Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Category theory and quantum TGD: 2-plectic structures and generalized Feynman diagrams as categories

TGD predicts several hierarchical structures involving a lot of new physics. These structures look frustratingly complex and category theoretical thinking might help to build a bird's eye view about the situation. I have already earlier considered the question how category theory might be applied in TGD. Besides the far from complete understanding of the basic mathematical structure of TGD also my own limited understanding of category theoretical ideas have been a serious limitation. During last years considerable programs in the understanding of quantum TGD proper has taken place and the recent formulation of TGD is in terms of light-like 3-surfaces, zero energy ontology and number theoretic braids. There exist also rather detailed formulations for the fusion of p-adic and real physics and for the dark matter hierarchy. This motivates a fresh look to how category theory might help to understand quantum TGD. In the first posting I will discuss how so called 2-plectic structures emerge in TGD and how generalized Feynman diagrams can be regarded as categories. Second posting will be devoted to the description of generalized Feynman diagrammatics in terms of generalization of planar operads. In the third posting possible other applications will be briefly considered.

1. 2-plectic structures and TGD

Chris Rogers and Alex Hoffnung have demonstrated [1] that the notion of symplectic structure generalizes to n-plectic structure and in n=2 case leads to a categorification of Lie algebra to 2-Lie-algebra. In this case the generalization replaces the closed symplectic 2-form with a closed 3-form w and assigns to a subset of one-forms defining generalized Hamiltonians vector field leaving the 3-form invariant.

There are two equivalent definitions of the Poisson bracket in the sense that these Poisson brackets differ only by a gradient, which does not affect the vector field assignable to the Hamiltonian one-form. The first bracket is simply the Lie-derivate of Hamiltonian one form G with respect to vector field assigned to F. Second bracket is contraction of Hamiltonian one-forms with the three-form w. For the first variant Jacobi identities hold true but Poisson bracket is antisymmetric only modulo gradient. For the second variant Jacobi identities hold true only modulo gradient but Poisson bracket is antisymmetric. This modulo property is in accordance with category theoretic thinking in which commutativity, associativity, antisymmetry,... hold true only up to isomorphism.

For 3-dimensional manifolds n=2-plectic structure has the very nice property that all one-forms give rise to Hamiltonian vector field. In this case any 3-form is automatically closed so that a large variety of 2-plectic structures exists. In TGD framework the natural choice for the 3-form w is as Chern-Simons 3-form defined by the projection of the Kähler gauge potential to the light-like 3-surface. Despite the fact the induced metric is degenerate, one can deduce the Hamiltonian vector field associated with the one-form using the general defining conditions


since the vanishing of the metric determinant appearing in the formal definition cancels out in the expression of the Hamiltonian vector field. The explicit formula is obtained by writing w as

w = Keabg×emndAmJndÖg = eabg×C-S ,

C-S = KEabg AaJbg .

Here Eabg=eabg holds true numerically and metric determinant, which vanishes for light-like 3-surfaces, has disappeared.

The Hamiltonian vector field is the curl of F divided by the Chern-Simons action density C-S:

vFa = Eabg(bFg-gFb)/2C-S .

The Hamiltonian vector field multiplied by the dual of 3-form multiplied by the metric determinant has a vanishing divergence and is analogous to a vector field generating volume preserving flow and the value of Chern Simons 3-form defines the analog of the metric determinant for light-like 3-surfaces. The generalized Poisson bracket for Hamiltonian 1-forms defined by the contraction of the Hamiltonian 1-forms with w is Hamiltonian 1-form and unique apart from gradient and the corresponding vector field is the commutator of the corresponding Hamiltonian vector fields.

The objection is that gauge invariance is broken since the expression for the vector field assignal to Hamiltonian one-form depends on gauge. In TGD framework there is no need to worry since Kähler gauge potential has unique natural expression and the U(1) gauge transformations of Kähler gauge potential induced by symplectic transformations of CP2 are not genuine gauge transformations but dynamical symmetries since the induced metric changes and space-time surface is deformed. Another important point is that Kähler gauge potential for a given CD has M4 part which is "pure gauge" constant Lorentz invariant vector and proportional to the inverse of gravitational constant G. Its ratio to CP2 radius squared is determined from electron mass by p-adic mass calculations and mathematically by quantum criticality fixing also the value of Kähler coupling strength.

2. Operads, number theoretical braids, and inclusions of HFFs

The description of braids leads naturally to category theory and quantum groups when the braiding operation, which can be regarded as a functor, is not a mere permutation. Discreteness is a natural notion in the category theoretical context. To me the most natural manner to interpret discreteness is - not something emerging in Planck scale- but as a correlate for a finite measurement resolution and quantum measurement theory with finite measurement resolution leads naturally to number theoretical braids as fundamental discrete structures so that category theoretic approach becomes well-motivated. Discreteness is also implied by the number theoretic approach to quantum TGD from number theoretic associativity condition central also for category theoretical thinking as well as from the realization of number theoretical universality by the fusion of real and p-adic physics to single coherent whole.

Operads are formally single object multi-categories [3]. This object consist of an infinite sequence of sets of n-ary operations. These operations can be composed and the composition are associative (operations themselves need not be associative) in the sense that the is natural isomorphism (symmetries) mapping differently bracketed compositions to each other. The coherence laws for operads formulate the effect of permutations and bracketing (association) as functors acting as natural isomorphisms. A simple manner to visualize the composition is as an addition of n1, ...nk leaves to the leaves 1, ...,k of k-leaved tree.

An interesting example of operad is the braid operad formulating the combinatorics for a hierarchy of braids formed from braids by grouping subsets of braids having n1,...nk strands and defining the strands of a k-braid. In TGD framework this grouping can be identified in terms of the formation bound states of particles topologically condensed at larger space-time sheet and coherence laws allow to deduce information about scattering amplitudes. In conformal theories braided categories indeed allow to understand duality of stringy amplitudes in terms of associativity condition.

Planar operads [3] define an especially interesting class of operads. The reason is that the inclusions of HFFs give rise to a special kind of planar operad [4]. The object of this multi-category [5] consists of planar k-tangles. Planar operads are accompanied by planar algebras. It will be found that planar operads allow a generalization which could provide a description for the combinatorics of the generalized Feynman diagrams and also rigorous formulation for how the arrow of time emerges in TGD framework and related heuristic ideas challenging the standard views.

3. Generalized Feynman diagram as category?

John Baez has proposed a category theoretical formulation of quantum field theory as a functor from the category of n-cobordisms to the category of Hilbert spaces [6,7]. The attempt to generalize this formulation looks well motivated in TGD framework because TGD can be regarded as almost topological quantum field theory in a well defined sense and braids appear as fundamental structures. It however seems that formulation as a functor from nCob to Hilb is not general enough. In zero energy ontology events of ordinary ontology become quantum states with positive and negative energy parts of quantum states localizable to the upper and lower light-like boundaries of causal diamond (CD).

  1. Generalized Feynman diagrams associated with a given CD involve quantum superposition of light-like 3-surfaces corresponding to given generalized Feynman diagram. These superpositions could be seen as categories with 3-D light-like surfaces containing braids as arrows and 2-D vertices as objects. Zero energy states would represent quantum superposition of categories (different topologies of generalized Feynman diagram) and M-matrix defined as Connes tensor product would define a functor from this category to the Hilbert space of zero energy states for given CD (tensor product defines quite generally a functor).

  2. What is new from the point of view of physics that the sequences of generalized lines would define compositions of arrows and morphisms having identification in terms of braids which replicate in vertices. The possible interpretation of the replication is in terms of copying of information in classical sense so that even elementary particles would be information carrying and processing structures. This structure would be more general than the proposal of John Baez that S-matrix corresponds to a function from the category of n-dimensional cobordisms to the category Hilb.

  3. p-Adic length scale hypothesis follows if the temporal distance between the tips of CD measured as light-cone proper time comes as an octave of CP2 time scale: T=2nT0. This assumption implies that the p-adic length scale resolution interpreted in terms of a hierarchy of increasing measurement resolutions comes as octaves of time scale.

This preliminary picture is of course not far complete since it applies only to single CD. There are several questions. Can one allow CDs within CDs and is every vertex of generalized Feynman diagram surrounded by this kind of CD. Can one form unions of CDs freely?

  1. Since light-like 3-surfaces in 8-D imbedding space have no intersections in the generic position, one could argue that the overlap must be allowed and makes possible the interaction of between zero energy states belonging to different CDs. This interaction would be something new and present also for sub-CDs of a given CD.

  2. The simplest guess is that the unrestricted union of CDs defines the counterpart of tensor product at geometric level and that extended M-matrix is a functor from this category to the tensor product of zero energy state spaces. For non-overlapping CDs ordinary tensor product could be in question and for overlapping CDs tensor product would be non-trivial. One could interpret this M-matrix as an arrow between M-matrices of zero energy states at different CDs: the analog of natural transformation mapping two functors to each other. This hierarchy could be continued ad infinitum and would correspond to the hierarchy of n-categories.

This rough heuristics represents of course only one possibility among many since the notion of category is extremely general and the only limits are posed by the imagination of the mathematician. Also the view about zero energy states is still rather primitive.


[1] The chapter Nuclear String Model of "p-Adic length scale Hypothesis and Hierarchy of Planck constants".
[2] C. Rogers and A. Hoffnung (2008), Categorified symplectic geometry and the classical string.
[3] Operad theory.
[4] Planar algebra.
[5] D. Bisch, P. Das, and S. K. Gosh (2008), Planar algebra of group-type subfactors.
[6] Multicategories.
[7] J. Baez (2007), Quantum Quandaries.
[8] J. Baez and M. Stay (2008), Physics, topology, logic and computation: a Rosetta Stone.
[9] J. Baez (2008), Categorifying Fundamental Physics.
[10]Planar Algebras, TFTs with Defects.
[11] M. D. Sheppeard (2007), Gluon Phenomenology and a Linear Topos, thesis.

The article Category Theory and Quantum TGD gives a summary of the most recent ideas about applications of category theory in TGD framework. See also the new chapter Category Theory and TGD of "Towards S-matrix".

1 comment:

Kea said...

Glad to hear you are thinking about this - and thanks for the link(s).