Let U be the quantized enveloping algebra coming from a semi-simple finite dimensional complex Lie algebra. Lusztig has defined a canonical basis B for the minus part of U- of U. It has the remarkable property that one gets a basis of each highest-weight irreducible U-module V, with highest weight vector v, as the set of all bv which are not 0, as b varies in B. It is not known how to give the elements b explicitly, although there are algorithms.

For each reduced expression of the longest word in the Weyl group, Lusztig has defined a PBW basis P of U-, and for each b in B there is a unique p(b) in P such that b = p(b) + a linear combination of p' in P where the coefficients are in qZ[q]. This is much easier in the simply laced case. I show that the set of p(b)v, where b varies in B and bv is not 0, is a basis of V, and I can explicitly exhibit this basis in type A, and to some extent in types B, C, D.

It is known that B and P are crystal bases in the sense of Kashiwara. I will define Kashiwara operators, and briefly describe Kashiwara's approach to canonical bases, which he calls global bases. I show how one can calculate the Kashiwara operators acting on P, in types A, B, C, D, using tableaux of Kashiwara-Nakashima.