SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.40 issue4Conformal field theory with two kinds of bosonic fields and two linear dilatonsFirst-principles study of carbon chemisorption on γ-Fe(111) surface author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand




Related links


Brazilian Journal of Physics

Print version ISSN 0103-9733

Braz. J. Phys. vol.40 no.4 São Paulo Dec. 2010 

2d Gravity with torsion, oriented matroids and 2+2 dimensions



J.A. NietoI,*; E.A. LeónII,

IFacultad de Ciencias Físico-Matemáticas de la Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa, 80010, Culiacán Sinaloa, México
IIDepartameto de Investigación en Física de la Universidad de Sonora, 83000, Hermosillo Sonora , México




We find a link between oriented matroid theory and 2d gravity with torsion. Our considerations may be useful in the context of noncommutative phase space in a target spacetime of signature (2+2) and in a possible theory of gravity ramification.

Keywords: 2d-gravity, 2t physics, 2+2 dimensions.



As it is known, the theory of matroids is a fascinating topic in mathematics [1]. Why should not be also interesting in some scenarios of physics? We are convinced that matroid theory should be an essential part not only of physics in general, but also of M-theory. In fact, it seems that the duality concept that brought matroid theory from a matrix formalism in 1935, with the work of Whitney (see Ref. [2] and references therein), is closely related to the duality concept that brought M-theory from string theory in 1994 (see Refs. [3-11] for connections between matroids and various subjects of high energy physics and gravity). These observations are some of the main motivations for the proposal [12] of considering oriented matroid theory as the mathematical framework for M-theory. In this paper, we would like to report new progress in our quest of connecting matroid theory with different scenarios of high energy physics and gravity. Specifically, we find a connection between matroids and 2d gravity with torsion and 2+2 dimensions. In the route we find many new directions in which one can pursue further research, such as tame and wild ramification [13], nonsymmetric gravitational theory (see Ref. [14] and references therein) and Clifford algebras (see Ref. [15] and references therein). We believe that our results may be of particular interest not only for physicists but also for mathematicians.

In order to achieve our goal we first show that a 2×2-matrix function in two dimensions can be interpreted in terms of a metric associated with 2d gravity with torsion. Let us start by writing a complex number z in the traditional form [16]

where x and y are real numbers and i2 = -1. However, there exist another, less used, way to write a complex number, namely [17]

In this case the product of two complex numbers corresponds to the usual matrix product. These two representations of complex numbers can be linked by writing (2) as

Since one finds from (1) and (3) that the matrix can be identified with the imaginary unit i.

It turns out that the matrices and can be considered as two of the matrix bases of general real 2×2 matrices which we denote by M(2,R). In fact, any 2×2 matrix Ω over the real can be written as


Let us rewrite (4) in the form


Considering this notation, we find that (1) becomes

Comparing (6) and (8), we see that (8) can be obtained from (6) by setting r = 0 and s = 0. If ad-bc 0, that is if detΩ≠0, then the matrices in M(2,R) can be associated with the group GL(2,R). If we further require ad-bc = 1, then one gets the elements of the subgroup SL(2,R). It turns out that this subgroup is of special interest in 2t physics [18-20].

Now, consider the following four functions F(x,y,r,s), G(x,y,r,s), H(x,y,r,s) and Q(x,y,r,s), and construct the matrix

By setting

we get that γ can be written as


We can always decompose the matrix λij in terms of its symmetric gij = gji and antisymmetric Aij = -Aji parts. In fact, we have

From (11) or (12) we find that we can write gij(x,y,r,s) in the form


An interesting possibility emerges by dimensional reduction of the variables r and s, that is by setting in (13) r = 0 and s = 0. We have



Of course, according to (8) the expressions (16), (17) and (18) can be associated with a complex structure. This observation can be clarified by using isothermal coordinates in which w = 0 and ξ = 0. In this case (16) is reduced to

where we wrote λij(x,y) fij(x,y) in order to emphasize this reduction. In the traditional notation, (19) becomes f(x,y) = u(x,y)+iv(x,y). It turns out that the existence of isothermal coordinates is linked to the Cauchy-Riemann conditions for u and v, namely u/x = v/y and u/y = -v/x [16].

One of the main reason for the above discussion comes from the question: is it possible to identify the symmetric matrix gij(x,y) with 2d gravity? Assuming that this is the case the next question is then: what kind of gravitational theory describes λij(x,y)? In what follows we shall show that λij(x,y) can be identified not only with a nonsymmetric gravitational theory in two dimensions but also with 2d gravity with torsion. First, consider the covariant derivative of the metric tensor

Here, we assume that the symbols Γkil are not necessarily symmetric in the two indices k and i. In fact, if we define the torsion as Tkil Γkil-Γikl, one finds that the more general solution of (20) is

where Γkij = Γkilglj and Tkij = Tkilglj.

On the other hand, if we consider the expression

by substituting (16) into (22) one gets

Comparing (23) and (21) one sees that if one sets Tkji = iAkj the expression (23) can be identified with the connection Γkij which presumably describes 2d gravity with torsion. Since Aij can always be written as (18) we discover that (23) yields

Here, we used the notation kυ = υ,k.

The curvature Riemann tensor can be defined as usual

The proposed gravitational theory, which may be interesting in string theory, can have a density Lagrangian of the form ~ 2+ Λ [21], where L is a constant. In this context, we have proved that it makes sense to consider the nonsymmetric metric of the form (16)-(18) as a 2d gravity with torsion.

From the point of view of complex structure there are a number of interesting issues that arises from the above formalism. One may be interested, for instance, in considering the true degrees of freedom for the metric gij. In this case one may start with the Teichmuller space associated with the metric gij and then to determine the Moduli space of such a metric [22]. Another possibility is to consider similarities. In this case one may be interested to associate with the metric gji either the Riemann-Roch theorem [23] or the tame and wild ramification complex structure [13]. In the later case one may assume that the principal part of the metric gij looks like

In this case the similarities can be identified with solitons associated with black holes. In this scenario our constructed route to 2d gravity with torsion provides a bridge which may bring many ideas from complex structure to 2d gravity with torsion and vice versa.

Let us now study some aspects of the above formalism from the point of view of matroid theory. Consider the matrix

with the index A taking values in the set

It turns out that the subsets { V1,V2}, {V1,V3}, { V2,V4} and { V3,V4} are bases over the real of the matrix (27). One can associate with these subsets the collection

which can be understood as a family of subsets of E. It is not difficult to show that the pair = (E,) is a 2-rank self-dual matroid. The fact that we can express in the matrix form (27) means that this matroid is representable (or realizable) [1]. Moreover, one can show that this matroid is graphic and orientable. In the later case the corresponding chirotope [1] is given by

Thus, we get, as nonvanishing elements of the chirotope χAB, the combinations

The relation of this matroid structure with of our previous discussion comes from the identification { V1,V2} → δij, { V1,V3} ηij, { V2,V4} →λij and {V3,V4} εij. The signs in (31) correspond to the determinants of the matrices δij, ηij, λij and εij, which can be calculated using (30). Therefore, what we have shown is that the bases of M(2,R) as given in (4) (or (7)) admit an oriented matroid interpretation. It may be of some interest to consider the weak mapping c with

leading to the reduced pair c = (E,c). When the local structure is considered as in (14)-(18), one needs to rely in the matroid fiber bundle notion (see Refs. [24] and [25] and references therein). Therefore, we have found a link which connect matroid fiber bundle with 2d gravity with torsion.

It is worth mentioning the following observations. It is known that the fundamental matrices δij, ηij, λij and εij given in (7) not only form a basis for M(2,R) but also determine a basis for the Clifford algebras C(2,0) and C(1,1). In fact one has the isomorphisms M(2,R) ~ C(2,0) ~ C(1,1). Moreover, one can show that C(0,2) can be constructed using the fundamental matrices (7) and Kronecker products. It turns out that C(0,2) is isomorphic to the quaternion algebra H. Since all the others C(a,b)'s can be constructed from the building blocks C(2,0), C(1,1) and C(0,2), this means that our connection between oriented matroid theory and M(2,R) also establishes an interesting link with the Clifford algebra structure (see Ref. [15].and references therein).

Let us make some final remarks. The above links also apply to the subgroup SL(2,R) which is the main object in 2t physics. In this case it is known that noncommutative field theory of 2t physics [18-20] (see also Ref. [26]) contains a fundamental gauge symmetry principle based on the noncommutative group U*(1,1). This approach originates from the observation that a world line theory admits a Lie algebra sl*(2,R) gauge symmetry acting on phase space [18]. In this context, consider the coordinates q and p in the phase-space. The Poisson bracket

can be written as

where q1a qa and q2a pa, with a and b running from 1 to n. It worth mentioning that the expression (34) is very similar to the the definition of a chirotope (see Ref. [8] and references therein).

Recently, a generalization of (34) was proposed [27], namely

Here, Ωab is skew-simplectic form defined in even dimensions. In particular, in four dimensions Ωab can be chosen as

Here, by choosing ηab = diag(-1,1,-1,1) we make contact with (2+2)-dimensions which is the minimal 2t physics theory (see Refs. [28-31]).

Let us write the factor in (35) gijΩab+εijηab in the form

with g'ij = gijΩ. We recognize in (37) the typical form (18) for a complex structure. This proves that oriented matroid theory is also connected not only with (2+2)-physics but also with noncommutative geometry.

An alternative connection with 2t physics can be obtained by considering the signature ηab = diag(1,1,-1,-1), and its associated metric:

In fact, by defining the matrix

it can be seen that (38) can be expressed as

where the indices i,j,k,l run from 1 to 2 as before, and ηij stands for the third matrix defined in (7), namely ηij . As before,noticing that in (38) the ßpatial" coordinates x1, x2 are the elements of the main diagonal and the "time" coordinates x3, x4 corresponds to the main skew diagonal in (39), xij can be written in terms of the bases (7) as follows:

where we used the definitions

and considered the notation εij = εklηikηjl and lij = lklηikηjl, where ηij is the inverse flat 1+1 metric, and has the same components as ηij.

Finally, consider the three index object ηijk with components

From these expressions and (7) it can be checked that ηijk automatically satisfies

Therefore ηijk has the remarkable property of containing all the matrices in (7). This means that an arbitrary matrix Ωij can be written as

where x1 = x, x2 = y and y1 = r, y2 = s. Here, x,y,r and s are defined in (5). Observe that ηijk = ηjik, but ηkij ηkji. It is worth mentioning that a similar structure was proposed in Ref. [14] in the context of nonsymmetric gravity [32].

The inverse ηijk of ηijk can be defined by the relation


Explicity, we obtain the components

Traditionally, starting with a flat space described by the metric ηij , one may introduce a curved metric gmn = emienjηij via the zweibeins emi. So, this motivate us to introduce the three-index curved metric

It seems very interesting to try to develop a gravitational theory based in gmnλ, for at least two reasons. First, the ηijk contains the four basic matrices (7), which we proved are linked to matroid theory. Therefore this establishes a bridge between matroids and gmnλ. Thus, a gravitational theory based in gmnλ may provide an alternative gravitoid theory (see Ref. [4]). Secondly, since the matrices (7) are also linked to Clifford algebras, such a gravitational theory may determine spin structures, which are necessary for supersymmetric scenarios. These and another related developments will be reported elsewhere [33].



J. A. Nieto would like to thank to M. C. Marín for helpful comments. This work was partially supported by PROFAPI 2007 and PIFI 3.3.


[1] A. Björner, M. Las Vergnas, B. Sturmfels, N. White and G. Ziegler, Oriented Matroids, (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1993).         [ Links ]

[2] J.G. Oxley, Matroid Theory, (Oxford Science Publications. Oxford University Press, New York, 1992).         [ Links ]

[3] J.A. Nieto, Rev. Mex. Fis. 44, 358 (1998); e-Print: hep-th/9807107.         [ Links ]

[4] J.A. Nieto and M.C. Marín, J. Math. Phys. 41, 7997 (2000); hep-th/0005117.         [ Links ]

[5] J.A. Nieto, J. Math. Phys. 45, 285 (2004); hep-th/0212100.         [ Links ]

[6] J.A. Nieto and M.C. Marín, Int. J. Mod. Phys. A 18, 5261 (2003); hep-th/0302193.         [ Links ]

[7] J.A. Nieto, Adv. Theor. Math. Phys. 8, 177 (2004); hep-th/0310071.         [ Links ]

[8] J.A. Nieto, Rev. Mex. Fis. E 51, 5 (2005); hep-th/0407093.         [ Links ]

[9] J.A. Nieto, "Toward a connection between the oriented matroid theory and supersymmetry"; hep-th/0510185.         [ Links ]

[10] J.A. Nieto, "Maximal supersymmetry in eleven-dimensional supergravity revisited and chirotopes", hep-th/0603139.         [ Links ]

[11] P. Guha, Int. J. Geom. Meth. Mod. Phys. 1, 795 (2004).         [ Links ]

[12] J.A. Nieto, Adv. Theor. Math. Phys. 10, 747 (2006); hep-th/0506106.         [ Links ]

[13] E. Witten, "Mirror Symmetry, Hitchin's Equations, And Langlands Duality", arXiv:0802.0999.         [ Links ]

[14] J. A. Nieto and J. Socorro, Ïs nonsymmetric gravity related to string theory?", hep-th/9610160.         [ Links ]

[15] C. Castro, Phys. Lett. B 668, 442 (2008).         [ Links ]

[16] J. B. Conway, Functions of One Complex Variable I, (Graduate Texts in Mathematics 1978 Springer-Verlag New.York)         [ Links ]

[17] N. Levinson and R. M. Redheffer, Functions Complex Variables, (Holden Day, 1970).         [ Links ]

[18] I. Bars, Phys. Rev. D 64, 126001 (2001); hep-th/0106013.         [ Links ]

[19] I. Bars, and S. J. Rey, Phys. Rev. D 64, 046005 (2001); hep-th/0104135.         [ Links ]

[20] I. Bars, Class. Quant. Grav. 18 (2001) 3113; hep-th/0008164.         [ Links ]

[21] M. O. Katanaev and I. V. Volovich, Ann. Phys. 197, 1 (1990).         [ Links ]

[22] C. Nash, Differential Topology and Quantum Field Theory, (Academic Pr, San Diego 1991).         [ Links ]

[23] G. Springer, Introduction to Riemann Surfaces, (Addison-Wesley, Publishing Company, Inc., reading, Massachusetts USA 1957).         [ Links ]

[24] L. Anderson, New Perspectives in Geom. Com. 38, 1 (1999).         [ Links ]

[25] L. Anderson, J. F. Davis, "Mod 2 cohomology of combinatorial Grassmannians", arXiv:math/9911158.         [ Links ]

[26] V. M. Villanueva, J. A. Nieto, L. Ruiz, J. Silvas, J. Phys. A 38, 7183 (2005); hep-th/0503093.         [ Links ]

[27] J. A. Nieto, "SL(2,R)-Symmetry and Noncommutative Phase Space in (2+2) Dimensions", arXiv:0809.3429.         [ Links ]

[28] J. A. Nieto, Nuovo Cim. B 120, 135 (2005); hep-th/0410003.         [ Links ]

[29] J. A. Nieto, Mod. Phys. Lett. A 22, 2453 (2007); hep-th/0606219.         [ Links ]

[30] M. Carvalho and M. W. de Oliveira Phys. Rev. D 55, 7574 (1997); hep-th/9612074.         [ Links ]

[31] M. A. De Andrade, O. M. Del Cima and L. P. Colatto, Phys. Lett. B 370, 59 (1996); hep-th/9506146.         [ Links ]

[32] J. W. Moffat, Phys. Lett. B 355, 447 (1995).         [ Links ]

[33] E. A. Leon and J. A. Nieto, work in progress, DIFUS, Universidad de Sonora (2009).         [ Links ]



(Received on 14 October, 2009)



* Electronic address:
Electronic address:

Creative Commons License All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License