Rational invariants of even ternary forms under the orthogonal group

Paul Görlach, Evelyne Hubert, Théo Papadopoulo

In this article we determine a generating set of rational invariants of minimal cardinality for the action of the orthogonal group $\mathrm{O}_3$ on the space $\mathbb{R}[x,y,z]_{2d}$ of ternary forms of even degree $2d$. The construction relies on two key ingredients: On one hand, the Slice Lemma allows us to reduce the problem to dermining the invariants for the action on a subspace of the finite subgroup $\mathrm{B}_3$ of signed permutations. On the other hand, our construction relies in a fundamental way on specific bases of harmonic polynomials. These bases provide maps with prescribed $\mathrm{B}_3$-equivariance properties. Our explicit construction of these bases should be relevant well beyond the scope of this paper. The expression of the $\mathrm{B}_3$-invariants can then be given in a compact form as the composition of two equivariant maps. Instead of providing (cumbersome) explicit expressions for the $\mathrm{O}_3$-invariants, we provide efficient algorithms for their evaluation and rewriting. We also use the constructed $\mathrm{B}_3$-invariants to determine the $\mathrm{O}_3$-orbit locus and provide an algorithm for the inverse problem of finding an element in $\mathbb{R}[x,y,z]_{2d}$ with prescribed values for its invariants. These are the computational issues relevant in brain imaging.

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