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  1. A bstract We undertake a general study of the boundary (or edge) modes that arise in gauge and gravitational theories defined on a space with boundary, either asymptotic or at finite distance, focusing on efficient techniques for computing the corresponding boundary action. Such actions capture all the dynamics of the system that are implied by its asymptotic symmetry group, such as correlation functions of the corresponding conserved currents. Working in the covariant phase space formalism, we develop a collection of approaches for isolating the boundary modes and their dynamics, and illustrate with various examples, notably AdS 3 gravity (with and without a gravitational Chern-Simons terms) subject to assorted boundary conditions.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2024
  2. A bstract Pure gravity in AdS 3 is a theory of boundary excitations, most simply expressed as a constrained free scalar with an improved stress tensor that is needed to match the Brown-Henneaux central charge. Excising a finite part of AdS gives rise to a static gauge Nambu-Goto action for the boundary graviton. We show that this is the $$ T\overline{T} $$ T T ¯ deformation of the infinite volume theory, as the effect of the improvement term on the deformed action can be absorbed into a field redefinition. The classical gravitational stress tensor is reproduced order by order by the $$ T\overline{T} $$ T T ¯ trace equation. We calculate the finite volume energy spectrum in static gauge and find that the trace equation imposes sufficient constraints on the ordering ambiguities to guarantee agreement with the light-cone gauge prediction. The correlation functions, however, are not completely fixed by the trace equation. We show how both the gravitational action and the $$ T\overline{T} $$ T T ¯ deformation allow for finite improvement terms, and we match these to the undetermined total derivative terms in Zamolodchikov’s point splitting definition of the $$ T\overline{T} $$ T T ¯ operator.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2023
  3. A bstract We revisit the proposal that the ensemble average over free boson CFTs in two dimensions — parameterized by Narain’s moduli space — is dual to an exotic theory of gravity in three dimensions dubbed U(1) gravity. We consider flavored partition functions, where the usual genus g partition function is weighted by Wilson lines coupled to the conserved U(1) currents of these theories. These flavored partition functions obey a heat equation which relates deformations of the Riemann surface moduli to those of the chemical potentials which measure these U(1) charges. This allows us to derive a Siegel-Weil formula which computes the average of these flavored partition functions. The result takes the form of a “sum over geometries”, albeit with modifications relative to the unflavored case.
  4. A bstract The $$ T\overline{T} $$ T T ¯ deformation can be formulated as a dynamical change of coordinates. We establish and generalize this relation to curved spaces by coupling the undeformed theory to 2d gravity. For curved space the dynamical change of coordinates is supplemented by a dynamical Weyl transformation. We also sharpen the holographic correspondence to cutoff AdS 3 in multiple ways. First, we show that the action of the annular region between the cutoff surface and the boundary of AdS 3 is given precisely by the $$ T\overline{T} $$ T T ¯ operator integrated over either the cutoff surface or the asymptotic boundary. Then we derive dynamical coordinate and Weyl transformations directly from the bulk. Finally, we reproduce the flow equation for the deformed stress tensor from the cutoff geometry.
  5. The quantization of pure 3D gravity with Dirichlet boundaryconditions on a finite boundary is of interest both as a model ofquantum gravity in which one can compute quantities which are ``morelocal" than S-matrices or asymptotic boundary correlators, and forits proposed holographic duality to T\overline{T} T T ¯ -deformedCFTs. In this work we apply covariant phase space methods to deduce thePoisson bracket algebra of boundary observables. The result is aone-parameter nonlinear deformation of the usual Virasoro algebra ofasymptotically AdS _3 3 gravity. This algebra should be obeyed by the stress tensor in any T\overline{T} T T ¯ -deformedholographic CFT. We next initiate quantization of this system within thegeneral framework of coadjoint orbits, obtaining — in perturbationtheory — a deformed version of the Alekseev-Shatashvili symplectic formand its associated geometric action. The resulting energy spectrum isconsistent with the expected spectrum of T\overline{T} T T ¯ -deformedtheories, although we only carry out the explicit comparison to \mathcal{O}(1/\sqrt{c}) 𝒪 ( 1 / c ) in the 1/c 1 / c expansion.
  6. A bstract We develop an efficient method for computing thermal partition functions of weakly coupled scalar fields in AdS. We consider quartic contact interactions and show how to evaluate the relevant two-loop vacuum diagrams without performing any explicit AdS integration, the key step being the use of Källén-Lehmann type identities. This leads to a simple method for extracting double-trace anomalous dimensions in any spacetime dimension, recovering known first-order results in a streamlined fashion.