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Morse theory, graphs, and string topology

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Type
Preprint
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arXiv ID: math/0411272
Source
arXiv
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Abstract

In these lecture notes we discuss a body of work in which Morse theory is used to construct various homology and cohomology operations. In the classical setting of algebraic topology this is done by constructing a moduli space of graph flows, using homotopy theoretic methods to construct a virtual fundamental class, and evaluating cohomology classes on this fundamental class. By using similar constructions based on "fat" or ribbon graphs, we describe how to construct string topology operations on the loop space of a manifold, using Morse theoretic techniques. Finally, we discuss how to relate these string topology operations to the counting of J - holomorphic curves in the cotangent bundle. We end with speculations about the relationship between the absolute and relative Gromov-Witten theory of the cotangent bundle, and the open-closed string topology of the underlying manifold.

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