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    • CommentRowNumber1.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeMar 22nd 2019
    • (edited Mar 22nd 2019)

    am giving this group its own entry, so that every entry using it (such as quaternion-Kähler manifold) makes sure that the notation is not being confused with the direct product group.

    What’s the source of this notation?

    v1, current

    • CommentRowNumber2.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeMar 22nd 2019
    • (edited Mar 22nd 2019)

    added this statement:

    There is then a commuting diagram of Lie groups

    Sp(2)×Sp(1) Spin(8) Sp(2)Sp(1) SO(8) \array{ Sp(2) \times Sp(1) &\longrightarrow& Spin(8) \\ \big\downarrow && \big\downarrow \\ Sp(2) \cdot Sp(1) &\longrightarrow& SO(8) }

    with the horizontal maps being group homomorphisms to Spin(8) and SO(8), respectively, the left morphism being the defining quotient projection and the right morphism the double cover morphism that defines the spin group.

    I suppose it’s true for general nn, with 8 on the right generalized to 4n4n, but I leave it as is for the moment.

    diff, v2, current

    • CommentRowNumber3.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeMar 22nd 2019
    • (edited Mar 24th 2019)

    added under Examples the following quick remark (deserves to be beautified):

    The case of Sp(n)Sp(1)Sp(n)\cdot Sp(1) for n=1n = 1 is special, as in this case the canonical inclusion Sp(n)Sp(1)SO(4n)Sp(n)\cdot Sp(1) \hookrightarrow SO(4n) becomes an isomorphism

    Sp(1)Sp(1)SO(4) Sp(1)\cdot Sp(1) \;\simeq\; SO(4)

    with the special orthogonal group SO(4), and hence the compatibility diagram (eq:CompatibilityDiagram) now exhibits at the top the exceptional isomorphism Sp(1)×Sp(1)Sp(1) \times Sp(1) \simeq Spin(4) (see there)

    Sp(1)×Sp(1) Spin(4) Sp(1)Sp(1) SO(4) \array{ Sp(1) \times Sp(1) &\overset{\simeq}{\longrightarrow}& Spin(4) \\ \big\downarrow && \big\downarrow \\ Sp(1) \cdot Sp(1) &\overset{\simeq}{\longrightarrow}& SO(4) }
    • CommentRowNumber4.
    • CommentAuthorJames Francese
    • CommentTimeMar 24th 2019

    Currently I’m traveling and in areas with very unreliable internet; soon I will be able to add something about this notation and fill out a few points of this quaternionic stuff. I seem to recall the origins of this notation are Italian and may come from Marchiafava in the early 70s, when hyperkähler research started really expanding.

    • CommentRowNumber5.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeMar 24th 2019

    Thanks! No rush, but when you do have time, I’d be interested in seeing this.

    • CommentRowNumber6.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeMar 31st 2019
    • (edited Mar 31st 2019)

    Does anyone discuss Sp(1)Sp(1)Sp(1)Sp(1)Sp(1)Sp(1)-structure on 8-manifolds?

    Not sure if this is established notation: By Sp(1)Sp(1)Sp(1)Sp(1)Sp(1)Sp(1) I mean the quotient group of Sp(1)×Sp(1)×Sp(1)Sp(1)\times Sp(1) \times Sp(1) by the triply diagonal center /2={(1,1,1),(1,1,1)}\mathbb{Z}/2 = \{(1,1,1), (-1,-1,-1)\}. So that’s the group Spin(4)Spin(3)Spin(4)\cdot Spin(3).

    In other words, I am thinking of the subgroup

    Sp(1)Sp(1)Sp(1)Sp(2)Sp(1) Sp(1)Sp(1)Sp(1) \hookrightarrow Sp(2)\cdot Sp(1)

    which is the canonical inclusion Sp(1)×Sp(1)Sp(2)Sp(1) \times Sp(1) \hookrightarrow Sp(2) “dotted” with the identity on Sp(1)Sp(1).

    What I’d really like to know is this:

    the integral cohomology of B(Sp(1)×Sp(1))BSpin(4)B \big( Sp(1) \times Sp(1)\big) \simeq B Spin(4) has a generator 12χ+14p 1\tfrac{1}{2}\chi + \tfrac{1}{4} p_1. Might that generator extend to B(Sp(1)Sp(1)Sp(1))B \big(Sp(1)Sp(1)Sp(1) \big)?

    [edit: the group in question is that in Lemma 6.2 of Kerr 96 ]

    • CommentRowNumber7.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeMar 31st 2019

    I have been collectng references concerned with that group GSpin(4)Spin(3)(Sp(1)) 3/ diag 2G \coloneqq Spin(4)\cdot Spin(3) \simeq \big( Sp(1)\big)^3 /_{diag} \mathbb{Z}_2 : (here).

    Still don’t know the cohomological characterization of such GG-structure, but maybe I am getting closer…

    diff, v7, current

    • CommentRowNumber8.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeMar 31st 2019

    added an Examples-section on Sp(1)Sp(1)Sp(1)Sp(1)Sp(1)Sp(1) (here)

    diff, v7, current

    • CommentRowNumber9.
    • CommentAuthorJames Francese
    • CommentTimeApr 1st 2019
    • (edited Apr 1st 2019)

    It is actually hard to pin down the earliest appearance of this notation in the literature. A very early case is Alfred Gray’s article A Note on Manifolds Whose Holonomy Group is a Subgroup of Sp(n) \cdot Sp(1), and Alekseevskii from the same year in Riemannian spaces with exceptional holonomy groups, both the year immediately after Bonan presented (almost) quaternionic manifolds as G-structures in his classical 1967 article, where his notation is completely different. The Bonan notation is Sp(n) HSp(1)Sp(n) \otimes_\mathbf{H} Sp(1). I will add these missing references to the page. Of more purely algebraic interest is Marchiafava and Romani’s Sul classificante del gruppo Sp(n) \cdot Sp(1).

    • CommentRowNumber10.
    • CommentAuthorJames Francese
    • CommentTimeApr 2nd 2019

    Added references and some discussion of notation in relation to quaternionic geometries.

    diff, v9, current

    • CommentRowNumber11.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeApr 2nd 2019

    Exccellent, thanks! I have added pointers to your new references from the first lines of the main text.

    • CommentRowNumber12.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeApr 2nd 2019
    • (edited Apr 2nd 2019)

    I have added hyperlinks for authors: Dmitry Vladimirovich Alekseevsky and Alfred Gray

    • CommentRowNumber13.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeApr 3rd 2019

    started an Examples-subsection “Spin-Grassmannians”. Currently I have this, to be polished and expanded:

    We have the following coset spaces of spin groups by dot-products of Spin groups as above:

    Spin(7)/(Spin(4)Spin(3))SO(7)/(SO(4)×SO(3))Gr(4,7) Spin(7)/ \big( Spin(4)\cdot Spin(3) \big) \;\simeq\; SO(7) / \big( SO(4) \times SO(3) \big) \;\simeq\; Gr(4, 7)

    is the space of Cayley 4-planes (Cayley 4-form-calibrated submanifolds in 8d Euclidean space), which in turn is homeomorphic to just the plain Grassmannian of 4-planes in 7d (recalled e.g. in Ornea-Piccini 00, p. 1)


    Spin(8)/(Spin(5)Spin(3))Gr(3,8) Spin(8)/ \big( Spin(5)\cdot Spin(3) \big) \;\simeq\; Gr(3, 8)

    is the Grassmannian of 3-planes in 8d. (Cadek-Vanzura 97, Lemma 2.6).

    diff, v15, current

    • CommentRowNumber14.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeApr 3rd 2019

    added one more case to the section of “Spin Grassmannians”:


    Spin(6)/(Spin(3)Spin(3))SU(6)/SO(4) Spin(6)/ \big( Spin(3)\cdot Spin(3) \big) \;\simeq\; SU(6)/ SO(4)

    is the Grassmannian of those Cayley 4-planes that are also special Lagrangian submanifolds (BBMOOY 96, p. 8).

    diff, v16, current

    • CommentRowNumber15.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeApr 5th 2019
    • (edited Apr 5th 2019)

    James, might you know a source that gives H 4(B(Sp(1)Sp(1)Sp(1)),)H^4\Big( B \big(Sp(1)Sp(1)Sp(1)\big), \mathbb{Z}\Big)? We are struggling with a factor of 1/2 in there…

    • CommentRowNumber16.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeApr 5th 2019

    added these pointers:

    • Stefano Marchiafava, Giuliano Romani, Alcune osservazioni sui sottogruppi abeliani del gruppo Sp(n)Sp(1)Sp(n)\cdot Sp(1), Annali di Matematica 1977 (doi:10.1007/BF02413792)

    • Paolo Piccinni, Giuliano Romani, A generalization of symplectic Pontrjagin classes to vector bundles with structure group Sp(n)Sp(1)Sp(n)\cdot Sp(1), Annali di Matematica pura ed applicata (1983) 133: 1 (doi:10.1007/BF01766008)

    diff, v19, current

    • CommentRowNumber17.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeApr 5th 2019

    added also pointer to these here:

    • Paolo Piccinni, Vector fields and characteristic numbers on hyperkàhler and quaternion Kâhler manifolds, Atti della Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei. Classe di Scienze Fisiche, Matematiche e Naturali. Rendiconti Lincei. Matematica e Applicazioni (1992) Volume: 3, Issue: 4, page 295-298 (dml:244204)

    • Dmitri Alekseevskii S. Marchiafava, Quaternionic structures on a manifold and subordinated structures, Annali di Matematica pura ed applicata (1996) 171: 205 (doi:10.1007/BF01759388)

    diff, v19, current

    • CommentRowNumber18.
    • CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
    • CommentTimeApr 6th 2019
    • (edited Apr 6th 2019)

    @Urs #15

    surely there is a general method to take a simply-connected connected compact Lie group GG with central subgroup /2\mathbb{Z}/2, such that H 4(BG,)H^4(B G,\mathbb{Z}) is known, and calculate H 4(B[G/(/2)],)H^4(B[G/(\mathbb{Z}/2)],\mathbb{Z})?

    • CommentRowNumber19.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeApr 6th 2019

    Surely! ;-)

    But never mind, the factor came to me under the shower.

    • CommentRowNumber20.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeApr 6th 2019
    • (edited Apr 6th 2019)

    [ removed ]

    • CommentRowNumber21.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeApr 9th 2019
    • (edited Apr 9th 2019)

    [ also removed, sorry for the noise]

    • CommentRowNumber22.
    • CommentAuthorAli Caglayan
    • CommentTimeApr 9th 2019

    @Urs did you manage to resolve it?

    • CommentRowNumber23.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeApr 10th 2019

    added pointer to Pro. 17.3.1 of

    for an example of usage of the dot-notation applied to general Spin-groups

    diff, v21, current

    • CommentRowNumber24.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeApr 10th 2019
    • (edited Apr 10th 2019)

    added pointer to

    • Andreas Kollross, Prop. 3.3 of A Classification of Hyperpolar and Cohomogeneity One Actions, Transactions of the American Mathematical Society Vol. 354, No. 2 (Feb., 2002), pp. 571-612 (jstor:2693761)

    and used that for a new section Examples - Triality. (Same material now also at Spin(8) in the section “Subgroup lattice”)

    diff, v22, current

    • CommentRowNumber25.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeApr 10th 2019

    Does anyone know the following:

    The group Sp(1)Sp(1)Sp(1)Sp(1)\cdot Sp(1) \cdot Sp(1) has an evident action of the symetric group Σ 3\Sigma_3 by automorphisms permuting the three dot factors.

    This Σ 3\Sigma_3-action is probably related to triality?! How?

    I am guessing as follows:

    Probably there are inclusions of Sp(1)Sp(1)Sp(1)Sp(1)\cdot Sp(1) \cdot Sp(1) into each of

    1. Sp(1)Sp(2)Sp(1)\cdot Sp(2)

    2. Sp(2)Sp(1)Sp(2)\cdot Sp(1)

    3. Spin(3)Spin(5)Spin(3)\cdot Spin(5)

    (these now all understood under their canonical embedding as subgroups of Spin(8)Spin(8) as here) such that as these three get permuted into each other under the action of triality, their common subgroup Sp(1)Sp(1)Sp(1)Sp(1)\cdot Sp(1) \cdot Sp(1) is fixed up to isomorphism, and these fixing isomorphisms are the Σ 3\Sigma_3 action from before!?

    Is this discussed anywhere?

    • CommentRowNumber26.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeApr 11th 2019
    • (edited Apr 11th 2019)

    In other words:

    Is Sp(1)Sp(1)Sp(1)Sp(1)Sp(1)Sp(1) maybe the homotopy-fixed locus of triality?

    As now shown here.

    • CommentRowNumber27.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeApr 11th 2019
    • (edited Apr 11th 2019)

    I am thinking:

    Since the subgroup isomorphism on the left of

    Sp(2)Sp(1) Spin(8) = Sp(1)Sp(2) Spin(8) \array{ Sp(2)Sp(1) &\hookrightarrow& Spin(8) \\ \mathllap{\simeq}\big\downarrow && \big\downarrow\mathrlap{=} \\ Sp(1)Sp(2) &\hookrightarrow& Spin(8) }

    manifestly comes from exchanging factors, and since the subgroup isomorphism on the left of

    Sp(2)Sp(1) Spin(8) = Spin(5)Spin(3) Spin(8) \array{ Sp(2)Sp(1) &\hookrightarrow& Spin(8) \\ \mathllap{\simeq}\big\downarrow && \big\downarrow\mathrlap{=} \\ Spin(5)Spin(3) &\hookrightarrow& Spin(8) }

    is the dot-product of the isomorphisms Sp(2)Spin(5)Sp(2) \overset{\simeq}{\to} Spin(5) with Sp(1)Spin(3)Sp(1) \overset{\simeq}{\to} Spin(3) (by the proof of Lemma 2.4 here), the proof of my conjecture (that the first and second inner circles here commute) is reduced to checking that the diagram

    Sp(1)Sp(1) Sp(2) Spin(3)Spin(3) Spin(5) \array{ Sp(1)Sp(1) &\hookrightarrow& Sp(2) \\ \mathllap{\simeq}\big\downarrow && \big\downarrow\mathrlap{\simeq} \\ Spin(3)Spin(3) &\hookrightarrow& Spin(5) }

    commutes, where the iso on the left is either the dot-product of the iso Sp(1)Spin(3)Sp(1) \stackrel{\simeq}{\to} Spin(3) with itself, or that followed by switching dot-factors.

    If there is any justice in the world, then it does. But I’d need to dig deeper into the details to prove this.

    • CommentRowNumber28.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeApr 11th 2019

    made the example Spin(n)Spin(2)Spin c(n)Spin(n) \cdot Spin(2) \simeq Spin^c(n) more explicit, giving it its own Examples-subsection here

    diff, v25, current

    • CommentRowNumber29.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeApr 12th 2019

    I have sent the question in #25 to MathOverflow here.

    • CommentRowNumber30.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeApr 13th 2019

    cross-linked with central product of groups

    • CommentRowNumber31.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeMay 7th 2019

    there is a curious appearance of Sp(1)Sp(1)Sp(1)Sp(1)\cdot Sp(1) \cdot Sp(1) in

    • Peter Freund, p. 634 of World topology and gauged internal symmetries, Proc. 19th Int. Conf. High Energy Physics, Tokyo 1978 (spire:137780, pdf)

    Have added the pointer. Also I suspect the following two really mean SU(1)SU(2)SU(2)SU(1)\cdot SU(2) \cdot SU(2) instead of SU(2)×SU(2)×SU(2)SU(2) \times SU(2) \times SU(2), but not sure yet:

    • Peter Goddard (auth.), Peter Freund, K. T. Mahanthappa, p. 128 of Superstrings, NATO ASI Series 175, Springer 1988

    • Kazuo Hosomichi, Sangmin Lee, Sungjay Lee, Jaemo Park, slide 13 of New SuperconformalChern-Simons Theories (pdf)

    diff, v29, current

    • CommentRowNumber32.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeMay 7th 2019
    • (edited May 7th 2019)

    Should also add pointer to


    • CommentRowNumber33.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeMay 8th 2019
    • (edited May 8th 2019)

    added these pointers now:

    Discussion of central product spin groups as subgroups of semi-spin groups (motivated by analysis of the gauge groups and Green-Schwarz anomaly cancellation of heterotic string theory) is in

    As such these also appear as U-duality groups and their subgroups, e.g.

    diff, v30, current

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