On the equivariant Betti numbers of symmetric definable sets: vanishing, bounds and algorithms

Saugata Basu, Cordian Riener

Let $\mathrm{R}$ be a real closed field. We prove that for any fixed $d$, the equivariant rational cohomology groups of closed symmetric semi-algebraic subsets of $\mathrm{R}^k$ defined by polynomials of degrees bounded by $d$ vanishes in dimensions $d$ and larger. This vanishing result is tight. Using a new geometric approach we also prove an upper bound of $d^{O(d)} s^d k^{\lfloor d/2 \rfloor-1} $ on the equivariant Betti numbers of closed symmetric semi-algebraic subsets of $\mathrm{R}^k$ defined by quantifier-free formulas involving $s$ symmetric polynomials of degrees bounded by $d$, where $1 < d \ll s,k$. This bound is tight up to a factor depending only on $d$. These results significantly improve upon those obtained previously which were proved using different techniques. Our new methods are quite general, and also yield bounds on the equivariant Betti numbers of certain special classes of symmetric definable sets (definable sets symmetrized by pulling back under symmetric polynomial maps of fixed degree) in arbitrary o-minimal structures over $\mathrm{R}$. Finally, we utilize our new approach to obtain an algorithm with polynomially bounded complexity for computing these equivariant Betti numbers. In contrast, the problem of computing the ordinary Betti numbers of (not necessarily symmetric) semi-algebraic sets is considered to be an intractable problem, and all known algorithms for this problem have doubly exponential complexity.

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