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January 7, 2011

Stasheff: Parallel Transport – Revisited

Posted by Urs Schreiber

[Jim Stasheff is asking me to forward the following to the blog..]


guest post by Jim Stasheff

Here is a pdf file that I prepared which contains a discussion of parallel transport from a/my own homotopy point of view:

Parallel transport, holonomy and all that – a homotopy point of view

Posted at January 7, 2011 7:47 PM UTC

TrackBack URL for this Entry:   http://golem.ph.utexas.edu/cgi-bin/MT-3.0/dxy-tb.fcgi/2338

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Re: Stasheff: Parallel Transport – Revisited

Smooth fire bundles?

Posted by: Daniel Moskovich on January 8, 2011 11:40 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Stasheff: Parallel Transport – Revisited

Definitely not assuming smoothness much less a bundle,
that is, a fibration, a map with the homotopy lifting property.

It involves a notion of action up to strong(=coherent) homotopy for which there is now a discussion over at the n-forum.

Posted by: jim stasheff on January 9, 2011 1:25 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Stasheff: Parallel Transport – Revisited

for which there is now a discussion over at the nn-forum.

There is an entry \infty-representations that lists some general ideas and some references and an entry higher parallel transport that has a section on flat \infty-parallel transport in TopTop indended to put into perspective the construction that Jim is presenting here.

The discussion thread on the nnForum is here.

As soon as Jim sends me a new version of his pdf, I’ll link to it here.

Posted by: Urs Schreiber on January 9, 2011 1:02 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Stasheff: Parallel Transport – Revisited

an entry higher parallel transport that has a section on flat ∞-parallel transport in Top

Another remark along these lines is now at TopTop as a cohesive \infty-topos.

Posted by: Urs Schreiber on January 14, 2011 8:30 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Stasheff: Parallel Transport – Revisited

Jim has sent a new revised and expanded version of his note.

Please see the updated link in the entry above.

Posted by: Urs Schreiber on January 23, 2011 9:48 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Stasheff: Parallel Transport – Revisited

I’m having trouble getting my .pdf reader to read this.

I recently asked a question on Math Overflow which seems to be related to this.

Posted by: Todd Trimble on January 23, 2011 10:46 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Stasheff: Parallel Transport – Revisited

I’m having trouble getting my .pdf reader to read this.

Not sure what I can do. The new version has a bunch of colorful graphics of simplices. On my system this does display, but when I point my pdf reader to these graphics pages it suffers from something that makes it becomes slow to the point that it might seem it has frozen.

Posted by: Urs Schreiber on January 23, 2011 11:46 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Stasheff: Parallel Transport – Revisited

Maybe it will become visible if someone can tell me how to convert pdf to eps that can become input into the master file

jim the luddite

Posted by: jim stasheff on January 24, 2011 1:39 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Stasheff: Parallel Transport – Revisited

Hi Todd,

you write:

I recently asked a question on Math Overflow which seems to be related to this.

I am not sure in which way you think of Jim’s notes here as related to your question there. Methinks what Jim is describing here is rather orthogonal to the discussion there. (But of course all these things are related in a web of relations.)

What I do see is a relation between the MO-answer by Bill Thurston that you have checked as correct (or whatever that check mark means): the simplicial model for BGB G involving connections that Thurston sketches is what in Jim’s latest article Čech cocycles for differential characteristic classes is denoted BG diff\mathbf{B}G_{diff}.

I think in the notes posted in this entry here, Jim is doing something else. To see if we can agree on it, let me try to summarize the situation in my words:

Jim considers topological fibrations EBE \to B with fiber FF. Write Aut(F)Aut(F) for the “automorphism \infty-group” of FF, which we may think of as realized as a topological group. In any case we have a delooping BAut(F)B Aut(F) and the fibration EBE \to B is classified by a map BBAut(F)B \to B Aut(F). It is the FF-\infty-bundle associated to the Aut(F)Aut(F)-principal \infty-bundle that is classified by BBAut(F)B \to B Aut(F).

Now we want to think of this situation in terms of higher parallel transport and (flat!) topological \infty-connections. We may simply apply the fundamental \infty-groupoid functor

Sing:TopsSet Sing : Top \to sSet

to the situation to obtain for every FF-fibration a “flat \infty-parallel transport” (what Jim in his note calls a “representation up tp homotopy”)

SingBSingBAut(F). Sing B \to Sing B Aut(F) \,.

Here since SingSing is right adjoint and in fact even an equivalence in the correct sense, we may pass it through the delooping and the automorphisms and think of this as

θ:SingBBAutF, \theta : Sing B \to B Aut F \,,

where now the symbols on the right are implicitly with their meaning in sSetsSet.

This is, I think, what unwinds in components to Jim’s definition 3.1.

So what happens is that we re-think the topological classifying map in terms of parallel transport, by invoking the homotopy-hypothesis-equivalence.

And then theorem 8 and the statement of section 4 follow from the above statement of classification of fibrations in TopTop, using that SingSing is an equivalence: every fibration EBE \to B admits a flat \infty-parallel transport SingBBAut(F)Sing B \to B Aut(F) and may be reconstructed from it.

Or rather, conversely, what Jim does in his note is to provide explicit combinatorial formulas to present this general abstract construction concretely.

The situation to compare this to is the canonical connection on a GG-principal bundle for GG a discrete group, this is essentially unique and flat, and its holonomy entirely classifies that bundle. Here we have the \infty-version of this situation:

we are to think of a topological space/simplicial set analogously as a discrete \infty-groupoid, hence of Aut(F)Aut(F) as a discrete \infty-group. Accordingly, we find that every Aut(F)Aut(F)-principal \infty-bundle has an essentially unique flat \infty-connection and may be reconstructed from the parallel transport of the flat \infty-connection.

In conclusion, I think if we apply this to your MO question, we find ourselves in a trivial setup: we’d need to assume the group GG in your setup to be discrete. Then SingBGSing B G is canonically modeled as the groupoid (G)(G \stackrel{\to}{\to} \bullet) which we may think of as {g}\{\bullet \stackrel{g}{\to} \bullet\} where now indeed every arrow is labeled by the holonomy of the unique and flat connection evaluated around it (since GG is discrete). Then the intuition that the map ΩBGG\Omega B G \to G is given by evaluating parallel transport becomes true in a precise but essentially tautological sense.

To go beyond that tautological sense, one needs to consider smooth structure and non-dicrete \infty-groups.

Posted by: Urs Schreiber on January 24, 2011 12:52 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Stasheff: Parallel Transport – Revisited

Urs wrote:

you write:

I recently asked a question on Math Overflow which seems to be related to this.

I am not sure in which way you think of Jim’s notes here as related to your question there.

I should have written, “which I am guessing is related to this.” As I said, I cannot even see Jim’s notes.

Jim, could you email me a copy, please?

Posted by: Todd Trimble on January 24, 2011 7:17 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Stasheff: Parallel Transport – Revisited

As I said, I cannot even see Jim’s notes.

Sorry, I thought you had seen the earlier version, just not the revised version with the figures.

The earlier version without figures is still available under the same URL as the new version, just replace in the filename “v02” with “v01”.

(I don’t want to link to it anymore, since I believe we want Google to forget about the earlier version and instead make it find the new one.)

Posted by: Urs Schreiber on January 24, 2011 2:32 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Stasheff: Parallel Transport – Revisited

If you have trouble seeing the graphics,
just e-mail me for a copy (how primitive!)

I will respond to Todd’s question on mathoverflow

Posted by: jim stasheff on January 24, 2011 1:30 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Stasheff: Parallel Transport – Revisited

Ah memory. More accessible references are
Parallel transport and classification of fibrations, Lecture Notes in Math 428 (1974),
1-17.

and

H-spaces and classifying spaces, I-IV, AMS Proc. Symp. Pure Math. 22 (1971), section II pp. 259-262

Posted by: jim stasheff on January 29, 2011 9:54 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

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