Abstract:
In this article we explain discrete torsion. Put simply, discrete torsion is the choice of orbifold group action on the B field. We derive the classification H^2(G, U(1)), we derive the twisted sector phases appearing in string loop partition functions, we derive M. Douglas's description of discrete torsion for D-branes in terms of a projective representation of the orbifold group, and we outline how the results of Vafa-Witten fit into this framework. In addition, we observe that additional degrees of freedom (known as shift orbifolds) appear in describing orbifold group actions on B fields, in addition to those classified by H^2(G, U(1)), and explain how these new degrees of freedom appear in terms of twisted sector contributions to partition functions and in terms of orbifold group actions on D-brane worldvolumes. This paper represents a technically simplified version of prior papers by the author on discrete torsion. We repeat here technically simplified versions of results from those papers, and have included some new material.

Abstract:
Vacuumless defects in space-times with torsion may be obtained from vacuum defects in spacetimes without torsion.This idea is applied to planar domain walls and global monopoles.In the case of domain walls exponentially decaying Higgs type potentials are obtained.In the case of global monopoles torsion string type singularities are obtained like the string singularities in Dirac monopoles.

Abstract:
Spacetimes with everywhere vanishing curvature tensor, but with torsion different from zero only on world sheets that represent closed loops in ordinary space are presented, also defects along open curves with end points at infinity are studied. The case of defects along timelike loops is also considered and the geodesics in these spaces are briefly discussed.

Abstract:
In this short note we briefly review some recent developments in understanding discrete torsion. Specifically, we give a short overview of the highlights of a group of recent papers which give the basic understanding of discrete torsion. Briefly, those papers observe that discrete torsion can be completely understood simply as the choice of action of the orbifold group on the B field. We summarize the main points of that work.

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 technical note we give a purely geometric understanding of discrete torsion, as an analogue of orbifold Wilson lines for two-form tensor field potentials. In order to introduce discrete torsion in this context, we describe gerbes and the description of certain type II supergravity tensor field potentials as connections on gerbes. Discrete torsion then naturally appears in describing the action of the orbifold group on (1-)gerbes, just as orbifold Wilson lines appear in describing the action of the orbifold group on the gauge bundle. Our results are not restricted to trivial gerbes -- in other words, our description of discrete torsion applies equally well to compactifications with nontrivial H-field strengths. We also describe a speciric program for rigorously deriving analogues of discrete torsion for many of the other type II tensor field potentials, and we are able to make specific conjectures for the results.

Abstract:
We analyze the algebraic structures of G--Frobenius algebras which are the algebras associated to global group quotient objects. Here G is any finite group. These algebras turn out to be modules over the Drinfeld double of the group ring k[G]. We furthermore prove that discrete torsion is a universal group action of H^2(G,k^*) on G--Frobenius algebras by isomorphisms of the underlying linear structure. These morphisms are realized explicitly by taking the tensor product with twisted group rings. This gives an algebraic realization of discrete torsion and allows for a treatment analogous to the theory of projective representations of groups, group extensions and twisted group ring modules. Lastly, we identify another set of discrete universal transformations among G--Frobenius algebras pertaining to their super--structure and classified by Hom(G,Z/2Z).

Abstract:
We show how discrete torsion can be implemented in D=4, N=1 type IIB orientifolds. Some consistency conditions are found from the closed string and open string spectrum and from tadpole cancellation. Only real values of the discrete torsion parameter are allowed, i.e. epsilon=+-1. Orientifold models are related to real projective representations. In a similar way as complex projective representations are classified by H^2(Gamma,C^*)=H^2(Gamma,U(1)), real projective representations are characterized by H^2(Gamma,R^*)=H^2(Gamma,Z_2). Four different types of orientifold constructions are possible. We classify these models and give the spectrum and the tadpole cancellation conditions explicitly.

Abstract:
In a previous paper we outlined how discrete torsion can be understood geometrically as an analogue of orbifold U(1) Wilson lines. In this paper we shall prove the remaining details. More precisely, in this paper we describe gerbes in terms of objects known as stacks (essentially, sheaves of categories), and develop much of the basic theory of gerbes in such language. Then, once the relevant technology has been described, we give a first-principles geometric derivation of discrete torsion. In other words, we define equivariant gerbes, and classify equivariant structures on gerbes and on gerbes with connection. We prove that in general, the set of equivariant structures on a gerbe with connection is a torsor under a group which includes H^2(G,U(1)), where G is the orbifold group. In special cases, such as trivial gerbes, the set of equivariant structures can furthermore be canonically identified with the group.

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.