, Volume 349, Issue 4, pp 871-887
Date: 06 Jul 2010

Homotopy invariants of Gauss words

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Abstract

By defining combinatorial moves, we can define an equivalence relation on Gauss words called homotopy. In this paper we define a homotopy invariant of Gauss words. We use this to show that there exist Gauss words that are not homotopic to the empty Gauss word, disproving a conjecture by Turaev. In fact, we show that there are an infinite number of equivalence classes of Gauss words under homotopy.