Abstract:
A proper understanding of boundary-value problems is essential in the attempt of developing a quantum theory of gravity and of the birth of the universe. The present paper reviews these topics in light of recent developments in spectral geometry, i.e. heat-kernel asymptotics for the Laplacian in the presence of Dirichlet, or Robin, or mixed boundary conditions; completely gauge-invariant boundary conditions in Euclidean quantum gravity; local vs. non-local boundary-value problems in one-loop Euclidean quantum theory via path integrals.

Abstract:
Quantum gravity was born as that branch of modern theoretical physics that tries to unify its guiding principles, i.e., quantum mechanics and general relativity. Nowadays it is providing new insight into the unification of all fundamental interactions, while giving rise to new developments in modern mathematics. It is however unclear whether it will ever become a falsifiable physical theory, since it deals with Planck-scale physics. Reviewing a wide range of spectral geometry from index theory to spectral triples, we hope to dismiss the general opinion that the mere mathematical complexity of the unification programme will obstruct that programme.

Abstract:
Quantum gravity was born as that branch of modern theoretical physics that tries to unify its guiding principles, i.e., quantum mechanics and general relativity. Nowadays it is providing new insight into the unification of all fundamental interactions, while giving rise to new developments in modern mathematics. It is however unclear whether it will ever become a falsifiable physical theory, since it deals with Planck-scale physics. Reviewing a wide range of spectral geometry from index theory to spectral triples, we hope to dismiss the general opinion that the mere mathematical complexity of the unification programme will obstruct that programme.

Abstract:
This paper establishes a link between Noncommutative Geometry and canonical quantum gravity. A semi-finite spectral triple over a space of connections is presented. The triple involves an algebra of holonomy loops and a Dirac type operator which resembles a global functional derivation operator. The interaction between the Dirac operator and the algebra reproduces the Poisson structure of General Relativity. Moreover, the associated Hilbert space corresponds, up to a discrete symmetry group, to the Hilbert space of diffeomorphism invariant states known from Loop Quantum Gravity. Correspondingly, the square of the Dirac operator has, in terms of canonical quantum gravity, the form of a global area-squared operator. Furthermore, the spectral action resembles a partition function of Quantum Gravity. The construction is background independent and is based on an inductive system of triangulations. This paper is the first of two papers on the subject.

Abstract:
We review applications of noncommutative geometry in canonical quantum gravity. First, we show that the framework of loop quantum gravity includes natural noncommutative structures which have, hitherto, not been explored. Next, we present the construction of a spectral triple over an algebra of holonomy loops. The spectral triple, which encodes the kinematics of quantum gravity, gives rise to a natural class of semiclassical states which entail emerging fermionic degrees of freedom. In the particular semiclassical approximation where all gravitational degrees of freedom are turned off, a free fermionic quantum field theory emerges. We end the paper with an extended outlook section.

Abstract:
We review applications of noncommutative geometry in canonical quantum gravity. First, we show that the framework of loop quantum gravity includes natural noncommutative structures which have, hitherto, not been explored. Next, we present the construction of a spectral triple over an algebra of holonomy loops. The spectral triple, which encodes the kinematics of quantum gravity, gives rise to a natural class of semiclassical states which entail emerging fermionic degrees of freedom. In the particular semiclassical approximation where all gravitational degrees of freedom are turned off, a free fermionic quantum field theory emerges. We end the paper with an extended outlook section.

Abstract:
The purpose of this contribution is to give an introduction to quantum geometry and loop quantum gravity for a wide audience of both physicists and mathematicians. From a physical point of view the emphasis will be on conceptual issues concerning the relationship of the formalism with other more traditional approaches inspired in the treatment of the fundamental interactions in the standard model. Mathematically I will pay special attention to functional analytic issues, the construction of the relevant Hilbert spaces and the definition and properties of geometric operators: areas and volumes.

Abstract:
After a brief introduction, basic ideas of the quantum Riemannian geometry underlying loop quantum gravity are summarized. To illustrate physical ramifications of quantum geometry, the framework is then applied to homogeneous isotropic cosmology. Quantum geometry effects are shown to replace the big bang by a big bounce. Thus, quantum physics does not stop at the big-bang singularity. Rather there is a pre-big-bang branch joined to the current post-big-bang branch by a `quantum bridge'. Furthermore, thanks to the background independence of loop quantum gravity, evolution is deterministic across the bridge.

Abstract:
Employing standard results from spectral geometry, we provide strong evidence that in the classical limit the ground state of three-dimensional causal dynamical triangulations is de Sitter spacetime. This result is obtained by measuring the expectation value of the spectral dimension on the ensemble of geometries defined by these models, and comparing its large scale behaviour to that of a sphere (Euclidean de Sitter). From the same measurement we are also able to confirm the phenomenon of dynamical dimensional reduction observed in this and other approaches to quantum gravity -- the first time this has been done for three-dimensional causal dynamical triangulations. In this case, the value for the short-scale limit of the spectral dimension that we find is approximately 2. We comment on the relevance of these results for the comparison to asymptotic safety and Horava-Lifshitz gravity, among other approaches to quantum gravity.

Abstract:
An intersection of Noncommutative Geometry and Loop Quantum Gravity is proposed. Alain Connes' Noncommutative Geometry provides a framework in which the Standard Model of particle physics coupled to general relativity is formulated as a unified, gravitational theory. However, to this day no quantization procedure compatible with this framework is known. In this paper we consider the noncommutative algebra of holonomy loops on a functional space of certain spin-connections. The construction of a spectral triple is outlined and ideas on interpretation and classical limit are presented.