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:
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:
Let M be a connected, simply connected, closed and oriented manifold, and G a finite group acting on M by orientation preserving diffeomorphisms. In this paper we show an explicit ring isomorphism between the orbifold string topology of the orbifold [M/G] and the Hochschild cohomology of the dg-ring obtained by performing the smash product between the group G and the singular cochain complex of M.

Abstract:
The first goal of this survey paper is to argue that if orbifolds are groupoids, then the collection of orbifolds and their maps has to be thought of as a 2-category. Compare this with the classical definition of Satake and Thurston of orbifolds as a 1-category of sets with extra structure and/or with the "modern" definition of orbifolds as proper etale Lie groupoids up to Morita equivalence. The second goal is to describe two complementary ways of thinking of orbifolds as a 2-category: 1. the weak 2-category of foliation Lie groupoids, bibundles and equivariant maps between bibundles and 2. the strict 2-category of Deligne-Mumford stacks over the category of smooth manifolds.

Abstract:
We discuss some Z_N^L x Z_N^R orbifold compactifications of the type IIB superstring to D= 4,6 dimensions and their type I descendants. Although the Z_N^L x Z_N^R generators act asymmetrically on the chiral string modes, they result into left-right symmetric models that admit sensible unorientable reductions. We carefully work out the phases that appear in the modular transformations of the chiral amplitudes and identify the possibility of introducing discrete torsion. We propose a simplifying ansatz for the construction of the open-string descendants in which the transverse-channel Klein-bottle, annulus and Moebius-strip amplitudes are numerically identical in the proper parametrization of the world-sheet. A simple variant of the ansatz for the Z_2^L x Z_2^R orbifold gives rise to models with supersymmetry breaking in the open-string sector.

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:
We consider worldsheet string theory on $Z_N$ orbifolds of $AdS_3$ associated with conical singularities. If the orbifold action includes a similar twist of $S^3$, supersymmetry is preserved, and there is a moduli space of vacua arising from blowup modes of the orbifold singularity. We exhibit the spectrum, including the properties of twisted sectors and states obtained by fractional spectral flow. A subalgebra of the spacetime superconformal symmetry remains intact after the $Z_N$ quotient, and serves as the spacetime symmetry algebra of the orbifold.

Abstract:
We establish the general machinery of string topology for differentiable stacks. This machinery allows us to treat on an equal footing free loops in stacks and hidden loops. In particular, we give a good notion of a free loop stack, and of a mapping stack $\map(Y,\XX)$, where $Y$ is a compact space and $\XX$ a topological stack, which is functorial both in $\XX$ and $Y$ and behaves well enough with respect to pushouts. We also construct a bivariant (in the sense of Fulton and MacPherson) theory for topological stacks: it gives us a flexible theory of Gysin maps which are automatically compatible with pullback, pushforward and products. Further we prove an excess formula in this context. We introduce oriented stacks, generalizing oriented manifolds, which are stacks on which we can do string topology. We prove that the homology of the free loop stack of an oriented stack and the homology of hidden loops (sometimes called ghost loops) are a Frobenius algebra which are related by a natural morphism of Frobenius algebras. We also prove that the homology of free loop stack has a natural structure of a BV-algebra, which together with the Frobenius structure fits into an homological conformal field theories with closed positive boundaries. Using our general machinery, we construct an intersection pairing for (non necessarily compact) almost complex orbifolds which is in the same relation to the intersection pairing for manifolds as Chen-Ruan orbifold cup-product is to ordinary cup-product of manifolds. We show that the hidden loop product of almost complex is isomorphic to the orbifold intersection pairing twisted by a canonical class. Finally we gave some examples including the case of the classifying stacks $[*/G]$ of a compact Lie group.

Abstract:
A natural question is to determine which algebraic stacks are qoutient stacks. In this paper we give some partial answers and relate it to the old question of whether, for a scheme X, the natural map from the Brauer goup (equivalence classes of Azumaya algebras) to the cohomological Brauer group (the torsion subgroup of $H^2(X,{\mathbb G}_m)$ is surjective.

Abstract:
This paper is a continuations of the project initiated in the book string topology for stacks. We construct string operations on the SO(2)-equivariant homology of the (free) loop space $L(X)$ of an oriented differentiable stack $X$ and show that $H^{SO(2)}_{*+dim(X) -2}(L(X))$ is a graded Lie algebra. In the particular case where $X$ is a 2-dimensional orbifold we give a Goldman-type description for the string bracket. To prove these results, we develop a machinery of (weak) group actions on topological stacks which should be of independent interest. We explicitly construct the quotient stack of a group acting on a stack and show that it is a topological stack. Then use its homotopy type to define equivariant (co)homology for stacks, transfer maps, and so on.