© 2020
Ergodic Theoretic Methods in Group Homology
A Minicourse on L2-Betti Numbers in Group Theory
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Part of the SpringerBriefs in Mathematics book series (BRIEFSMATH)
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© 2020
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Mathematics book series (BRIEFSMATH)
Group homology integrates group actions into homological structure. Coefficients based on probability measure preserving actions combine ergodic theory and homology. An example of such an interaction is provided by L^{2}-Betti numbers: these invariants can be understood in terms of group homology with coefficients related to the group von Neumann algebra, via approximation by finite index subgroups, or via dynamical systems. In this way, L^{2}-Betti numbers lead to orbit/measure equivalence invariants and measured group theory helps to compute L^{2}-Betti numbers. Similar methods apply also to compute the rank gradient/cost of groups as well as the simplicial volume of manifolds.
This book introduces L^{2}-Betti numbers of groups at an elementary level and then develops the ergodic point of view, emphasising the connection with approximation phenomena for homological gradient invariants of groups and spaces. The text is an extended version of the lecture notes for a minicourse at the MSRI summer graduate school “Random and arithmetic structures in topology” and thus accessible to the graduate or advanced undergraduate students. Many examples and exercises illustrate the material.
“This is an attractive brisk introduction to the field, and will be a useful entry point to what is now a large and active field.” (Thomas B. Ward, zbMATH 1444.37001, 2020)