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In this paper we extend previous work on calculating massless boundary Ramond sector spectra of open strings to include cases with nonzero flat $B$ fields. In such cases, D-branes are no longer well-modeled precisely by sheaves, but rather they are replaced by `twisted' sheaves, reflecting the fact that gauge transformations of the $B$ field act as affine translations of the Chan-Paton factors. As in previous work, we find that the massless boundary Ramond sector states are counted by Ext groups -- this time, Ext groups of twisted sheaves. As before, the computation of BRST cohomology relies on physically realizing some spectral sequences. Subtleties that cropped up in previous work also appear here.
We study F-terms describing coupling of the supergravity to N = 1 supersymmetric gauge theories which admit large N expansions. We show that these F-terms are given by summing over genus one non-planar diagrams of the large N expansion of the associated matrix model (or more generally bosonic gauge theory). The key ingredient in this derivation is the observation that the chiral ring of the gluino fields is deformed by the supergravity fields, generalizing the C-deformation which was recently introduced. The gravity induced part of the C-deformation can be derived from the Bianchi identities of the supergravity, but understanding gravitational corrections to the F-terms requires a non-traditional interpretation of these identities.
We discuss various properties of the Seiberg-Witten curve for the E-string theory which we have obtained recently in hep-th/0203025. Seiberg-Witten curve for the E-string describes the low-energy dynamics of a six-dimensional (1,0) SUSY theory when compactified on R4R} X T2. It has a manifest affine E8 global symmetry with modulus tau and E8 Wilson line parameters mi, i = 1,2, ... ,8 which are associated with the geometry of the rational elliptic surface. When the radii R5, R6 of the torus T2 degenerate R5, R6 go to 0, E-string curve is reduced to the known Seiberg-Witten curves of four- and five-dimensional gauge theories. In this paper we first study the geometry of rational elliptic surface and identify the geometrical significance of the Wilson line parameters. By fine tuning these parameters we also study degenerations of our curve corresponding to various unbroken symmetry groups. We also find a new way of reduction to four-dimensional theories without taking a degenerate limit of T2 so that the SL(2, Z) symmetry is left intact. By setting some of the Wilson line parameters to special values we obtain the four-dimensional SU(2) Seiberg-Witten theory with 4 flavors and also a curve by Donagi and Witten describing the dynamics of a perturbed N = 4 theory.
The instanton partition function of N = 2, D = 4, SU(2) gauge theory is obtained by taking the field theory limit of the topological open string partition function, given by a Chern-Simons theory, of a CY3-fold. The CY3-fold on the open string side is obtained by geometric transition from local IP1 X IP1 which is used in the geometric engineering of the SU(2) theory. The partition function obtained from the Chern-Simons theory agrees with the closed topological string partition function of local IP1 X IP1 proposed recently by Nekrasov. We also obtain the partition functions for local IF1 and IF2 CY3-folds and show that the topological string amplitudes of all three local Hirzebruch surfaces give rise to the same field theory limit. It is shown that a generalization of the topological closed string partition function whose field theory limit is the generalization of the instanton partition function, proposed by Nekrasov, can be determined easily from the Chern-Simons theory.
We replace our earlier condition that physical states of the superstring have non-negative grading by the requirement that they are analytic in a new real commuting constant t which we associate with the central charge of the underlying Kac-Moody superalgebra. The analogy with the twisted N=2 SYM theory suggests that our covariant superstring is a twisted version of another formulation with an equivariant cohomology. We prove that our vertex operators correspond in one-to-one fashion to the vertex operators in Berkovits' approach based on pure spinors. Also the zero-momentum cohomology is equal in both cases. Finally, we apply the methods of equivariant cohomology to the superstring, and obtain the same BRST charge as obtained earlier by relaxing the pure spinor constraints.
We review some relations occurring between the combinatorial intersection theory on the moduli spaces of stable curves and the asymptotic behavior of the 't Hooft-Kontsevich matrix integrals. In particular, we give an alternative proof of the Witten-Di~Francesco-Itzykson-Zuber theorem ---which expresses derivatives of the partition function of intersection numbers as matrix integrals--- using techniques based on diagrammatic calculus and combinatorial relations among intersection numbers. These techniques extend to a more general interaction potential.