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What evidence do we have for S-duality in N=4 Super-Yang-Mills?

+ 6 like - 0 dislike
81 views

Do we have anything resembling a proof*? Or is it just a collection of "coincidences"?

Also, do we have evidence from lattice gauge theory computations?

*Of course I'm not talking about a proof in the mathematical sense, only a compelling albeit heuristic argument e.g. an argument involving formal manipulations with path integrals.


This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)

asked Oct 26, 2011 in Theoretical Physics by Squark (1,700 points) [ revision history ]
retagged Apr 19, 2014 by dimension10
Thanks, much better.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
Just a quick feedback: I doubt there is something resembling a proof in a mathematical sense of anything at all for a fully fledged QFT (which has infinitely many states and divergences -- leading to non-trivial critical exponents), so I am not sure this is productive. Asking for evidence seems interesting though a bit broad, maybe there is a place to add some motivation. I am also not sure by what you mean by “numerical” and why you single out such evidence.

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1 Answer

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There is a "proof" of S-duality in free abelian gauge theory. See, for example, Witten's On S-Duality in Abelian Gauge Theory or his IAS lecture. Morally, you should think of this as a Fourier transform. The non-Abelian version, of course, is much harder and requires N=4 SUSY. But this isn't a surprise as the non-Abelian Fourier transform is a tricky thing.

Now, at least from the math side, you should be thinking about Geometric Langlands which is pretty closely related and has the same distinction between the Abelian case (which I understand to reduce to some class field theory stuff) and the more difficult non-Abelian version. Long before Kapustin-Witten and all that has come after, this connection was first shown in Harvey, Moore and Strominger and Bershadsky, Johansen, Sadov and Vafa.

There is, of course, a long, long list of "coincidences", too.

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answered Oct 27, 2011 by Aaron (420 points) [ no revision ]
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Geometric Langlands is, in large parts, proved. Langlands for number fields is much harder.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
Right, so how does it relate it to Fourier transform?

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This should remind you a lot of Poisson resummation, too.

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Are you sure that the geometric Langlands program is close to being proved? I've always been under the impression that it would occupy mathematicians for generations to come...

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The short answer is that it's a closely related to Abelian duality which mathematically is related to a Fourier-Mukai transform.

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Definitely (and other topological twists also evince S-duality, i.e., Vafa and Witten's hep-th/9408074). The point was to draw the analogy between the Abelian and non-Abelian Fourier transform as the desired heuristic.

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Welcome, Aaron!

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