The Unapologetic Mathematician

Mathematics for the interested outsider

Quantum Knot Mosaics

Today, Sam Lomonaco and Louis Kauffman posted to the arXiv a paper on “Quantum Knots and Mosaics”. I had the pleasure of a sneak preview back in March. Here’s what I said then (I haven’t had a chance to read the paper as posted, so some of this may be addressed):

About half the paper consists of setting up definitions of a mosaic and the Reidemeister moves. This concludes with the conjecture that before you allow superpositions the mosaic framework captures all of knot theory.

The grading by the size of the mosaic leads to an obvious conjecture: there exist mosaic knots which are mosaic equivalent, but which require arbitrarily many expansions. This is analogous to the same fact about crossing numbers.

Obviously, I’d write these combinatorial frameworks as categories with the mosaics as objects and the morphisms generated by the mosaic moves. Superpositions just seem to be the usual passage from a set to the vector space on that basis. See my new paper for how I say this for regular knots and Reidemeister moves.

Then (like I say in the paper) we want to talk about mosaic “covariants”. I think this ends up giving your notion of invariant after we decategorify (identify isomorphic outputs).

The only thing I’m wondering about (stopping shy of saying you two are “wrong”) is the quantum moves. The natural thing would be to go from the “group” (really its a groupoid like I said before) of moves to its linearization. That is, we should allow the “sum” of two moves as a move. This splits a basis mosaic input into a superposition.

In particular, the “surprising” result you state that one quantum mosaic is not quantum equivalent to the other must be altered. There is clearly a move in my view taking the left to the right. “Equivalence” is then the statement that two quantum mosaics are connected by an *invertible* move. I’m not sure that the move from left to right is invertible yet, but I think it is.

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May 8, 2008 - Posted by | Knot theory

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