Abstract:
We review the construction of regular p-brane solutions of M-theory and string theory with less than maximal supersymmetry whose transverse spaces have metrics with special holonomy, and where additional fluxes allow brane resolutions via transgression terms. We focus on the properties of resolved M2-branes and fractional D2-branes, whose transverse spaces are Ricci flat eight-dimensional and seven-dimensional spaces of special holonomy. We also review fractional M2-branes with transverse spaces corresponding to the new two-parameter Spin(7) holonomy metrics, and their connection to fractional D2-branes with transverse spaces of G_2 holonomy.

Abstract:
We review the construction of regular p-brane solutions of M-theory and string theory with less than maximal supersymmetry whose transverse spaces have metrics with special holonomy, and where additional fluxes allow for brane resolutions via transgression terms. We summarize properties of resolved M2-branes and fractional D2-branes, whose transverse spaces are Ricci flat eight-dimensional and seven-dimensional spaces of special holonomy. Recent developments in the construction of new G_2 holonomy spaces are also reviewed.

Abstract:
We study the supergravity duals of supersymmetric theories arising in the world-volume of D6 branes wrapping holomorphic two-cycles and special Lagrangian three-cycles within the framework of eight dimensional gauged supergravity. When uplifted to 11d, our solutions represent M-theory on the background of, respectively, the small resolution of the conifold and a manifold with G_2 holonomy. We further discuss on the flop and other possible geometrical transitions and its implications.

Abstract:
We study the flow from the theory of D2-branes in a G2 holonomy background to M2-branes in a Spin(7) holonomy background. We consider in detail the UV and IR regimes, and the effect of topology change of the background on the field theory. We conjecture a non-Abelian N=1 mirror symmetry.

Abstract:
A brief, example-oriented introduction is given to special holonomy and its uses in string theory and M-theory. We discuss A_k singularities and their resolution; the construction of a K3 surface by resolving T^4/Z_2; holomorphic cycles, calibrations, and worldsheet instantons; aspects of the low-energy effective action for string compactifications; the significance of the standard embedding of the spin connection in the gauge group for heterotic string compactifications; G_2 holonomy and its relation to N=1 supersymmetric compactifications of M-theory; certain isolated G_2 singularities and their resolution; the Joyce construction of compact manifolds of G_2 holonomy; the relation of D6-branes to M-theory on special holonomy manifolds; gauge symmetry enhancement from light wrapped M2-branes; and chiral fermions from intersecting branes. These notes are based on lectures given at TASI '01.

Abstract:
This paper shows how to construct anomaly free world sheet actions in string theory with $D$-branes. Our method is to use Deligne cohomology and bundle gerbe theory to define geometric objects which are naturally associated to $D$-branes and connections on them. The holonomy of these connections can be used to cancel global anomalies in the world sheet action.

Abstract:
We discuss fluxes of RR and NSNS background fields in type II string compactifications on non-compact Calabi-Yau threefolds together with their dual brane description which involves bound states of branes. Simultaneously turning on RR and NSNS 2-form fluxes in an 1/2 supersymmetric way can be geometrically described in M-theory by a SL(2,Z) family of metrics of G(2) holonomy. On the other hand, if the flux configuration only preserves 1/4 of supersymmetries, we postulate the existence of a new eight-dimensional manifold with spin(7) holonomy, which does not seem to fit into the classes of known examples. The latter situation is dual to a 1/4 supersymmetric web of branes on the deformed conifold. In addition to the 2-form fluxes, we also present some considerations on type IIA NSNS 4-form and 6-form fluxes.

Abstract:
Compactifications of M-theory on manifolds with reduced holonomy arise as the local eleven-dimensional description of D6-branes wrapped on supersymmetric cycles in manifolds of lower dimension with a different holonomy group. Whenever the isometry group SU(2) is present, eight-dimensional gauged supergravity is a natural arena for such investigations. In this paper we use this approach and review the eleven dimensional description of D6-branes wrapped on coassociative 4-cycles, on deformed 3-cycles inside Calabi-Yau threefolds and on Kahler 4-cycles.

Abstract:
A dual pair of supersymmetric string theories that involves an asymmetric orbifold and an orientifold of Type II is considered. The D-branes of the orbifold theory (that were recently determined by Gutperle) are all non-BPS and do not carry any conserved gauge charges. It is shown that they carry non-trivial K-theory charges, and that they can be understood in terms of branes wrapping certain homology classes of the M-theory compactification. Using the adiabatic argument, dual partners of some of these non-BPS D-branes are proposed. The relations between these dual states are found to be in agreement with the M-theory description of the D-branes.

Abstract:
These notes give a pedagogical introduction to D-branes and Matrix theory. The development of the material is based on super Yang-Mills theory, which is the low-energy field theory describing multiple D-branes. The main goal of these notes is to describe physical properties of D-branes in the language of Yang-Mills theory, without recourse to string theory methods. This approach is motivated by the philosophy of Matrix theory, which asserts that all the physics of light-front M-theory can be described by an appropriate super Yang-Mills theory.