Spectral Theory and Mirror Symmetry

Thursday, 25 June, 2015

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Recent developments in string theory have revealed a surprising connection between spectral theory and local mirror symmetry: it has been found that the quantization of mirror curves to toric Calabi-Yau threefolds leads to trace class operators, whose spectral properties are conjecturally encoded in the enumerative geometry of the Calabi-Yau. This leads to a new, infinite family of solvable spectral problems: the Fredholm determinants of these operators can be found explicitly in terms of Gromov-Witten invariants and their refinements; their spectrum is encoded in exact quantization conditions, and turns out to be determined by the vanishing of a quantum theta function. Conversely, the spectral theory of these operators provides a non-perturbative definition of topological string theory on toric Calabi-Yau threefolds. In particular, their integral kernels lead to matrix integral representations of the topological string partition function, which explain some number-theoretic properties of the periods. In this paper we give a pedagogical overview of these developments with a focus on their mathematical implications.


Marcos Marino