# Congruence Subgroups

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1 Congruence Subgroups Undergraduate Mathematics Society, Columbia University S. M.-C. 24 June 2015 Contents 1 First Properties 1 2 The Modular Group and Elliptic Curves 3 3 Modular Forms for Congruence Subgroups 4 4 Sums of Four Squares 5 Abstract First we expand the connection between the modular group and elliptic curves by defining certain subgroups of the modular group, known as congruence subgroups, and stating their relation to enhanced elliptic curves. Then we will carefully define modular forms for congruence subgroups. Finally, as a neat application, we will use modular forms to count the number of ways an integer can be expressed as a sum of four squares. This talk covers approximately 1.2 and 1.5 of Diamond & Shurman. 1 First Properties Recall the modular group SL 2 Z of 2 2 integer matrices with determinant one, and its action on the upper half-plane H = {τ C : im(τ) > 0}: γτ = aτ + b [ ] for γ = SL cτ + d 2 Z and τ H. (1) Any subgroup of the modular group inherits this action on the upper halfplane. Our goal is to investigate certain subgroups of the modular group, defined as follows. Let {[ ] [ ] Γ(N) = SL 2 Z : [ ] } 1 0 mod N 0 1 (2) 1

2 (where we simply reduce each entry mod N). As the kernel of the natural morphism SL 2 Z SL 2 Z/NZ, we see Γ(N) is a normal subgroup of SL 2 Z, called the principal congruence subgroup of level N. In general, a subgroup Γ of SL 2 Z is called a congruence subgroup if Γ(N) Γ for some N, and the least such N is called the level of Γ. We are particularly interested in the principal congruence subgroups Γ(N) and the following other types: let {[ ] [ ] [ ] } 1 Γ 1 (N) = SL 2 Z : mod N (3) 0 1 and {[ ] [ ] Γ 0 (N) = SL 2 Z : [ ] } mod N, (4) 0 (where means anything ). Then Γ 1 (N) and Γ 0 (N) are congruence subgroups of SL 2 Z of level N. From the definitions it is clear that Γ(N) Γ 1 (N) Γ 0 (N) SL 2 Z. The morphisms SL 2 Z SL 2 Z/NZ [ ] [ ] mod N (5) with kernel Γ(N), Γ 1 (N) Z/NZ [ ] b mod N (6) with kernel Γ(N), and Γ 0 (N) (Z/NZ) [ ] d mod N (7) with kernel Γ 1 (N) show furthermore that Γ(N) SL 2 Z and Γ 1 (N) Γ 0 (N) are normal subgroups, and allow us to make index computations [SL 2 Z : Γ(N)] = N (1 3 1p ) 2, (8) p N [Γ 1 (N) : Γ(N)] = N, and (9) [Γ 0 (N) : Γ 1 (N)] = φ(n). (10) Any other index we might want among these subgroups follows from these and multiplicativity [A : B][B : C] = [A : C]. 2

3 2 The Modular Group and Elliptic Curves Since the modular group acts on the upper half-plane, we may identify points in the same orbit to form the quotient space SL 2 Z\H. We have previously referred to the fact that this is the moduli space of elliptic curves. Let s look closer at what this means and why it s true. Recall that every complex elliptic curve is the quotient C/Λ of the complex plane by a lattice. We ve also seen that every lattice (and thus every elliptic curve) can be specified by a point in the upper half-plane, via τ Λ τ = Z + Zτ E τ = C/Λ τ. (11) Now, E τ = C/Λ τ and E τ = C/Λ τ are isomorphic elliptic curves (i.e. isomorphic simultaneously as Riemann surfaces and groups) precisely when Λ τ = mλ τ for some m C. Regarding τ as fixed, which τ H can produce such a Λ τ? Well (1, τ) and (m, mτ ) are bases for the same lattice (i.e. Λ τ = mλ τ ) precisely when [ [ ] [ ] [ ] τ mτ = for some SL ] 1 m 2 Z. (12) Equating each entry, we have aτ + b = mτ and cτ + d = m, and dividing the first equation by the second, aτ+b cτ+d = τ. This is the statement that τ, τ are in the same SL 2 Z-orbit. (In case it s not obvious, the first two equations together are equivalent to the third, because to go backwards we just define m to be cτ + d). Thus the SL 2 Z-orbits in H are in bijective correspondence with isomorphism classes of complex elliptic curves: E τ = Eτ if and only if SL 2 Z τ = SL 2 Z τ. This is the sense in which SL 2 Z\H is the moduli space of elliptic curves: the points of this space are in bijection with isomorphism classes of complex elliptic curves. We won t go into as much detail (details can be found in Diamond & Shurman), but congruence subgroups also produce moduli spaces, for so-called enhanced elliptic curves. An enhanced elliptic curve is an elliptic curve with some distinguished torsion data. The congruence subgroups we ve introduced correspond to the following examples. An enhanced elliptic curve for Γ 0 (N) is an elliptic curve E together with a chosen subgroup C of order N. Two pairs (E, C) and (E, C ) are equivalent if there is an isomorphism E E restricting to an isomorphism C C. The quotient space Γ 0 (N)\H is the moduli space of these enhanced elliptic curves; that is, the points of Γ 0 (N)\H correspond precisely to equivalence classes (E, C). Similarly, an enhanced elliptic curve for Γ 1 (N) is an elliptic curve E together with a chosen point Q of order N. Two pairs (E, Q) and (E, Q ) are equivalent if there is an isomorphism E E taking Q Q. The quotient space Γ 1 (N)\H is the moduli space of these enhanced elliptic curves; that is, the points of Γ 1 (N)\H correspond precisely to equivalence classes (E, Q). 3

4 Finally, an enhanced elliptic curve for Γ(N) is an elliptic curve E together with a pair of points P, Q which generate the N-torsion subgroup E[N] of E and have Weil pairing e N (P, Q) = e 2πi/N. Two tuples (E, P, Q) and (E, P, Q ) are equivalent if there is an isomorphism E E taking P P and Q Q. The quotient space Γ(N)\H is the moduli space of these enhanced elliptic curves; that is, the points of Γ(N)\H correspond precisely to equivalence classes (E, P, Q). 3 Modular Forms for Congruence Subgroups Now we define modular forms for congruence subgroups, which is slightly more subtle than modular [ forms ] for the full modular group SL 2 Z. First some notation: for γ = SL 2 Z and τ H, define the factor of automorphy j(γ, τ) = cτ + d. Also, we translate the left action of SL 2 Z on H to a right action on functions H C. For γ SL 2 Z and k Z, define the weight-k action of SL 2 Z on functions f : H C (or the weight-k operator [γ] k ) by (f[γ] k )(τ) = j(γ, τ) k f(γτ). (13) Now for a congruence subgroup Γ we can simply define, as in the case of the modular group: a function f : H C is weakly modular of weight k for Γ if f is meromorphic and f[γ] k = f for all γ Γ. To define a modular form for a congruence subgroup, we add holomorphy conditions. It is essential that the space of modular forms be finite dimensional; as we ll glimpse in 4, the finite-dimensionality accounts for much of the power of modular forms. For the modular group, we required that our modular forms be holomorphic on the upper half-plane, but also at, which we add to compactify the domain. In the case of a general congruence subgroup Γ we need to add still more bits: all of Q (up to the action of Γ). The Γ-orbits in Q are called the cusps of Γ, for geometric reasons that we ll hopefully see in later lectures. Since every [ congruence ] subgroup contains Γ(N) for some N, it contains the 1 h translation for some least h (which may not be N, but must divide N). 0 1 Thus if f : H C is weakly modular for Γ, it is hz-periodic, and thus has a Fourier expansion f(τ) = a n q n/h, q = e 2πiτ. (14) n Z We say f is holomorphic at if a n = 0 for n < 0 in the above Fourier expansion. Now if s Q, there is some α SL 2 Z with α = s. We say f is holomorphic at s if f[α] k is holomorphic at. We are ready to define modular forms for congruence subgroups. Let Γ SL 2 Z be a congruence subgroup and f : H C a function. Then f is a modular form for Γ if (1) f is weakly modular for Γ, i.e. f[γ] k = f for all γ Γ; 4

5 (2) f is holomorphic on H; and (3) f is holomorphic at the cusps, i.e. f[α] k is holomorphic at for all γ SL 2 Z. If in addition a 0 = 0 in the Fourier expansion of f[α] k for all α SL 2 Z, i.e. if f vanishes at the cusps, then f is called a cusp form. A useful alternative to condition (3), which is equivalent to (3) in the presence of (1) and (2), is the following: (3 ) for a n the coefficients of the Fourier expansion f(τ) = n 0 a nq n/h, there are constants C, r > 0 such that a n Cn r for n > 0. Let s have some examples. Recall the Eisenstein series that appeared in a previous lecture: for a lattice Λ C, we defined G 4 (Λ) = λ Λ 1 λ 4 and G 6 (Λ) = λ Λ 1 λ 6 (15) (where Λ = Λ\{0}). We can translate these to functions on the upper halfplane via our friend τ Λ τ. In general, define the Eisenstein series of weight k G k : H C for even k > 2 by G k (τ) = c,d Z (c,d) (0,0) 1 (cτ + d) k. (16) This is a modular form of weight k for SL 2 Z, and some analysis work, which can be found in Diamond & Shurman, shows that G k (τ) = 2ζ(k) + 2 (2πi)k (k 1)! σ k 1 (n)q n, (17) (where σ r (n) = d n dr ). Why do we require k > 2 here? Because if k = 2, then the series does not converge absolutely. However, the analogue of (17) for k = 2 makes sense, and we can define G 2 (τ) = 2ζ(2) 8π 2 n 1 σ 1 (n)q n. (18) n 1 The failure of absolute convergence prevents G 2 (τ) from being a modular form, but it still plays a very important role in the theory. For any positive integer N, G 2,N (τ) = G 2 (τ) NG 2 (Nτ) (19) is a modular form of weight 2 for Γ 0 (N). In fact, the set {G 2,d : d N} is asis for M 2 (Γ 0 (N)) for some small N, including N = 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, Sums of Four Squares Consider the function θ(τ) = n Z qn2. This function counts the number of ways to write an integer as the sum of one square. That is, if we write θ(τ) = 5

6 k 0 a kq k, then 0 if k is not a square a k = 1 if k = 0 2 if k is a non-zero square. (20) Note we count (r) 2 and ( r) 2 as different expressions. What about the function θ(τ) 2? In the same way, this function counts the number of ways to write an integer as the sum of two squares. Indeed, expanding the product ( ) q n2 = a k q k, (21) n Z q n2) ( n Z m,n Z q m2+n2 = k 0 we see that the coefficient a k is the number of terms q m2 +n 2 for which m 2 +n 2 = k, i.e. the number of expressions of k as a sum of two squares. Note that sign and order matter, so e.g. 13 = (2) 2 + (3) 2 = ( 2) 2 + (3) 2 = (2) 2 + ( 3) 2 = ( 2) 2 + ( 3) 2 = (3) 2 + (2) 2 = ( 3) 2 + (2) 2 = (3) 2 + ( 2) 2 = ( 3) 2 + ( 2) 2 (22) can be expressed as a sum of two squares in eight ways (a 13 = 8). This may seem strange, since up to order and sign 13 can be expressed as a sum of two squares in essentially one way ; but our count has the nice features that 1. k can be written as a sum of two squares if and only if a k > 0, 2. a summand of 0 is distinguished from a positive summand because 0 = 0, and 3. repeated summands are distinguished from distinct summands. Thus we actually get a lot of information: in this case, a k = 0 if k is not a sum of two squares 1 if k = 0 4 if k can be expressed in essentially one way as a non-zero square or twice a non-zero square 8 if k can be expressed in essentially one way as a sum of two distinct non-zero squares etc. (23) In precisely the same way, θ(τ) 4 counts the number of ways to write an integer as the sum of four squares. That is, writing θ(τ) 4 = k 0 a kq k, the 6

7 coefficient a k is the number of ways to write k as a sum of four squares. We can determine these a k by showing that θ(τ) 4 is a modular form, and then invoking our knowledge of modular forms. (There s a lot we won t prove, but it s all accessible as an exercise or a topic that will be covered in a later lecture; we re looking it ahead here). Since we defined it in terms of q = e 2πiτ, it s clear that θ(τ + 1) = θ(τ). Using the Poisson summation formula and some analysis, we can show that θ( τ 4τ+1 ) = 4τ + 1 θ(τ). (24) τ Thus θ(τ + 1) 4 = θ(τ) 4 and θ( 4τ+1 )4 = (4τ + 1) 2 θ(τ). This shows θ(τ) 4 is [ ] 1 1 weakly modular of weight 2 for the subgroup of SL 2 Z generated by ± [ ] and ±, which turns out to be Γ (4). Since θ(τ) is a sufficiently convergent series of holomorphic functions, it is holomorphic on H. Now we know θ(τ) 4 satisfies conditions (1) and (2) for the definition of a modular form for Γ 0 (4), and it is easy to show that it satisfies condition (3 ): a k is the number of ways to write k as a sum of four squares, and this is trivially bounded by the number of ways to choose four numbers between k and k (inclusive), which is (2k + 1) 4. Thus θ(τ) 4 is a modular form of weight 2 for Γ 0 (4). Now, as we observed (without proof) above, the space of such modular forms M 2 (Γ 0 (4)) has asis G 2,2 (τ) = π n 1 d d n d odd qn G 2,4 (τ) = π d n 1 We can compute by hand that d n 4 d qn = π2 (1 + 24q + ), 3 = π2 (1 + 8q + ). (25) θ(τ) 4 = 1 + 8q +, (26) and we conclude from linear algebra that θ(τ) 4 = 1 π G 2 2,4 (τ). (Behold the power of finite-dimensional spaces of modular forms!) Comparing coefficients, we see that the number of ways to write a positive integer k as the sum of four squares is a k = 8 d. d k (27) 4 d In particular this is greater than zero, because every integer has a divisor that is not divisible by 4, so every integer can be expressed as a sum of four squares. 7

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