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Introduction

Introduction

This site describes an ongoing project to build a totally discrete framework for geometry, using elementary ideas from a range of mathematical fields, including graph theory, group theory, representation theory, theoretical computer science, differential geometry, calculus, abstract rewriting systems, and others. It asks the question: how are we to think about a geometry that has a fundamentally smallest scale?

What is geometry?

From an abstract point of view, we may ask what geometry is fundamentally about. One appealing answer is that it is the logic of movement: the rules by which an object or agent may be moved from place to place, or a more abstract system may transition from state to state, and the rules used to reason about these transitions. There are only two fundamental ingredients: the states / places that an agent or system can be in, and the movements / transitions available at each such state or place.

Both of these ingredients are discrete, taking only a finite number of values in any given instantiation: an agent may move from state \(\vert{x}\) to \(\vert{y}\) to \(\vert{z}\), but it does so in discrete jumps, and describes these with discrete labels: \(\tde{\vert{x}}{\vert{y}}{\card{a}}\), \(\tde{\vert{y}}{\vert{z}}{\card{b}}\). Time, if it is involved in such descriptions, is also discrete, passing like the ticking of a CPU clock.

Continuous geometry

When such a discrete theory of geometry makes contact with the continuous objects of classical geometry, it should do so on its own terms, and continuous objects will be seen as the limiting case of particular discrete geometries. That is to say, we should not try to reach discrete geometry by starting from continuous geometry, since that would get it backward. We should "commit to the bit" from the beginning.

Visualization

One of my aims is to render intuitive this approach to discrete geometry through careful visualization. Visualization is fundamental to the theory and practice of geometry, and many arguments or explanations are simpler, or indeed redundant, in a visual medium.

Prerequisites

We won’t assume any particular level of mathematical background – some sections may assume more or less. Little of the mathematics employed will rise much beyond what you’d encounter in an undergraduate mathematics degree. Therefore, I’ll use an informal style suited to those without a deep mathematical background. If you find this annoying or redundant I hope to have a more terse, academic-style summary of these ideas in the future.

Physics

While quiver geometry doesn’t make immediate connections to physics, it does aim to populate the toolbox of ideas and methods we might use to build and analyze models of fundamental physics that are discrete, finite, and computable, such as that proposed by the Wolfram Physics Project.

It is my belief that the universe will turn out to be operating on fundamentally discrete, computational principles. If this becomes accepted scientific wisdom, we will in retrospect see continuous geometry as an enticing and useful illusion, but one that never had the physical basis that was its historical justification and inspiration.

Mathematics

I anticipate that many of the rich phenomena that play out in continuous geometry will have fascinating discrete counterparts – and that these will prove very fruitful to study as a kind of digital reinterpretation of the canon of traditional mathematics.

Format

This site represents a "living document", detailing the topics within quiver geometry that I am confident enough to explain and illustrate. Some pages contain missing subsections, since illustrating and describing some of these ideas takes time. These are marked as "under construction". There are other topics that remain "aspirational", or that are developed but not yet explained and illustrated – these are indicated by gray sections to the left.