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December 23, 2005

Müger on Doplicher-Roberts

Posted by Urs Schreiber

Yesterday Michael Müger gave two very nice talks on the (various flavors of the) Doplicher-Roberts reconstruction theorem, on occasion of his new, drastically simplified proof of this classical result:

Michael Müger
Abstract Duality Theory for Symmetric Tensor *-categories
available here.

The original proof by Doplicher and Roberts was spread over several papers and had around 200 pages. The new one fits, self-containedly with an introduction to the category theoretic language included, snugly into 40 pages.

As far as I understood, the main point is that once you use nowadays obvious category-theoretic reasoning and building on ideas by Deligne concerning this problem, the problem becomes pretty easy. Once you know how to do it, that is.

If you wonder why the above paper seems to start with an appendix, note that it is an appendix, namely to

Hans Halvoren
Quantum Field Theory: Algebraic
to appear in
J. Butterfield & J. Earman (eds.)
Handbook of Philosophy and Physics

So, yes, the ‘physical’ motivation for this is algebraic QFT, which - unfortunately - only describes physically uninteresting field theories so far. Therefore, no one of our string theory group bothered to attend the talk.

But, as Müger emphasized, already these physically trivial QFTs give rise to lots of very interesting mathematics, in particular to something that Michael Müger calls a Galois theory of local quantum fields. That was mainly the topic of his second talk, which I am not going to go into right now.

In case there is anyone out there who knows what a category is but not what the Doplicher-Roberts theorem says, here is a brief outline.

Given a compact group G, its category Rep f(G) of unitary finite dimensional representation over (no guarantee that I give exactly all the right qulifications in the following!) is well known to be a symmetric tensor-*-category.

The question is, conversely, given any symmetric tensor *-category, is it equivalent to Rep f(G) for some compact G?

This turns out to be almost true.

Call a concrete symmetric tensor-*-category one that is a subcategory (in general not a full subcategory, of course) of that of finite dimensional Hilbert spaces Hilb f. For this case Tannaka proved in 1939 (in an article in German language but published in a Japanese journal), that, yes, such a G exists and is unique up to isomorphism.

More generally, though, we may have any (‘abstract’) symmetric tensor-*-category which does not arise as a subcategory of Hilb. In this case there is more freedom. Essentially (and unsurprisingly for the physicists Doplicher and Roberts but apparently more suprisingly for instance for the mathematician Deligne) this is because of the existence of fermionic symmetries. So this means that we really have to work not just with Hilbert spaces but with graded/super Hilbert spaces.

Given an abstract tensor *-category with End(1 )= and assuming there is at least one faithful symmetric *-preserving tensor functor from this to Hilb then the category of such functors is a connected groupoid and the symmetric tensor-*-category is equivalent to the representation category of the vertex group of this groupoid. This is also due to Tannaka.

Such a functor to Hilb need not exist. But if we super everything, then it does.

More precisely, let’s call a group G with a specified element σG of order 2, σ 2 =1 , a 2 -graded group (G,σ). Then Rep f(G,σ) is defined to be equal to Rep f(G) as tensor-*-categories but with the usual signs introduced when graded Hilbert spaces are commuted.

Combining results by Doplicher-Roberts and Deligne we then find that for every symmetric tensor-*-category C with End(1 )=

1) there does exist a symmetric *-preserving functor

(1)E:CSuperHilb f

2) E is unique up to isomorphism

3) the group of natural automorphisms of E is a compact graded group - that’s the group we are after

Posted at December 23, 2005 12:38 PM UTC

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