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- Wild character varieties, meromorphic Hitchin systems and Dynkin diagrams

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17020032

In 1987 Hitchin discovered a new family of algebraic integrable systems, solvable by spectral curve methods. One novelty was that the base curve was of arbitrary genus. Later on it was understood how to extend Hitchin's viewpoint, allowing poles in the Higgs fields, and thus incorporating many of the known classical integrable systems, which occur as meromorphic Hitchin systems when the base curve has genus zero. However, in a different 1987 paper, Hitchin also proved that the total space of his integrable system admits a hyperkahler metric and (combined with work of Donaldson, Corlette and Simpson) this shows that the differentiable manifold underlying the total space of the integrable system has a simple description as a character variety $$\Hom(\pi_1(\Sigma), G)/G$$ of representations of the fundamental group of the base curve $\Sigma$ into the structure group G. This misses the main cases of interest classically, but it turns out there is an extension. In work with Biquard from 2004 Hitchin's hyperkahler story was extended to the meromorphic case, upgrading the speakers holomorphic symplectic quotient approach from 1999. Using the irregular Riemann--Hilbert correspondence the total space of such integrable systems then has a simple explicit description in terms of monodromy and Stokes data, generalising the character varieties. The construction of such ``wild character varieties'', as algebraic symplectic varieties, was recently completed in work with D. Yamakawa, generalizing the author's construction in the untwisted case (2002-2014). For example, by hyperkahler rotation, the wild character varieties all thus admit special Lagrangian fibrations. The main aim of this talk is to describe some simple examples of wild character varieties including some cases of complex dimension 2, familiar in the theory of Painleve equations, although their structure as new examples of complete hyperkahler manifolds (gravitational instantons) is perhaps less well-known. The language of quasi-Hamiltonian geometry will be used and we will see how this leads to relations to quivers, Catalan numbers and triangulations, and in particular how simple examples of gluing wild boundary conditions for Stokes data leads to duplicial algebras in the sense of Loday. The new results to be discussed are joint work with R. Paluba and/or D. Yamakawa.

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