The braid group $Br(n)$ is the group whose elements are isotopy classes of $n$ 1-dimensional braids running vertically in 3-dimensional Cartesian space, the group operation being their concatenation.
Here a braid with $n$ strands is thought of as $n$ pieces of string joining $n$ points at the top of the diagram with $n$-points at the bottom.
(This is a picture of a 3-strand braid.)
We can transform / ‘isotope’ these braid diagrams just as we can transform knot diagrams, again using Reidemeister moves. The ‘isotopy’ classes of braid diagrams form a group in which the composition is obtained by putting one diagram above another.
The identity consists of $n$ vertical strings, so the inverse is obtained by turning a diagram upside down:
This is the inverse of the first 3-braid we saw.
There are useful group presentations of the braid groups. We will return later to the interpretation of the generators and relations in terms of diagrams.
Geometrically, one may understand the group of braids in $\mathbb{R}^3$ as the fundamental group of the configuration space of points in the plane $\mathbb{R}^2$ (traditionally regarded as the complex plane $\mathbb{C}$ in this context, though the complex structure plays no role in the definition of the braid group).
We say this in more detail:
Let $C_n \hookrightarrow \mathbb{C}^n$ denote the space of configurations of n ordered points in the complex plane, whose elements are those n-tuples $(z_1, \ldots, z_n)$ such that $z_i \neq z_j$ whenever $i \neq j$. In other words, $C_n$ is the complement of the fat diagonal:
The symmetric group $S_n$ acts on $C_n$ by permuting coordinates. Let:
$C_n/S_n$ denote the quotient by this group action, hence the orbit space (the space of $n$-element subsets of $\mathbb{C}$ if one likes),
$[z_1, \ldots, z_n]$ denote the image of $(z_1, \ldots, z_n)$ under the quotient coprojection $\pi \colon C_n \to C_n/S_n$ (i.e. its the equivalence class).
We understand $p = (1, 2, \ldots, n)$ as the basepoint for $C_n$, and $[p] = [1, 2, \ldots n]$ as the basepoint for the configuration space of unordered points $C_n/S_n$, making it a pointed topological space.
The braid group is the fundamental group of the configuration space of n unordered points:
The pure braid group is the fundamental group of the configuration space of n ordered points:
Evidently a braid $\beta$ is represented by a path $\alpha: I \to C_n/S_n$ with $\alpha(0) = [p] = \alpha(1)$. Such a path may be uniquely lifted through the covering projection $\pi: C_n \to C_n/S_n$ to a path $\tilde{\alpha}$ such that $\tilde{\alpha}(0) = p$. The end of the path $\tilde{\alpha}(1)$ has the same underlying subset as $p$ but with coordinates permuted: $\tilde{\alpha}(1) = (\sigma(1), \sigma(2), \ldots, \sigma(n))$. Thus the braid $\beta$ is exhibited by $n$ non-intersecting strands, each one connecting an $i$ to $\sigma(i)$, and we have a map $\beta \mapsto \sigma$ appearing as the quotient map of an exact sequence
which is part of a long exact homotopy sequence corresponding to the fibration $\pi \colon C_n \to C_n/S_n$.
Since the notion of a configuration space of points makes sense for points in any topological space, not necessarily the plane $\mathbb{R}^2$, the above geometric definition has an immediate generalization:
For $\Sigma$ any surface, the fundamental group of the (ordered) configuration space of points in $\Sigma$ may be regarded as generalized (pure) braid group. These surface braid groups are of interest in 3d topological field theory and in particular in topological quantum computation where it models non-abelian anyons.
Yet more generally, one may consider the fundamental group of the configuration space of points of any topological space $X$.
For example for $X$ a 1-dimensional CW-complex, hence an (undirected) graph, one speaks of graph braid groups (e.g. Farley & Sabalka 2009).
The following should maybe not be here in the Definition-section, but in some Properties- or Examples-section, or maybe in a dedicated entry on graph braid groups?:
It has been shown (An & Maciazek 2006, using discrete Morse theory and combinatorial analysis of small graphs) that graph braid groups are generated by particular particle moves with the following description:
Star-type generators: exchanges of particle pairs on vertices of the particular graph
loop type generators: circular moves of a single particle around a simple cycle of the graph
The Artin braid group, $Br({n+1})$, defined using $n+1$ strands is a group given by
generators: $y_i$, $i = 1, \ldots, n$;
relations:
$r_{i,j} \equiv y_i y_j y_i^{-1} y_j^{-1}$ for $i+1 \lt j$
$r_{i,i+1}\equiv y_i y_{i+1} y_i y_{i+1}^{-1} y_i^{-1} y_{i+1}^{-1}$ for $1 \leq i \lt n$.
The braid group $Br(n)$ may be alternatively described as the mapping class group of a 2-disk $D^2$ with $n$ punctures (call it $X_n$). Meanwhile, the fundamental group $\pi_1(X_n)$ (with basepoint on the boundary) is a free group $F_n$ on $n$ generators; the functoriality of $\pi_1$ implies we have an induced homomorphism
If an automorphism $\phi: X_n \to X_n$ is isotopic to the identity, then of course $\pi_1(\phi)$ is trivial, and so the homomorphism factors through the quotient $MCG(X_n) = Aut(X_n)/Aut_0(X)$, so we get a homomorphism
and this turns out to be an injection.
Explicitly, the generator $y_i$ used in the Artin presentation above is mapped to the automorphism $\sigma_i$ on the free group on $n$ generators $x_1, \ldots, x_n$ defined by
(moduli space of monopoles is stably weak homotopy equivalent to classifying space of braid group)
For $k \in \mathbb{N}$ there is a stable weak homotopy equivalence between the moduli space of k monopoles (?) and the classifying space of the braid group $Br({2k})$ on $2 k$ strands:
The first few examples of the braid group $Br(n)$ for low values of $n$:
The group $Br(1)$ has no generators and no relations, so is the trivial group:
The group $Br(2)$ has one generator and no relations, so is the infinite cyclic group of integers:
The group $Br(3)$ (we will simplify notation writing $u = y_1$, $v = y_2$) has presentation
This is also known as the “trefoil knot group”, i.e., the fundamental group of the complement of a trefoil knot.
The group $Br(4)$ (simplifying notation as before) has generators $u,v,w$ and relations:
The Hurwitz braid group (or sphere braid group) is the surface braid group for $\Sigma$ the 2-sphere $S^2$. Algebraically, the Hurwitz braid group $H_{n+1}$ has all of the generators and relations of the Artin braid group $Br({n+1})$, plus one additional relation:
chord diagrams | weight systems |
---|---|
linear chord diagrams, round chord diagrams Jacobi diagrams, Sullivan chord diagrams | Lie algebra weight systems, stringy weight system, Rozansky-Witten weight systems |
Classical references:
Joan S. Birman, Braids, links, and mapping class groups, Princeton Univ Press, 1974.
R. H. Fox, L. Neuwirth, The braid groups, Math. Scand. 10 (1962) pp.119-126. pdf, MR150755
Textbook accounts:
See also:
Wikipedia: Braid group
Joshua Lieber, Introduction to Braid Groups, 2011 (pdf)
Juan González-Meneses, Basic results on braid groups, Annales Mathématiques Blaise Pascal, Tome 18 (2011) no. 1, pp. 15-59 (ambp:AMBP_2011__18_1_15_0)
Alexander I. Suciu, He Wang, The pure braid groups and their relatives, Perspectives in Lie theory, 403-426, Springer INdAM series, vol. 19, Springer, Cham, 2017 (arXiv:1602.05291)
On the group homology and group cohomology of braid groups:
For orderings of the braid group see
Patrick Dehornoy, Braid groups and left distributive operations , Transactions AMS 345 no.1 (1994) pp.115–150.
H. Langmaack, Verbandstheoretische Einbettung von Klassen unwesentlich verschiedener Ableitungen in die Zopfgruppe , Computing 7 no.3-4 (1971) pp.293-310.
On geometric presentations of braid groups:
On linear representations of braid groups (see also at braid group statistics and interpretation as quantum gates in topological quantum computation):
Review:
in relation to modular tensor categories:
See also:
As quantum gates for topological quantum computation with anyons:
Louis H. Kauffman, Samuel J. Lomonaco, Braiding Operators are Universal Quantum Gates, New Journal of Physics, Volume 6, January 2004 (arXiv:quant-ph/0401090, doi:10.1088/1367-2630/6/1/134)
Samuel J. Lomonaco, Louis Kauffman, Topological Quantum Computing and the Jones Polynomial, Proc. SPIE 6244, Quantum Information and Computation IV, 62440Z (12 May 2006) (arXiv:quant-ph/0605004)
(braid group representation serving as a topological quantum gate to compute the Jones polynomial)
C.-L. Ho, A.I. Solomon, C.-H.Oh, Quantum entanglement, unitary braid representation and Temperley-Lieb algebra, EPL 92 (2010) 30002 (arXiv:1011.6229)
Louis H. Kauffman, Majorana Fermions and Representations of the Braid Group, International Journal of Modern Physics AVol. 33, No. 23, 1830023 (2018) (arXiv:1710.04650, doi:10.1142/S0217751X18300235)
Daniel Farley, Lucas Sabalka, Presentations of Graph Braid Groups (arXiv:0907.2730)
Ki Hyoung Ko, Hyo Won Park, Characteristics of graph braid groups (arXiv:1101.2648)
Byung Hee An, Tomasz Maciazek, Geometric presentations of braid groups for particles on a graph (arXiv:2006.15256)
On moduli spaces of monopoles related to braid groups:
Fred Cohen, Ralph Cohen, B. M. Mann, R. J. Milgram, The topology of rational functions and divisors of surfaces, Acta Math (1991) 166: 163 (doi:10.1007/BF02398886)
Ralph Cohen, John D. S. Jones Monopoles, braid groups, and the Dirac operator, Comm. Math. Phys. Volume 158, Number 2 (1993), 241-266 (euclid:cmp/1104254240)
Partly motivated by the possibility of quantum computation eventually breaking the security of cryptography based on abelian groups, such as elliptic curves, there are proposals to use non-abelian braid groups for purposes of cryptography (“post-quantum cryptography”).
An early proposal was to use the Conjugacy Search Problem in braid groups as a computationally hard problem for cryptography. This approach, though, was eventually found not to be viable.
Original articles:
Iris Anshel, M. Anshel and D. Goldfeld, An algebraic method for public-keycryptography, Math. Research Letters 6 (1999), 287–291 (pdf)
K.H. Ko, S.J. Lee, J.H. Cheon , J.W. Han, J. Kang, C. Park , New Public-Key Cryptosystem Using Braid Groups, In: M. Bellare (ed.) Advances in Cryptology — CRYPTO 2000 Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 1880. Springer 2000 (doi:10.1007/3-540-44598-6_10)
Review:
Karl Mahlburg, An Overview of Braid Group Encryption, 2004 (pdf)
Parvez Anandam, Introduction to Braid Group Cryptography, 2006 (pdf)
David Garber, Braid Group Cryptography, Lecture Notes Series, Institute for Mathematical Sciences, National University of Singapore (arXiv:0711.3941, doi:10.1142/9789814291415_0006)
Cryptowiki, Cryptosystems based on braid groups
A followup proposal was to use the problem of reversing E-multiplication in braid groups, thought to remedy the previous problems.
Original article:
Review:
But other problems were found with this approach, rendering it non-viable.
Original article:
Review:
The basic idea is still felt to be promising:
Xiaoming Chen, Weiqing You, Meng Jiao, Kejun Zhang, Shuang Qing, Zhiqiang Wang, A New Cryptosystem Based on Positive Braids (arXiv:1910.04346)
Garry P. Dacillo, Ronnel R. Atole, Braided Ribbon Group $C_n$-based Asymmetric Cryptography, Solid State Technology Vol. 63 No. 2s (2020) (JSST:5573)
But further attacks are being discussed:
As are further ways around these:
Last revised on June 24, 2021 at 09:12:52. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.