Kurs:Computation of tight closure (Ann Arbor 2012)/Lecture 3

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In this lecture we want to discuss how tight closure inclusion or non-inclusion behaves when we change the data a little bit. We may change the characteristic, or some parameters in the equations defining the rings, or some parameters in the generators defining the ideals. If is strongly semistable and of positive (or negative) degree, then it is ample (or antiample). This is an open property, so deforming some parameters will not change tight closure inclusion or exclusion. However, if is strongly semistable of degree , then small pertubations may destroy strong semistability and hence affect tight closure inclusion or exclusion.

Affineness under deformations

We consider a base scheme and a morphism

together with an open subscheme . For every base point we get the open subset

inside the fiber . It is a natural question to ask how properties of vary with . In particular we may ask how the cohomological dimension of varies and how the affineness[1] may vary.

In the algebraic setting we have a -algebra and an ideal (so , and ) which defines for every prime ideal the extended ideal in .

This question is already interesting when is an affine one-dimensional integral scheme, in particular in the following two situations.

  1. . Then we speak of an arithmetic deformation and want to know how affineness varies with the characteristic and what the relation is to characteristic zero.
  2. , where is a field. Then we speak of a geometric deformation and want to know how affineness varies with the parameter , in particular how the behavior over the special points where the residue class field is algebraic over is related to the behavior over the generic point.

It is fairly easy to show that if the open subset in the generic fiber is affine, then also the open subsets are affine for almost all special points.

We will deal with this question when is a torsor over a family of smooth projective curves (or a torsor over a punctured two-dimensional spectrum). The arithmetic as well as the geometric variant of this question are directly related to questions in tight closure theory. Because of the degree criteria in the strongly semistable case explained in the last lecture, a weird behavior of the affineness property of torsors is only possible if we have a weird behavior of strong semistability.

Arithmetic deformations

We start with the arithmetic situation, the following example is due to Brenner and Katzman.


Consider and take the ideal and the element . Consider reductions . Then


In particular, the bundle is semistable in the generic fiber, but not strongly semistable for any reduction . The corresponding torsor is an affine scheme for infinitely many prime reductions and not an affine scheme for infinitely many prime reductions.

In terms of affineness (or local cohomology)

this example has the following properties: the ideal
has cohomological dimension if and has cohomological dimension

(equivalently, is an affine scheme) if .

Geometric deformations - A counterexample to the localization problem

Let be a multiplicative system and an ideal in . Then the localization problem of tight closure is the question whether the identity


Here the inclusion is always true and is the problem. The problem means explicitly:

if , can we find an such that holds in ?

The following proposition shows that the localization property for tight closure would imply a uniform behavior of tight closure under geometric deformations.


Let be a one-dimensional domain and of finite type, and an ideal in . Suppose that localization holds and that

( is the multiplicative system). Then holds in for almost all in Spec .

So in order to get a counterexample for the localization property we will look now at geometric deformations of certain hypersurfaces:

where has degree and have degree and is homogeneous. Then (for every field )

is a two-dimensional standard-graded ring over . For residue class fields of points of we basically have two possibilities.

    • , the function field. This is the generic or transcendental case.
    • , the special or algebraic or finite case.

    How does vary with ? To analyze the behavior of tight closure in such a family we can use what we know in the two-dimensional standard-graded situation.

    In order to establish an example where tight closure does not behave uniformly under a geometric deformation we first need a situation where strong semistability does not behave uniformly. Such an example was given, in terms of Hilbert-Kunz theory, by Paul Monsky in 1997.




    Then Monsky proved the following results on the Hilbert-Kunz multiplicity of the maximal ideal in , a field:

    By the geometric interpretation of Hilbert-Kunz theory this means that the restricted cotangent bundle

    is strongly semistable in the transcendental case, but not strongly semistable in the algebraic case. In fact, for , , where , the -th Frobenius pull-back destabilizes.

    The maximal ideal can not be used directly. However, we look at the second Frobenius pull-back which is (characteristic ) just

    By the degree formula we have to look for an element of degree . Let's take

    This is our example ( does not work). First, by strong semistability in the transcendental case we have

    by the degree formula. If localization would hold, then would also belong to the tight closure of for almost all algebraic instances , . Contrary to that we show that for all algebraic instances the element never belongs to the tight closure of .


    Let , , . Set . Then


    This is an elementary but tedious computation.


    Tight closure does not commute with localization.


    One knows in our situation that is a so-called test element. Hence the previous Lemma shows that .


    Tight closure is not plus closure in graded dimension two for fields with transcendental elements.


    In this ring , but it can not belong to the plus closure. Else there would be a curve morphism which annihilates the cohomology class and this would extend to a morphism of relative curves almost everywhere.

    Generic results

    Is it more difficult to decide whether an element belongs to the tight closure of an ideal or to the ideal itself? We discuss one situation where this is easier for tight closure.

    Suppose that we are in a graded situation of a given ring (or a given ring dimension) and have fixed a number (at least the ring dimension) of homogeneous generators and their degrees. Suppose that we want to know the degree bound for (tight closure or ideal) inclusion for generic choice of the ideal generators. Generic means that we write the coefficients of the generators as indeterminates and consider the situation over the (large)

    affine space corresponding to these indeterminates or over its function field. This problem is already interesting and difficult for the polynomial ring: Suppose we are in and want to study the generic inclusion bound for say generic polynomials all of degree . What is the minimal degree number such that . The answer is
    This rests on the fact that the Fröberg conjecture is solved in dimension by D. Anick

    (the Fröberg conjecture gives a precise description of the Hilbert function for an ideal in a polynomial ring which is generically generated. Here we only need to know in which degree the Hilbert function of the residue class ring becomes ).

    The corresponding generic ideal inclusion bound for arbitrary graded rings depends heavily (already in the parameter case) on the ring itself. Surprisingly, the generic ideal inclusion bound for tight closure does not depend on the ring and is only slightly worse than the bound for the polynomial ring. The following theorem is due to Brenner and Fischbacher-Weitz.


    Let and be natural numbers, . Let be a finite extension of standard-graded domains (a graded Noether normalization). Suppose that there exist homogeneous polynomials in with such that .


    1. holds in the generic point of the parameter space of homogeneous elements in of this degree type (the coefficients of the are taken as indeterminates).
    2. If is normal, then holds for (open) generic choice of homogeneous elements in of this degree type.


    Suppose that we are in and that and . Then the generic degree bound for ideal inclusion in the polynomial ring is . Therefore by Theorem 3.7 the generic degree bound for tight closure inclusion in a three-dimensional graded ring is .


    Suppose that in the situation of Theorem 3.7.

    Then the generic elements are parameters. In the polynomial ring we have for parameters of degree the inclusion
    because the graded Koszul resolution ends in and

    So the theorem implies for a graded ring finite over that holds for generic elements. But by the graded Briançon-Skoda Theorem (see Theorem 1.5) this holds for parameters even without the generic assumption.

    1. The cohomological dimension of a scheme is the maximal number such that for some quasicoherent sheaf . A noetherian scheme is affine if and only if its cohomological dimension is . Tight closure can be characterized by the cohomological dimension of torsors.