Tuesday, July 9, 2013

1307.2171 (Giacomo Dossena)

Sylvester's law of inertia for quadratic forms on vector bundles    [PDF]

Giacomo Dossena
This paper presents a generalisation of Sylvester's law of inertia to real non-degenerate quadratic forms on a fixed real vector bundle over a connected locally connected paracompact Hausdorff space. By interpreting the classical inertia as a complete discrete invariant for the natural action of the general linear group on quadratic forms, the simplest generalisation consists in substituting such group with the group of gauge transformations of the bundle. Contrary to the classical law of inertia, here the full action and its restriction to the identity path component typically have different orbits, leading to two invariants: a complete invariant for the full action is given by the isomorphism class of the orthonormal frame bundle associated to a quadratic form, while a complete invariant for the restricted action is the homotopy class of any maximal positive-definite subbundle associated to a quadratic form. The latter invariant is finer than the former, which in turn is finer than inertia. Moreover, the orbit structure thus obtained might be used to shed light on the topology of the space of non-degenerate quadratic forms on a vector bundle.
View original: http://arxiv.org/abs/1307.2171

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