Standard commutative algebra is based on the notions of commutative monoid, Abelian group and commutative ring. In recent years, motivations from category theory, algebraic geometry, and mathematical logic led to the development of an area that may be called commutative 2-algebra, in which the notions used in commutative algebra are replaced by their category-theoretic counterparts (e.g. commutative monoids are replaced by symmetric monoidal categories). The aim of this talk is to explain the analogy between standard commutative algebra and commutative 2-algebra, and to outline how this suggests counterparts of basic aspects of algebraic geometry. In particular, I will describe some joint work with Andre’ Joyal on operads and analytic functors in this context.

# Past Logic Seminar

In joint work with Todor Tsankov, we show that the automorphism groups of countable, omega-categorical structures have Kazhdan's property (T). The proof uses Tsankov's work on the unitary representations of these groups, together with a construction of a particular free subgroup of the automorphism group.

There is a tight fit between type theories à la Martin-Löf and constructive set theories such as Constructive Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory, CZF, and its extension as well as classical Kripke-Platek set theory and extensions thereof. The technology for determining their (exact) proof-theoretic strength was developed in the 1990s. The situation is rather different when it comes to type theories (with universes) having the impredicative type of propositions Prop from the Calculus of Constructions that features in some powerful proof assistants. Aczel's sets-as-types interpretation into these type theories gives rise to rather unusual set-theoretic axioms: negative power set and negative separation. But it is not known how to determine the proof-theoretic strengths of intuitionistic set theories with such axioms via familiar classical set theories (though it is not difficult to see that ZFC plus infinitely many inaccessibles provides an upper bound). The first part of the talk will be a survey of known results from this area. The second part will be concerned with the rather special computational and proof-theoretic behavior of such theories.

A compact space is a Rosenthal compactum if it can be embedded into the space of Baire class 1 functions on a Polish space. Those objects have been well studied in functional analysis and set theory. In this talk, I will explain the link between them and the model-theoretic notion of NIP and how they can be used to prove new results in model theory on the topology of the space of types.

NOTE CHANGE OF TIME AND PLACE

It is known by results of Macintyre and Chatzidakis-Hrushovski that the theory ACFA of existentially closed difference fields is decidable. By developing techniques of difference algebraic geometry, we view quantifier elimination as an instance of a direct image theorem for Galois formulae on difference schemes. In a context where we restrict ourselves to directly presented difference schemes whose definition only involves algebraic correspondences, we develop a coarser yet effective procedure, resulting in a primitive recursive quantifier elimination. We shall discuss various algebraic applications of Galois stratification and connections to fields with Frobenius.

We present some recent work - joint with Arno Fehm - in which we give an `existential Ax-Kochen-Ershov principle' for equicharacteristic henselian valued fields. More precisely, we show that the existential theory of such a valued field depends only on the existential theory of the residue field. In residue characteristic zero, this result is well-known and follows from the classical Ax-Kochen-Ershov Theorems. In arbitrary (but equal) characteristic, our proof uses F-V Kuhlmann's theory of tame fields. One corollary is an unconditional proof that the existential theory of F_q((t)) is decidable. We will explain how this relates to the earlier conditional proof of this result, due to Denef and Schoutens.

The field of transseries was introduced by Ecalle to give a solution to Dulac's problem, a weakening of Hilbert's 16th problem. They form an elementary extension of the real exponential field and have received the attention of model theorists. Another such elementary extension is given by Conway's surreal numbers, and various connections with the transseries have been conjectured, among which the possibility of introducing a Hardy type derivation on the surreal numbers. I will present a complete solution to these conjectures obtained in collaboration with Vincenzo Mantova.

Let $K\subset {\mathbb R}$ be a compact definable set in an o-minimal structure over $\mathbb R$, e.g. a semi-algebraic or a real analytic set. A definable family $\{S_\delta\ | 0<\delta\in{\mathbb R}\}$ of compact subsets of $K$, is called a *monotone family* if $S_\delta\subset S_\eta$ for all sufficiently small $\delta>\eta>0$. The main result in the talk is that when $\dim K=2$ or $\dim K=n=3$ there exists a definable triangulation of $K$ such that for each (open) simplex $\Lambda$ of the triangulation and each small enough $\delta>0$, the intersections $S_\delta\cap\Lambda$ is *equivalent* to one of five (respectively, nine) standard families in the standard simplex (the equivalence relation and a standard family will be formally defined). As a consequence, we prove the two-dimensional case of the topological conjecture on approximation of definable sets by compact families.

This is joint work with Andrei Gabrielov (Purdue).

Let ${\cal E}$ be a family of elliptic curves over a base variety defined over $\mathbb C$. An additive extension ${\cal G}$ of ${\cal E}$ is a family of algebraic groups which fits into an exact sequence of group schemes $0\rightarrow {\mathbb G}_{\rm a}\rightarrow {\cal G}\rightarrow {\cal E}\rightarrow 0$. We can define the special subvarieties of ${\cal G}$ to be families of algebraic groups over the same base contained in ${\cal G}$. The relative Manin-Mumford conjecture suggests that the intersection of a curve in ${\cal G}$ with the special subvarieties of dimension 0 is contained in a finite union of special subvarieties.

To prove this we can assume that the family ${\cal E}$ is the Legendre family and then follow the strategy employed by Masser-Zannier for their proof of the relative Manin-Mumford conjecture for the fibred product of two legendre families. This has applications to classical problems such as the theory of elementary integration and Pell's equation in polynomials.