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Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências

Print version ISSN 0001-3765On-line version ISSN 1678-2690

An. Acad. Bras. Ciênc. vol.76 no.4 Rio de Janeiro Dec. 2004 



Numbers for reducible cubic scrolls



Israel VainsencherI; Fernando XavierII

IICEX - Departamento de Matemática - UFMG, Cx. Postal 702 Belo Horizonte 30123-970 Belo Horizonte, MG, Brasil
IIDepartamento de Matemática - UFPb, Cidade Universitária - 58051-900 João Pessoa, PB, Brasil





We show how to compute the number of reducible cubic scrolls of codimension 2 in (math blackboard symbol P)n incident to the appropriate number of linear spaces.

Key words: cubic scrolls, enumerative geometry.


Mostramos como calcular o número de rolos cúbicos redutíveis de codimensão 2 em (math blackboard symbol P)n incidentes a espaços lineares apropriados.

Palavras-chave: rolos cúbicos, geometria enumerativa.




A cubic rational normal scroll of codimension 2 in n is the residual intersection of 2 quadric hypersurfaces containing a codimension 2 plane. It is also equal to the locus of rank 1 of a 2 x 3 matrix

(cf. (Harris 1992) where the Li, Mj denote sufficiently general linear forms in the homogeneous coordinates x0,...,xn of n. For n = 3, this is a twisted cubic. Enumeration of such curves has attracted some attention in the last two decades, and is now but an example in Gromov-Witten theory, cf. (Fulton and Pandharipande 1997), (Kock and Vainsencher 1999). No such general technique is known yet for higher dimension. For the case of cubic scrolls, a procedure to determine some of these numbers was explained in (Vainsencher and Xavier 2002).

The purpose of this note is to show an application of Bott's residual formula for the calculation of the number of reducible (n-2)-dimensional cubic scrolls in n satisfying suitable incidence conditions to linear subspaces. The whole point is the simple observation that, just as in the case of twisted cubics, a general reducible cubic scroll of dimension (n-2)- is the union of an (n-2)-plane with an (n-2)-dimensional quadric meeting along an (n-3)-plane.



As customary in enumerative questions, we take the lead from the previous observation and consider the incidence variety

is naturally obtained as a tower of fiber bundles. Start with the grassmannian,

of projective (n-3)-dimensional subspaces of n. It carries a tautological exact sequence

where rank = 3 and denotes the trivial bundle with fiber the dual space . The homogeneous coordinates x0,...,xn form a basis for the latter space. The fiber of over p = [n-3] Î is the 3-dimensional space of linear forms vanishing on p. The choice of a space = [n-2] containing a fixed p = [n-3] is tantamount to picking a 2-dimensional vector subspace of the fiber p, i.e., a point in the dual space . Thus, the set of pairs p Ì is the total space of the 2-bundle, . Likewise, hyperplanes h through p form the total space of the 2-bundle, . The choice of a quadric k Ì h containing p yields the 2n-2- bundle,

Here stands for the rank-(2n-1) vector bundle over () obtained as follows. Let be the kernel of . Since 3n = , this is the rank-3n bundle of quadrics vanishing at the varying p Î . Let = (-1) be the line bundle over () with fiber over h given by the scalar multiples of the linear form h. Put = /. Then fits into the diagram of natural vector bundle maps,

We may summarize the previous discussion as follows.

LEMMA 2.1. Notation as above, the parameter space is isomorphic to the fiber product,

and dim = 5n-4.

REMARK 2.2. Let

It should be noted that ® is not a flat family. It can be rendered flat by a single blowup along a suitable smooth subvariety of using techniques as in (Vainsencher and Xavier 2002), but this is not needed in the sequel.



Now we define the divisors corresponding to the relevant incidence conditions.

Fix a line 0 = 1 Ì n and a plane p0 = 2 Ì n. We define

We also need a bit more of notation. We write

for the tautological sequence over (), where rank =2.

PROPOSITION 3.1. The cycle classes of the divisors defined above can be expressed as follows in terms of Chern classes of the natural bundles:

PROOF. Let = áx3,...,xnñ Ì be the space of n-2 linear forms cutting p0 = 2 Ì n. Let = / denote the rank-3 quotient. Studying the diagram of vector bundles over ,

it can be seen that p Î meets p0 if and only if the slant arrow s: ® is not injective at p. Hence Dp0,p is the divisor of zeros of s. It follows that Dp0,p = c1( ) = c1(). The proof of 2. is similar. The last formula is slightly trickier. It suffices to establish it over an open subset the complement of which contains no divisor. Thus, we may restrict to the locus of h transversal to 0. Let = áx3,...,xnñ Ì be now the space of equations for 0 = 1 Ì n. Let = / be the rank 2 quotient. The composition ® ® 2 is injective over the transversal locus. The quotient map = / + can be thought of as evaluation of linear forms at the point of intersecion of 0 with a varying, transversal hyperplane. It yields an evaluation map for quadratic forms, S2 ® S2 and induces S2(/) ® S2. Composing with , we find (-1) ® S2. The latter vanishes precisely over (along the transversal locus). Since c1(S2) = 2c1() = -2c1(), the formula follows .



We shall abuse notation and keep writing

for the pullback of these divisors to . The intersection of general translates is transversal by standard Bertini-Kleiman-Sard arguments (applied to (2.2) ® n). Taking i1+i2+i3 = 5n-4 = dim such translates, we may find the number of elements (p, , k) of such that the subspace p = [n-3] meets i1 2's, the subspace = [n-2] meets i2 1's and the (n-2)-quadric k meets i3 1's. This is done by evaluating Ni1,i2: =

For the specific task of enumerating the reducible cubic scrolls, we take translates of the divisors Dp0,p and : = . We are now asked to compute

for i+j = dim . This is a purely mechanical matter with the help of either Schubert calculus (e.q., as implemented in (Katz and Strømme 1992) or Bott's residue formula (cf. (Bott 1967), (Meurer 1996)). Here are the ingredients for the latter. First find the fixed points of a -action on , induced by an action xi twixi on n. Choosing the integral weights wi sufficiently general, it can be checked that all fixed points are isolated, starting at , then climbing up the tower

Pick p1 = áx0, x1, x2ñ Î = r[n-3n], among the fixed points in . There are just three fixed points on the fiber 2 = (p1). Choose one, say p1,1 = áx0ñ (a hyperplane through p1). The fiber of () over p1,1 is

with the obvious 2n-1 fixed points. Pick p1,1,1 = áñ. By the same token, the fiber of ® () over p1,1,1 is 2 = (á0, 1, 2ñ), with i = áx0, x1, x2ñ/áxj, xkñ. We obtain thus the fixed point p1,1,1,1 = 0 (among a total of .3.(2n-1)·3 possible ones). The contribution of this fixed point to Bott's formula is given by evaluating the indicated Chern classes in the equivariant cohomology ring at the point. Explicitly, c1() evaluates to wi, because the fiber p1 = áx3,...,xnñ decomposes into eigenspaces with weights wi, i = 3... n. The term c1() evaluates to -w1-w2. Next, the fiber of (-1) is the line spanned by the equation of the hyperplane áx0ñ; dualizing, we see that c1( (1)) yields -w0. The fiber of (1) is dual to the line áñ hence contributes with -2w1. We also need the weights of the fiber of the tangent bundle of . Starting at Tp1, we write the eigenspace decomposition Hom(áx3,...,xn,ñ áx3,...,xnñ) = åxi/xj, with i Î {0,1,2}, j Î {3,...,n}. Add to this the (decomposition of the) tangent along the fiber of () ® , at áx0ñ, namely, x1/x0+x2/x0. Continuing, get the tangent along the fiber of () ® (), to wit, (x1x2+···+x1xn++···+x2xn)/. At last, add the fiber of T( () /) at ,á0ñ x0/x1+x0/x2. The top Chern class needed is the product of weights (wi-wj), i Î {0,1,2}, j Î {3,...,n}, times (w1-w0)(w2-w0), times (w2-w1)···(wn-w1)(2w2-2w1)···(w2+wn-2w1), times (w0-w1)(w0-w2); call this product w. The total contribution of the present fixed point is the fraction

Quite miraculously, adding up the contributions over all fixed points, we get an integer.

The table below compiles some examples for 3 < n < 6.

Thus we find in 4 the numbers N3 = 7484880 of reducible cubic scrolls È k « (p, , k) such that the line p = 1 Ì 4 meets 3 general given 2 Ì 4 and p Í Ç k and the union È k meets dim -3 = 5·4-4-3 = 13 general lines. On the same row of the table we read N5,2 = 1570, the number of configurations (p, , k) Î with the line p meeting i1 = 5 general 2's, the plane meeting i2 = 2 general lines and the quadric surface k meeting i3 = 16-i1-i2 = 9 other general lines. The entries have been computed employing Greuel et al. 2001. A script can be downloaded from Vainsencher 2004.


As kindly pointed out by the referee, for n > 5 all rational normal cubic scrolls of codimension 2 in n are cones (cf. XXX 1957). For n = 4,5, the irreducible singular cubic scrolls not contained in a hyperplane are cones over a scroll in a hyperplane. The enumeration of such cones satisfying suitable incidence conditions can be pursued by means of a natural fibration. We hope to report on this elsewhere.



We thank the referees for several suggestions and corrections. This work was partially supported by Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq).



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Correspondence to
Israel Vainsencher

Manuscript received on January 19, 2004; accepted for publication on July 6, 2004; contributed by ISRAEL VAINSENCHER*



*Member Academia Brasileira de Ciências

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