,b_n\}$, with edge weights $w_{ij}$. The weight of a directed path P is the product of weights of ...
26
votes
1answer
1k views

Why is Riemann-Roch for stacks so hard?

First some indication that it really is a difficult problem: Both Vistoli and Gillet in their classics on intersection theory on stacks remark that their should be a Riemann-Roch theorem for proper ...
21
votes
3answers
2k views

Does Milnor K-Theory arise from Waldhausen K-Theory

Quillens higher K-groups of rings can be realized as πnK(C) - the Waldhausen K-Theory of a suitable Waldhausen category C. Is this also true for Milnor K-Theory of Rings? Is there a functor F from ...
21
votes
1answer
697 views

Is every ''group-completion'' map an acyclic map?

I start with a longer discussion which will result in a precise version of the question. A am puzzled about an issue with the Quillen plus construction. I have seen outstanding experts being confused ...
21
votes
1answer
1k views

Morava on Shafarevich

Jack Morava has some interesting ideas stemming from stable homotopy theory and geometric topology on the Shafarevich Conjecture. The Shafarevich Conjecture states: $Gal(\bar Q / Q_{cycl})$ is free. ...
20
votes
4answers
2k views

Motivation/interpretation for Quillen's Q-construction?

This question has been on my mind for a while. As I understand it, the Q-construction was the first definition for higher algebraic K-theory. Some details can be found here. ...
17
votes
4answers
1k views

Quillen's motivation of higher algebraic K-theory

Almost the same question was already asked on MO Motivation for algebraic K-theory? However, to my taste, the answers there consider the subject from a more modern point of view. When I open a book ...
15
votes
7answers
1k views

universal cover of SL2(R): does it admit central extensions?

Is it true that the universal cover of SL2(ℝ) has no non-trivial central extensions... as an abstract group? (that's certainly true as a Lie group) Motivation: I have a projective action of ...
15
votes
1answer
416 views

When is $SL(n,R) \rightarrow SL(n,R/q)$ surjective?

Let $R$ be a commutative ring with unit and let $q$ be an ideal of $R$. There is thus a natural map $SL(n,R) \rightarrow SL(n,R/q)$ for all $n$. This map is surjective if $SL(n,R/q)$ is generated by ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

What is a path in K-theory space?

In a comment on Tom Goodwillie's question about relating the Alexander polynomial and the Iwasawa polynomial, Minhyong Kim makes the cryptic but tantalizing statement: In brief, the current view is ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

K(F_1) = sphere spectrum?

I repeatedly heard that K(F_1) is the sphere spectrum. Does anyone know about the proof and what that means?
14
votes
2answers
764 views

Who first noticed that the Hilbert symbol is a Steinberg symbol ?

Hilbert reformulated the quadratic reciprocity law of Gauß as a product formula $$ \prod_v(a,b)_v=1 $$ for the various local Hilbert symbols. For each place $v$ of $\bf Q$, the Hilbert symbol $(\ ,\ ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

Can we decompose Diff(MxN)?

If you have two manifolds $M^m$ and $N^n$, how does one / can one decompose the diffeomorphisms $\text{Diff}(M\times N)$ in terms of $\text{Diff}(M)$ and $\text{Diff}(N)$? Is there anything we can say ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

Is Higher K-functor the derived functor of K0?

It might be a stupid question. I wonder whether the derived functor of functor K0 is Quillen Higher K-functor? If not, is there any relationship between derived functor of K0(or satellites of ...
13
votes
2answers
899 views

Can anyone explain to me what is an assembly map?

Or can you give me a good place to read about things related to assembly map, besides wikipedia? I am specially interested in the case of algebraic K-theory. Would appreciated if you could provide ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

What's about “quantum modular forms”?

Do you know where one could read on "Modular Forms, K-theory and Knots"? The combination of themes sounds thrilling! Edit: Zagier's paper on "quantum modular forms" will be published in Clay's ...
13
votes
0answers
398 views

Link: Serre's intersection formula <-> Bloch-Quillen Thm / When only intersecting divisors, is there 'shorter' approach of proof known?

In very short: When proving the equivalence of intersection theory constructed through (Milnor) K-sheaves and their product vs. defining the product via Serre's local multiplicity formula + moving, I ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Why was it reasonable to ask what the higher K-groups are?

To say I am a novice in $K$-theory is to overstate my experience with the field. I've been reading the various wiki articles so as to have some preparation before jumping in, and I couldn't answer the ...
12
votes
3answers
935 views

Stable Homology of arithmetic groups.

Suppose that F/Q is a number field. Using automorphic forms, Borel computed the (R-) stable cohomology of SL_n(O_F), and as a ...
11
votes
1answer
707 views

Rationalised K-theory of number fields

Let $A$ be the ring of integers in a number field, and consider the rationalised algebraic $K$-theory groups $\mathbb{Q}\otimes K_*(A)$. A theorem of Borel calculates the ranks of these groups; the ...
11
votes
2answers
283 views

Bass's paper “Symplectic groups and modules”, used in proof of the congruence subgroup property for Sp

Let $R$ be the ring of integers in a number field. While studying the congruence subgroup property for $\text{Sp}_{2g}(R)$ in Bass, H.; Milnor, J.; Serre, J.-P. Solution of the congruence subgroup ...
11
votes
1answer
352 views

Intersection of subvarieties versus ranks of Chow groups modulo numerical equivalences

A nice property of $\mathbb P^n$ is: Property 1: Two subvarieties $U,V$ such that $\operatorname{dim} U +\operatorname{dim} V \geq n$ always intersect. (for example, any 2 curves in $\mathbb ...
10
votes
3answers
635 views

Plus construction considerations.

In order to realise the K-groups of a ring as the homotopy groups of some space associated to that ring, Quillen proposed the following (roughly-sketched) construction: Recall that $K_1(R) = ...
10
votes
3answers
797 views

What is the difference between Grothendieck groups K_0(X) vs K^0(X) on schemes?

More specifically, I was wondering if there are well-known conditions to put on $X$ in order to make $K_0(X)\simeq K^0(X)$. Wikipedia says they are the same if $X$ is smooth. It seems to me that you ...
10
votes
2answers
358 views

What is the Q-construction, metaphysically?

An exact (small) category $P$ is an environment in which we make sense of the "put-together"-edness of objects via (short) exact sequences. It seems like the K-theory of an exact category encodes the ...
10
votes
1answer
354 views

Eilenberg-Mazur swindle for higher K groups

The Eilenberg-Mazur swindle shows that the Grothendieck group of an additive category with countable coproducts is trivial. The strategy is to observe that any "Euler characteristic" $\chi$ on such a ...
10
votes
1answer
480 views

K-Theory space of finite abelian groups

Consider the abelian category $\mathsf{finAb}$ of finite abelian groups. It is easy to prove that there is an isomorphism $\mathrm{ord} : K_0(\mathsf{finAb}) \to \mathbb{Q}^+$. Can you give a ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

Values of zeta at odd positive integers and Borel's computations

Someone recently quoted to me this recent article that claims to prove that $\zeta(2n+1) \notin (2\pi )^{2n+1} \mathbb{Q}$. I always assumed this was well known. More precisely I thought this result ...
10
votes
1answer
667 views

When are representation rings special lambda-rings? (variations of an old question)

Status: Questions 2 and 4 answered in the negative. Questions 1 and 3 ARE STILL UNANSWERED, despite previous claims. On the third page of Wolfang K. Seiler's paper "lambda-rings and Adams ...
10
votes
0answers
78 views

Besides F_q, for which rings R is K_i(R) completely known?

With the exception of finite fields and "trivial examples", which rings $R$ are such that Quillen's algebraic $K$ groups $K_i(R)$ are completely known for all $i\geq 0$? Here, by "trivial examples" ...
10
votes
0answers
822 views

Are there analogues of Beilinson's conjectures for motives with coefficients?

There's a body of wisdom (following Beilinson, Bloch, Deligne, ...) relating mixed Tate motives, motivic cohomology, algebraic K-theory, special values of L-functions, and polylogarithms. My ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Is there a simple relationship between K-theory and Galois theory?

I can (barely) understand the definition of the higher algebraic K-groups a la the plus construction right now (I have some past familiarity with K-theory for C*-algebras and can recall the rudiments ...
9
votes
2answers
959 views

Why does the Grothendieck group $K_0(R)$ of a ring not depend on our choice of using left modules instead of right modules?

I am under the impression that in the definition of the Grothendieck group $K_0(R)$ of a (non-commutative) ring it doesn't matter whether we apply the usual $K_0$ construction to the exact category of ...
9
votes
2answers
361 views

Genus of smooth varieties with small Chow group

Let $X$ be a smooth projective variety over $\mathbb C$ with $d = \dim X \geq 1$. Let $CH(X)$ denotes the total Chow group of (cycles modulo rational equivalences of) $X$ and $CH(X)_{\mathbb Q} = ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

algebraic K-theory and tensor products

Algebraic K-theory defines a functor K taking commutative rings to E_\infty ring spectra. I'm interested in which pushouts (tensor/smash products) K preserves. For example, if R is a regular ...
9
votes
1answer
641 views

Current status of a conjecture of Bloch

In the seminal paper $K_2$ and algebraic cycles, Bloch make the following conjecture : Suppose $A$ is a local Noetherian integral domain with quotient field $F$ $K_2(A)$ → $K_2(F)$ is ...
9
votes
2answers
347 views

f.g. modules vs. f.g. projective modules

In algebraic K-theory one defines $K_0(R)$ as the result of application of the Grothendieck construction to the semigroup of isomorphism classes of left f.g. projective $R$-modules. But we can also ...
9
votes
0answers
249 views

Geometrizing the Third Cohomology of a Complex Lie Group

If $G_\mathbb{C}$ is a simply-connected simple complex Lie group, theorem 5.4.10 of Brylinski's "Loop Spaces, Characteristic Classes, and Geometric Quantization" claims that there is a natural ...
9
votes
0answers
340 views

Rosenberg's proof of Bass-Heller-Swan

I'm reading the proof the Bass-Heller-Swan Theorem in Rosenberg's book Algebraic K-Theory and Applications (Theorem 3.2.22), which asserts $$K_1(R[t,t^{-1}]) \cong K_0(R) \oplus K_1(R) \oplus ...
8
votes
2answers
273 views

Categorical description of the second K-group

Let $\mathcal{P}$ be a (small) exact category. Without delving into any homotopy theory, we can provide characterisations of $K_0(\mathcal{P})$ and $K_1(\mathcal{P})$ as plain categorical ...
8
votes
1answer
797 views

Explicit description of boundary map in algebraic K-theory

Recall that for a DVR A with fraction field F and residue field k, there is a "localization" fiber sequence in algebraic K-theory, $$K(k) \rightarrow K(A) \rightarrow K(F).$$ In Remark 5.17 of his ...
8
votes
2answers
330 views

Algorithm to calculate $Wh(G)$ for finitely presented group $G$?

Let $G$ be a finitely presented group. Are there any algorithm to calculate whitehead group $G$, $Wh(G)$ in terms of presentation of $G$?
8
votes
1answer
402 views

Nonnegative additive functions on coherent sheaves

Let $(X,\mathcal{O}_X)$ be a Noetherian integral scheme and let $g$ be a (numerical) additive nonnegative function from coherent $\mathcal{O}_X$-modules to $[0,\infty)$. This question may be well ...
8
votes
1answer
493 views

$K_0$ of a non-separated scheme

This question is on "computing" the Grothendieck group of the projective $n$-space with $m$ origins ($m\geq 1$). For any (noetherian) scheme $X$, let $K_0(X)$ be the Grothendieck group of coherent ...
8
votes
2answers
389 views

Maps between K-groups induced by rings homomorphism

Let $f: R\to S$ be a map between two commutative Noetherian rings. Let $G_0(R)=K_0(mod R)$ be the Grothendieck group of finite generated modules over $R$. It means $G_0(R)$ is the quotient of the free ...
8
votes
1answer
412 views

Motivic cohomology and cohomology of Milnor K-theory sheaf

Let $X$ be a smooth variety over a field $k$. (Assume $k$ has characteristic 0 if it helps; in fact I'd be happy to assume that $k$ is a finite extension of either $\mathbf{Q}$ or $\mathbf{Q}_p$). ...