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Mathematics  2000 

Torus actions, combinatorial topology and homological algebra

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Abstract:

The paper surveys some new results and open problems connected with such fundamental combinatorial concepts as polytopes, simplicial complexes, cubical complexes, and subspace arrangements. Particular attention is paid to the case of simplicial and cubical subdivisions of manifolds and, especially, spheres. We describe important constructions which allow to study all these combinatorial objects by means of methods of commutative and homological algebra. The proposed approach to combinatorial problems relies on the theory of moment-angle complexes, currently being developed by the authors. The theory centres around the construction that assigns to each simplicial complex $K$ with $m$ vertices a $T^m$-space $\zk$ with a special bigraded cellular decomposition. In the framework of this theory, the well-known non-singular toric varieties arise as orbit spaces of maximally free actions of subtori on moment-angle complexes corresponding to simplicial spheres. We express different invariants of simplicial complexes and related combinatorial-geometrical objects in terms of the bigraded cohomology rings of the corresponding moment-angle complexes. Finally, we show that the new relationships between combinatorics, geometry and topology result in solutions to some well-known topological problems.

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