Sunday, December 5, 2010

Confusion in the Presentation of the Bost-Connes System

I had planned to write a long glorious post about the generators and relations of the Bost Connes system, the same formulated via Hecke algebras, and the key arithmetic subalgebra. Alas, I got stuck on a rather silly point: verifying the relations. Recall that we're considering the groupoid $\mathcal{G} = \{(r,\rho) : r \in \mathbb{Q}^{*}_{+}, \rho \in \hat{\mathbb{Z}}\; \text{such that} \; r \rho \in \hat{\mathbb{Z}}\}$ and the $C^{\ast}$-completion $C^{\ast}[\mathcal{G}]$ of its convolution algebra:

$\displaystyle \{f:\mathcal{G} \rightarrow \mathbb{C} \;|\; f\; \text{is continuous and with compact support.}\}$

Let me start by stating the generating function I'm having trouble with: for all $n \in \mathbb{N}$, let $\mu_n : \mathcal{G} \rightarrow {\mathbb C}$ be the functions:

$\displaystyle \mu_n(r,\rho) = \begin{cases} 1 & r=n \\ 0 & \text{otherwise} \end{cases} $

These functions, under some relations (and plus another set of functions), are suppose to generate $C^{\ast}[\mathcal{G}]$. Nevermind how that is suppose to happen, I don't even understand the relations! Specifically, it's stated that

$\displaystyle \mu_n^{\ast} \mu_n = 1 \;\text{for all}\; n \in \mathbb{N}$

(There are several other relations, only this one is causing trouble.)

The multiplication here is convolution, not pointwise multiplication; it's clearly 0 under pointwise multiplication. So lets try this out. First recall that for $f \in C^{\ast}[\mathcal{G}]}$, we have $f^{\ast}(g) = \overline{f(g^{-1})}$, and convolution means that $f_1 f_2 (g) = \sum_{g_1 g_2 = g} f_1(g_1) f_2(g_2)$. Next, recall what inversion means in $\mathcal{G}$. A $g \in \mathcal{G}$ means that $g = (r,\rho)$, and if you write down the multiplication $(r_1,\rho_1) \circ (r_2,\rho_2) = (r_1 r_2, \rho_2)$ when $r_2 \rho_2 = \rho_1$, it's not heard to see that $(r,\rho)^{-1} = (r^{-1},r\rho)$. Assuming I didn't make in error in that, we can write down $\mu_n^{\ast} \mu_n$:

$\displaystyle \mu_n^{\ast} \mu_n (r,\rho) = \sum_{(r_1,\rho_1) \circ (r_2,\rho_2) = (r, \rho)} \mu_n^{\ast}(r_1,\rho_1)\mu_n (r_2,\rho_2)$

Now, the condition on the sum, $(r_1,\rho_1) \circ (r_2,\rho_2) = (r, \rho)$ clearly means that $\rho_2 = \rho$, and the condition to perform the multiplication then forces $\rho_1 = r_2 \rho$. So we have $(r_1,r_2 \rho) \circ (r_2,\rho) = (r, \rho)$ and we can restate this as:

$\displaystyle \mu_n^{\ast} \mu_n (r,\rho) = \sum_{r_1 r_2 = r} \mu_n^{\ast}(r_1)\mu_n (r_2) = \sum_{r_1 r_2 = r} \mu_n(r_1^{-1})\mu_n (r_2)$

Where $r_1 r_2 \rho, r_2 \rho \in \hat{\mathbb{Z}}$. I've dropped the $\rho$'s as the $\mu_n$'s don't care about them. The term $\mu_n(r_1^{-1})\mu_n (r_2)$ is 0 except when $n=r_1^{-1}=r_2$, but since $r = r_1 r_2$, we require $r=1$ in order to get a nonzero sum. We end up with:

$\displaystyle \mu_n^{\ast} \mu_n (r,\rho) = \mu_1 (r,\rho) \; \text{instead of} \; \mu_n^{\ast} \mu_n (r,\rho) = 1 $

Where am I going wrong?

Edit: I'm not going wrong. The problem is that I don't understand unity in a convolution algebra. Here, $1$ is the function such that for all $f \in C^{\ast}[\mathcal{G}]$, $1f = f1 = f$ under convolution. Writing down the convolution of $\mu_1$ shows that it works. Thanks to Professor Kim for questioning me on that. Right, now back to the rest of the writeup!

Note: definitions for the functions came from ``Fun with $\mathbb{F}_1$'' page 11 and ``Noncommutative Geometry, Quantum Fields, and Motives'' page 417-418, 424. I didn't use Hecke algebras here, but that formulation is in Proposition 18 of ``Hecke Algebras, Type III Factors and Phase Transitions with Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking in Number Theory'' by Bost and Connes.

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