Stable twisted cohomology via scanning

13 March 2017
Oscar Randal-Williams

The technique of scanning, or the parameterised Pontrjagin--Thom construction, has been extraordinarily successful in calculating the cohomology of configuration spaces (McDuff), moduli spaces of Riemann surfaces (Madsen, Tillmann, Weiss), moduli spaces of graphs (Galatius), and moduli spaces of manifolds of higher dimension (Galatius, R-W, Botvinnik, Perlmutter), with constant coefficients. In each case the method also works to study the cohomology of moduli spaces of objects equipped with a "tangential structure". I will explain how choosing an auxiliary highly-symmetric tangential structure often lets one calculate the cohomology of these moduli spaces with large families of twisted coefficients, by exploiting the symmetries of the tangential structure and using a little representation theory.