# A TRANSCENDENTAL METHOD IN ALGEBRAIC GEOMETRY

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1 Actes, Congrès intern, math., Tome 1, p. 113 à 119. A TRANSCENDENTAL METHOD IN ALGEBRAIC GEOMETRY by PHILLIP A. GRIFFITHS 1. Introduction and an example from curves. It is well known that the basic objects of algebraic geometry, the smooth projective varieties, depend continuously on parameters as well as having the usual discrete invariants such as homotopy and homology groups. What I shall attempt here is to outline a procedure for measuring this continuous variation of structure. This method uses the periods of suitably defined rational differential forms to construct an intrinsic " continuous " invariant of arbitrary smooth projective varieties. The original aim in defining this " period matrix " of an algebraic variety was to give, at least in some cases, a complete invariant (i. e. " moduli ") of the algebraic structure, as turns out to happen for curves. It is too soon to evaluate the success of this program, but a few interesting things have turned up, and there remain very many attractive unsolved problems. In presenting this talk, I shall not give references as these, together with a more detailed discussion of the material discussed, may be found in my survey paper which appeared in the March (1970) Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society. Let me begin by discussing the example of hyperelliptic curves. family of affine curves with the equation y 2 = (x - sj... (x - s 2g+2 ). Denoting by V s the complete curve corresponding to s = (s l9..., S={s: Y\(sj-s k )*0}, Consider the s 2g + 2) and letting we see that { V s } ses forms an algebraic family of non-singular curves of genus g. Furthermore, for a suitable smooth completion S of S (e. g. S = p2 g +2)> enlarge our we mav family to { V s } se s by adding suitable degenerate curves V^ corresponding to the points ses S. The notations { V s } ses and { V s } se s will be used throughout this talk to represent respectively an algebraic family of smooth, projective varieties V s with smooth parameter space S, and a completion of this family where S is smooth and S S = D 1 u... u D, is a divisor with normal crossings. The varieties Vg (se Dj) may be thought of as singular specializations of the general V s. On the curve V s we consider a basis <p l9..., cp g for the holomorphic differentials and a canonical basis y l9..., y 2g for the first homology H^V^ Z). Thus we might choose x "~ d x / 1 ^ (p a = (a=l,...,g)

2 114 PH. A. GRIFFITHS and, upon representing V s as a 2-sheeted covering of the x-line, we have the picture t S 2g+1 \ S 2g + 2?g+l The choice of the { <p a } is determined up to a substitution <p a -> ^ A^cp ß9 det (A%) ^ 0, 0 = 1 2g and the { y p } are determined up to a transformation y p -> 7^y ff where T = (T ) is a 2g x 2g integral matrix which preserves the intersection matrix Q = (, * of the { y p }. Thus 4 e GL(g 9 C) and T G Sp(g 9 Z). We now form the period matrix Q(s) = which is determined up to the equivalence relation Q~ AQT arising from the indeterminacy of the { <p a } and { y p }. Because of the obvious relations 1 <P«A F«> > the period matrix Q(s) satisfies the Riemann bilinear relations ' ÇlQÇl = 0 I JVs <p a A(p ß = 0 Thus, if we let D be the set of all g x 2g matrices Q which satisfy the Riemann bilinear

3 A TRANSCENDENTAL METHOD IN ALGEBRAIC GEOMETRY 115 relations and with the equivalence fì ~ AQ, (A e GL(g, C)), we see that the periods of the holomorphic differentials on V s lead to the period mapping fì: S - D/Sp(g 9 Z) 9 where Sp(g, Z) acts on D by sending fì into fì't -1. We recall that D is a complex manifold which is biholomorphic to the Siegel-upper-half-plane of all g x g matrices Z = X + y/ 17 with Z = 'Z, Y > 0. Furthermore, D is a homogeneous complex manifold with automorphism group Sp(g 9 U) which acts in the same way as Sp(g 9 Z) above. For g = 1, D is of course the usual upper half plane. Here are a few properties of the period mapping: (a) The point fì(s) depends only on the intrinsic structure of V s. Furthermore, Q(s) = fì(s') if, and only if, the curves V s and V s. are isomorphic (Torelli's theorem). Thus the period matrix gives a complete invariant for non-singular curves. To discuss the next two properties, we need to digress a little about the monodromy group of a family of smooth algebraic varieties. In the case of our family of hyperelliptic curves, the canonical basis { y p } of #i(k, Z) will change when we displace V s around a closed path in the parameter space S. More precisely, fixing a base point s 0 es and letting V = V SQ, the fundamental group n^s) acts on the homology H 1 (K, Z). As is always the case, this action preserves the intersection pairing on homology, and we have then the monodromy representation n^s) "^ Aut (H<Sy 9 Z)) ^**Aut (D) III Sp(g, Z) The image T = p(n 1 (S)) will be called the monodromy group. (b) For g = 1, the monodromy group is of finite index in 51,(2, Z) ^ Sp(ì 9 Z) (For an arbitrary family of elliptic curves, T is either a finite group or is of finite index in SL(2 9 Z)). This result should be interpreted as being a first suggestion that the monodromy group in an algebraic family of algebraic varieties has extremely remarkable properties. (c) A further indication of this is the " rigidity property ", due to Grothendieck in this case. This states that if we have two families of curves { V s } ses, { V s ' } ses with the same parameter space S 9 with V So = VJ 0, and with the same monodromy representations p and p', then the period mappings fì and fì' are the same. In other words, the period mapping is determined by the monodromy representation plus its value at one point. (d) The next property may perhaps be thought of as relating algebraic geometry to group representations. We recall that the study of the discrete series representations of the automorphism group Sp(g 9 U) is intimately related to the construction of certain T-invariant meromorphic functions on D. If i// is one such automorphic function, then the composite \l/oq turns oui to be a rational function on S. Roughly speaking, we may say that the study of L 2 (Sp(g, U)) leads to functions which uniformize the period mapping (" automorphic function property ").

4 116 PH. A. GRIFFITHS G The proofs of properties (b), (c), (d) above may be based on studying asymptotically the period matrix Q(s) as s tends to a point se S S. More precisely, a neighborhood in S of a point se S S will be a punctured poly cylinder P* ^ À* x... x A* x A x... x A k where A is a unit disc in C, A* = A { 0 } is the punctured disc, and dim S = m. By localizing the period mapping at infinity, we will have a holomorphic mapping m-k fì: P* - D/T where we are interested in the behavior of fì(s) as \\s\\ -> 0 (s = (s l9..., s m )ep*). This asymptotic analysis of the period mapping is a purely function-theoretic problem which, in the end, should provide the best general method for proving the various global properties of fì including the analogues of (b)-(d) above. 2. Construction and elementary properties of the period mapping. We first observe that giving a g x 2g matrix fì with the condition rank (fì) = g and the equivalence relation fì ~ AQ (A e GL(g, C)) is the same as giving a point fì e G(g, 2g) 9 the Grassmann variety of g-planes in C 2g. In fact, the point fì is the point in C 2g spanned by the row vectors of the matrix fì. Thus, giving the period matrix fì(s) above is the same as giving a g-dimensional subspace of H\V, C), this subspace being determined up to the monodromy group T. It is now easy to see that this g-dimensional subspace is simply the g-plane spanned by the holomorphic 1-forms, followed by the identification H^V^O^H^C) which is determined up to T. Thus, giving the period matrix fì(s) is equivalent to giving the g-dimensional subspace H lt0 (V a, C) of H\V, C), and both of these are determined up to the monodromy group. In general, let { V s } ses be a family of smooth, projective algebraic varieties, and introduce the notations, E = H n (V So, ), E K = H n (V So, U), E z = H n (V So, Z). Using standard Kahler manifold theory we find that the cup product on H*(V, C) together with the Kahler class of the projective embedding give rise to a non-degenerate bilinear form Q: E E -+ C which is rational on E z, is invariant under the monodromy group T, and satisfies Q(e, e') = ( l)"ß(e', e). We will denote by G, G R, G z respectively the automorphism groups of E, E u, E z which preserve the bilinear form Q. G c is a complex semi-simple algebraic group, G m is a real form of G c, and G z is an arithmetic subgroup of G K such that the monodromy group T c= G z.

5 A TRANSCENDENTAL METHOD IN ALGEBRAIC GEOMETRY 117 From Hodge theory we recall the Hodge decomposition H n (V s9 C) = 0 H p > q (V s ) (H (V S ) = tf^w), p+q=n and using this we define the Hodge filtration F (V S ) <=... c F n (V s ) = H n (V S9 C) by the formula F p (V s ) = H n ' (V s ) H"- p > p (V s ). Using the Kodaira-Spencer continuity theorem, it follows that F P (V S ) is a continuously varying subspace of H n (V s, C). Consequently, if we identify all H n (V s, C) with E = H n (V S0, C) and let F(E) be the flag manifold of all nitrations F a... œ F n = E, dim F p = dim F P (V S ) 9 then we have a continuous mapping fì: S -» F(E)/T which is the first form of the general period mapping. It will be convenient to write fì(s) = (fì (s),..., fì"(s)) where the fì p (s) are subspaces of F(E) taken modulo T. Using the structure equations of the Kodaira-Spencer-Kuranishi theory of deformation of complex structure, it follows that Q(s) varies holomorphically with s e S. The period mapping fì will satisfy three bilinear relations, two of which are classical and generalize the Riemann-bilinear relations, and one which is non-classical but which is crucial for understanding the general period mapping. Recalling the bilinear form Q mentioned above, these bilinear relations are (I) Q(Q p 9Q- p - 1 ) = 0\ (II) (7^) W, W) > 01 Hod^- R^ann bilinear relations (III) Q(dOP, QT~ P ~ 2 ) = 0 infinitesimal bilinear relation. The first relation is self-explanatory; the second means that, for any choice of basis { e a } for fì p, the Hermitian matrix is non-singular and has a fixed signature; and the third bilinear relation means that Q[ {W(s)} <k 9 n»- p - 2 (s)j=o where (s 1,..., s ) are local coordinates on S. Suppose now that we let D be the algebraic variety of all points (F,..., F") e F(E) which satisfy (I), and let D be the open set in D of all points which satisfy (II). Then D is acted on transitively by the group G c, and D turns out to be the G R orbit of a suitable point in D. Thus we have a diagram D œ D (H = G m nb) GW# <= G c /B where B is a parabolic subgroup of G c and if is a compact subgroup of G K. In the case of elliptic curves, D c D is the upper-half-plane z = x + iy 9 y > 0 embedded in Pj = C u { oo }. The group G c is the group of linear fractional transformations

6 118 PH. A. GRIFFITHS G z -> az + b/(cz + d), G u is the subgroup of real transformations, and D is the G K orbit of yf 1. Since r c G z, the monodroriiy group is a discrete subgroup of G u and acts properly discontinuously on D. Consequently, D/T is an analytic space and the period mapping is a holomorphic mapping fì: S - D/T. In the case of curves, D is biholomorphic to a bounded domain in C g(g+1)/2. However, for n > 1, D is no longer a bounded domain and consequently the holomorphic mappings into D will not have the strong function-theoretic properties (e. g. normal families) which are present when D is a bounded domain. However, if we consider only the mappings into D which satisfy the infinitésimal bilinear relation (III), then it is increasingly becoming clearer that these have the qualitative properties of mappings into a bounded domain. Thus, e. g., a holomorphic mapping O: A* - D of the punctured disc 0 < 11 \ < 1 in D which satisfies (III) will extend continuously across t = 0. A much deeper recent result is due to Wilfried Schmid, who has proved that an arbitrary holomorphic mapping O: A* - D/G z which satisfies (III) is, when \t\ -> 0, strongly asymptotic to an orbit exp <&*"> where N is a very special nilpotent transformation of z and fì 0 is a point in D. From this it follows that the asymptotic analysis of these periods of algebraic integrals is reduced to a problem in Lie groups. 3. Deeper properties and open questions concerning the period mapping. We want to discuss the analogues of the properties (a)-(d) for the periods of the elliptic curve in the general case of a period mapping fì: S -+ D/T arising from an algebraic family { V s } ses of algebraic varieties. (a) Of course the point fì(s) e D/T depends only on the intrinsic structure of V s. However, except for curves there is essentially nothing general known about the global equivalence relation determined by fì. There is some heuristic evidence that, in general, the equivalence relation might be closely related to birational equivalence; i. e. the " Torelli property '' should hold in general. Along these lines, it is perhaps an easier problem to determine the equivalence relation infinitesimally; i. e. to find the kernel of the differential dfì. The best example known here seems to be when the V s are smooth hypersurfaces in projective space. Then, except for the obvious example of cubic surfaces, the differential dq is injective on the biregular moduli space of the V s (" local Torelli property "). The dual problem to finding the equivalence relation of fì is to determine which

7 A TRANSCENDENTAL METHOD IN ALGEBRAIC GEOMETRY 119 points of D come from algebraic varieties. When D is the Siegel upper-half-plane, even though not every point fì e D is the period matrix of a curve, it is obviously the case that every fì is the period matrix of an abelian variety and therefore may be said to come from algebraic geometry. However, this is essentially the only case when all points are a period matrix of some algebraic variety, and to my knowledge there is not yet even a plausible candidate for the set of points in D which arise from algebraic geometry. (b) Concerning the " size " of the monodromy group T, we have Deligne's theorem that T is semi-simple and the result that the image fì(s') has finite volume in D/T. From this it follows that if T' is any larger discrete subgroup of G R which leaves invariant the inverse image n~ 1 (0(S)) for n : D ~+ D/T the projection, then T is of finite index in T'. These facts, plus a few examples, indicate that it might be the case that there is a semi-simple subgroup GQ of G Q such that the monodromy group is commensurable with G z = G z n GQ (recall that this means that T n G z is of finite index in both T and G 2 ). The available evidence certainly indicates that T should be large. (c) Matters are somewhat better regarding the " rigidity property ", which states that the period mapping fì : S -* D/T is determined by its value at one point together with the induced map fì* : 7i 1 (S) - T. This property was proved by myself for an arbitrary holomorphic mapping fì satisfying the infinitesimal bilinear relation (III) but making the strong assumption that S is complete. Then Deligne proved the result in case fì arises from a family { V s } ses of algebraic varieties. The result for a general holomorphic mapping fì satisfying (III) follows from Schmid's nilpotent orbit theorem mentioned above. (d) Given a period mapping fì: S -> D/T, it is expected that the equivalence relation given by fì is at least an algebraic equivalence relation; i. e. there should exist a sub-field ^n of the field 0t of rational functions on S such that fì(s) = fì(s') if, and only if, \//(s) = ij/(s f ) for all \j/ e^n. Furthermore, by analogy with the classical case n = 1, it is to be hoped that \$ n arises by composing the mapping fì with something on D/T. More precisely, we should like it to be the case that the discrete series representations in I?(G M ) lead to the construction of some " analytic objects " on D/T which, upon composition with fì, yield SH a. This is a problem of fundamental importance, which may well be related to the question mentioned above of saying which points of D come from algebraic geometry, and about which nothing really is known. What is known is that the discrete series part of L 2 (G R ) seems to lead to " automorphic cohomology " on D/T, but it is a mystery as to what this might have to do with algebraic geometry. These problems mentioned here are discussed in more details in the survey paper referred to at the beginning of this talk. This survey paper also contains some conjectures not discussed above as well as the references for all of the material presented. Institute for Advanced Study Department of Mathematics, Princeton, N. J (U. S. A.)

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