Abstract:
This is the writeup of a lecture given at the May Wisconsin workshop on mathematical aspects of orbifold string theory. In the first part of this lecture, we review recent work on discrete torsion, and outline how it is currently understood in terms of the B field. In the second part of this lecture, we discuss the relationship between quotient stacks and string orbifolds.

Abstract:
Some examples of Type-I vacua related to non geometric orbifolds are shown. In particular, the open descendants of the diagonal $Z_3$ orbifold are compared with the geometric ones. Although not chiral, these models exhibit some interesting properties, like twisted sectors in the open-string spectra and the presence of ``quantized'' geometric moduli, a key ingredient to ensure their perturbative consistency and to explain the rank reduction of their Chan-Paton groups.

Abstract:
It is observed that a large class of $(2,2)$ string vacua with $n>5$ superfields can be rewritten as Landau_Ginzburg orbifolds with discrete torsion and $n=5$. The naive geometric interpretation (if one exists) would be that of a complex 3-fold, not necessarily K\"ahler but still with vanishing first Chern class.

Abstract:
In this paper we make two observations related to discrete torsion. First, we observe that an old obscure degree of freedom (momentum/translation shifts) in (symmetric) string orbifolds is related to discrete torsion. We point out how our previous derivation of discrete torsion from orbifold group actions on B fields includes these momentum lattice shift phases, and discuss how they are realized in terms of orbifold group actions on D-branes. Second, we describe the M theory dual of IIA discrete torsion, a duality relation to our knowledge not previously understood. We show that IIA discrete torsion is encoded in analogues of the shift orbifolds above for the M theory C field.

Abstract:
In this short note we review the main features of open-string orbifolds with a quantised flux for the NS-NS antisymmetric tensor in the context of the open descendants of non-supersymmetric asymmetric orbifolds with a vanishing cosmological constant.

Abstract:
We consider the interpretation in classical geometry of conformal field theories constructed from orbifolds with discrete torsion. In examples we can analyze, these spacetimes contain ``stringy regions'' that from a classical point of view are singularities that are to be neither resolved nor blown up. Some of these models also give particularly simple and clear examples of mirror symmetry.

Abstract:
We find the orbifold analog of the topological relation recently found by Freed and Witten which restricts the allowed D-brane configurations of Type II vacua with a topologically non-trivial flat $B$-field. The result relies in Douglas proposal -- which we derive from worldsheet consistency conditions -- of embedding projective representations on open string Chan-Paton factors when considering orbifolds with discrete torsion. The orbifold action on open strings gives a natural definition of the algebraic K-theory group -- using twisted cross products -- responsible for measuring Ramond-Ramond charges in orbifolds with discrete torsion. We show that the correspondence between fractional branes and Ramond-Ramond fields follows in an interesting fashion from the way that discrete torsion is implemented on open and closed strings.

Abstract:
In this short review we outline some recent developments in understanding string orbifolds. In particular, we outline the recent observation that string orbifolds do not precisely describe string propagation on quotient spaces, but rather are literally sigma models on objects called quotient stacks, which are closely related to (but not quite the same as) quotient spaces. We show how this is an immediate consequence of definitions, and also how this explains a number of features of string orbifolds, from the fact that the CFT is well-behaved to orbifold Euler characteristics. Put another way, many features of string orbifolds previously considered ``stringy'' are now understood as coming from the target-space geometry; one merely needs to identify the correct target-space geometry.

Abstract:
In this note we observe that, contrary to the usual lore, string orbifolds do not describe strings on quotient spaces, but rather seem to describe strings on objects called quotient stacks, a result that follows from simply unraveling definitions, and is further justified by a number of results. Quotient stacks are very closely related to quotient spaces; for example, when the orbifold group acts freely, the quotient space and the quotient stack are homeomorphic. We explain how sigma models on quotient stacks naturally have twisted sectors, and why a sigma model on a quotient stack would be a nonsingular CFT even when the associated quotient space is singular. We also show how to understand twist fields in this language, and outline the derivation of the orbifold Euler characteristic purely in terms of stacks. We also outline why there is a sense in which one naturally finds B nonzero on exceptional divisors of resolutions. These insights are not limited to merely understanding existing string orbifolds: we also point out how this technology enables us to understand orbifolds in M-theory, as well as how this means that string orbifolds provide the first example of an entirely new class of string compactifications. As quotient stacks are not a staple of the physics literature, we include a lengthy tutorial on quotient stacks.

Abstract:
We study complex hyperbolicity in the setting of geometric orbifolds introduced by F. Campana. Generalizing classical methods to this context, we obtain degeneracy statements for entire curves with ramification in situations where no Second Main Theorem is known from value distribution theory.