This course will be about L2-invariants. To give you a brief example, let Γ be a graph (e.g. the infinite binary tree, or the graph A∞ which forms an infinite line). Let φ be a function on the edges of Γ (e.g., you can think of it as the flow of some liquid along the edges of Γ), so that the sum of values of φ at edges emanating from every vertex is zero (in terms of flows, this is the conservation law insisting that no liquid gets lost where edges are joined together). The questions are: (i) Can you choose such φ to have compact support? What about φ square summable? (It’s NO for both in the case of A∞ and NO-YES for the tree). (ii) How “many” such φ can you find? The difference between the two answers in (i) and (ii) is, roughly, the L2 homology of the graph Γ.
Specifically, we will discuss:
What you need to know: you should know what a von Neumann algebra is, or be willing to learn quickly.