A 2-categorical state sum model


It has long been argued that higher categories provide the proper algebraic structure underlying state sum invariants of 4-manifolds. This idea has been refined recently, by proposing to use 2-groups and their representations as specific examples of 2-categories. The challenge has been to make these proposals fully explicit. Here we give a concrete realization of this program. Building upon our earlier work with Baez and Wise on the representation theory of 2-groups, we construct a four-dimensional state sum model based on a categorified version of the Euclidean group. We define and explicitly compute the simplex weights, which may be viewed a categorified analogue of Racah-Wigner 6j-symbols. These weights solve an hexagon equation that encodes the formal invariance of the state sum under the Pachner moves of the triangulation. This result unravels the combinatorial formulation of the Feynman amplitudes of quantum field theory on flat spacetime proposed recently, which was shown to lead after gauge-fixing to Korepanov’s invariant of 4-manifolds.

Journal of Mathematical Physics 56, 011705
Aristide Baratin
Aristide Baratin
PhD Candidate