For a semisimple modular tensor category the Reshetikhin-Turaev construction yields an extended three-dimensional topological field theory and hence by restriction a modular functor. By work of Lyubachenko-Majid the construction of a modular functor from a modular tensor category remains possible in the non-semisimple case. We explain that the latter construction is the shadow of a derived modular functor featuring homotopy coherent mapping class group actions on chain complex valued conformal blocks and a version of factorization and self-sewing via homotopy coends. On the torus we find a derived version of the Verlinde algebra, an algebra over the little disk operad (or more generally a little bundles algebra in the case of equivariant field theories). The concepts will be illustrated for modules over the Drinfeld double of a finite group in finite characteristic. This is joint work with Christoph Schweigert (Hamburg).

# Past Topology Seminar

Knots and their groups are a traditional topic of geometric topology. In this talk, I will explain how aspects of the subject can be approached as a homotopy theorist, rephrasing old results and leading to new ones. Part of this reports on joint work with Tyler Lawson.

(joint work with E. Piguet-Nakazawa)

In 2014, Andersen and Kashaev defined an infinite-dimensional TQFT from quantum Teichmüller theory. This Teichmüller TQFT is an invariant of triangulated 3-manifolds, in particular knot complements.

The associated volume conjecture states that the Teichmüller TQFT of an hyperbolic knot complement contains the volume of the knot as a certain asymptotical coefficient, and Andersen-Kashaev proved this conjecture for the first two hyperbolic knots.

In this talk I will present the construction of the Teichmüller TQFT and how we approached this volume conjecture for the infinite family of twist knots, by constructing new geometric triangulations of the knot complements.

No prerequisites in Quantum Topology are needed.

This is a report on work in progress with Jingyin Huang. The complement of an arrangement of linear hyperplanes in a complex vector space has a natural “Borel-Serre bordification” as a smooth manifold with corners. Its universal cover is analogous to the Borel-Serre bordification of an arithmetic lattice acting on a symmetric space as well as to the Harvey bordification of Teichmuller space. In the first case the boundary of this bordification is homotopy equivalent to a spherical building; in the second case it is homotopy equivalent to curve complex of the surface. In the case of a reflection arrangement the boundary of its universal cover is the “curve complex” of the corresponding spherical Artin group. By definition this is the simplicial complex of all conjugates of proper, irreducible, spherical parabolic subgroups in the Artin group. A cohomological method is used to show that the curve complex of a spherical Artin group has the homotopy type of a wedge of spheres.

For any word w in a free group of rank r>0, and any compact group G, w induces a `word map' from G^r to G by substitutions of elements of G for the letters of w. We may also choose the r elements of G independently with respect to Haar measure on G, and then apply the word map. This gives a random element of G whose distribution depends on w. An interesting observation is that this distribution doesn't change if we change w by an automorphism of the free group. It is a wide open question whether the measures induced by w on compact groups determine w up to automorphisms.

My talk will be mostly about the case G = U(n), the n by n complex unitary matrices. The technical tool we use is a precise formula for the moments of the distribution induced by w on U(n). In the formula, there is a surprising appearance of concepts from infinite group theory, more specifically, Euler characteristics of mapping class groups of surfaces. I'll explain how our formula allows us to make progress on the question described above.

This is joint work with Doron Puder (Tel Aviv).

A group is said to satisfy the Tits Alternative if its finitely generated subgroups exhibit a striking dichotomy: they are either "big" (they contain a non-abelian free subgroup) or "small" (they are virtually soluble). Many groups of geometric interest have been shown to satisfy the Tits Alternative: linear groups, mapping class groups of hyperbolic surfaces, etc. In this talk, I will explain how one can use ideas from group actions in negative curvature to prove such a dichotomy. In particular, I will show how one can prove a strengthening of the Tits Alternative for a large class of Artin groups. This is joint work with Piotr Przytycki.

A two-dimensional, minimally Supersymmetric Quantum Field Theory is "nullhomotopic" if it can be deformed to one with spontaneous supersymmetry breaking, including along deformations that are allowed to "flow up" along RG flow lines. SQFTs modulo nullhomotopic SQFTs form a graded abelian group $SQFT_\bullet$. There are many SQFTs with nonzero index; these are definitely not nullhomotopic, and indeed represent nontorision classes in $SQFT_\bullet$. But relations to topological modular forms suggests that $SQFT_\bullet$ also has rich torsion. Based on an analysis of mock modularity and holomorphic anomalies, I will describe explicitly a "secondary invariant" of SQFTs and use it to show that a certain element of $SQFT_3$ has exact order $24$. This work is joint with D. Gaiotto and E. Witten.

We prove that every rational homology cobordism class in the subgroup generated

by lens spaces contains a unique connected sum of lens spaces whose first homology embeds in

any other element in the same class. As a consequence we show that several natural maps to

the rational homology cobordism group have infinite rank cokernels, and obtain a divisibility

condition between the determinants of certain 2-bridge knots and other knots in the same

concordance class. This is joint work with Daniele Celoria and JungHwan Park.

In a recent paper, Basterra, Bobkova, Ponto, Tillmann and Yeakel defined

topological operads with homological stability (OHS) and proved that the

group completion of an algebra over an OHS is weakly equivalent to an

infinite loop space.

In this talk, I shall outline a construction which to an algebra A over

an OHS associates a new infinite loop space. Under mild conditions on

the operad, this space is equivalent as an infinite loop space to the

group completion of A. This generalises a result of Wahl on the

equivalence of the two infinite loop space structures constructed by

Tillmann on the classifying space of the stable mapping class group. I

shall also talk about an application of this construction to stable

moduli spaces of high-dimensional manifolds in thesense of Galatius and

Randal-Williams.

We will discuss a variant of Taubes’s Seiberg-Witten to Gromov theorem in the context of a 4-manifold with cylindrical ends, equipped with a nontrivial harmonic 2-form. This harmonic 2-form is allowed to be asymptotic to 0 on some (but not all) of its ends, and may have nondegenerate zeros along 1-submanifolds. Corollaries include various positivity results; some simple special cases of these constitute a key ingredient in Kutluhan-Lee-Taubes’s proof of HM = HF (Monopole Floer homology equals Heegaard Floer homology). The aforementioned general theorem is motivated by (potential) extensions of the HM = HF and Lee-Taubes’s HM = PFH (Periodic Floer homology) theorems.