Finite groups acting linearly: Hochschild cohomology and the cup product Academic Article uri icon


  • When a finite group acts linearly on a complex vector space, the natural semi-direct product of the group and the polynomial ring over the space forms a skew group algebra. This algebra plays the role of the coordinate ring of the resulting orbifold and serves as a substitute for the ring of invariant polynomials from the viewpoint of geometry and physics. Its Hochschild cohomology predicts various Hecke algebras and deformations of the orbifold. In this article, we investigate the ring structure of the Hochschild cohomology of the skew group algebra. We show that the cup product coincides with a natural smash product, transferring the cohomology of a group action into a group action on cohomology. We express the algebraic structure of Hochschild cohomology in terms of a partial order on the group (modulo the kernel of the action). This partial order arises after assigning to each group element the codimension of its fixed point space. We describe the algebraic structure for Coxeter groups, where this partial order is given by the reflection length function; a similar combinatorial description holds for an infinite family of complex reflection groups. 2010 Elsevier Inc.

published proceedings

  • Advances in Mathematics

author list (cited authors)

  • Shepler, A. V., & Witherspoon, S.

citation count

  • 12

complete list of authors

  • Shepler, Anne V||Witherspoon, Sarah

publication date

  • January 2011