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**Jens Carsten Jantzen
**

Lecture I

Set-up. Let K be an algebraically closed ﬁeld. By convention all our algebraic groups

will be linear algebraic groups over K. For such a group G let K[G] denote the algebra

of regular functions on G. For the background on algebraic groups I refer to the books

Linear Algebraic Groups by J. E. Humphreys, T. A. Springer, and A. Borel.

Modules. Let G be an algebraic group. A G–module is by deﬁnition a module V over

the group algebra KG of G as an abstract group such that V satisﬁes two additional

conditions:

• V is locally ﬁnite: each element is contained in a ﬁnite dimensional KG–submodule.

• For each v ∈ V and ϕ ∈ V

∗

the matrix coeﬃcient c

ϕ,v

given by c

ϕ,v

(g) = ϕ(g v) for

all g ∈ G is a regular function: c

ϕ,v

∈ K[G].

For example, any ﬁnite dmensional vector space V is a module under the natural action

for the general linear group GL(V ) as well as for any closed subgroup of GL(V ). For any

algebraic group G the algebra of regular functions K[G] is a G–module under the (left)

regular representation given by (gf) (g

) = f(g

−1

g

).

It is the easy to chech that the category of all G–modules is closed under:

• submodules

• factor modules

• direct sums

• tensor products

• symmetric and exterior powers.

If a G–module V is ﬁnite dimensional, then also its dual space V

∗

is a G–module.

Frobenius twist. Assume char(K) = p > 0. In this case we have another method to

construct new G–modules from known ones. If V is a vector space over K we denote by

V

(1)

the vector space over K that coincides with V as an additive group and where the

scalar multiplication is given by

a • v =

p

√

a v for all a ∈ K, v ∈ V

where the left hand side is the new multiplication and the right hand side the old one.

(Since K is algebraically closed, the Frobenius morphism a → a

p

is a bijection K → K, so

any element in K has a unique p–th root.)

1

If V is a G–module, then V

(1)

is a G–module using the given action of any g ∈ G on

the additive group V

(1)

= V . The action is again K–linear. A ﬁnite dimensional G–

stable subspace of V is also a ﬁnite dimensional G–stable subspace of V

(1)

(of the same

dimension); so also V

(1)

is locally ﬁnite. For any ϕ ∈ V

∗

the map

ϕ

(1)

: V

(1)

→ K, v → ϕ(v)

p

is K–linear. One checks that (V

(1)

)

∗

= ¦ ϕ

(1)

[ ϕ ∈ V

∗

¦ and gets ﬁnally for all g ∈ G

c

ϕ

(1)

,v

(g) = ϕ

(1)

(gv) = ϕ(gv)

p

= c

ϕ,v

(g)

p

hence c

ϕ

(1)

,v

= c

p

ϕ,v

∈ K[G].

One deﬁnes higher Frobenius twists inductively: Set V

(r+1)

= (V

(r)

)

(1)

.

Exercise: Consider K[G] as a G–module under the (left) regular representation. Show

that f → f

p

is a homomorphism K[G]

(1)

→ K[G] of G–modules.

Induction. Let H be a closed subgroup of an algebraic group G. Any G–module V is

by restriction an H–module since the restriction to H of any function in K[G] belongs

to K[H]. This restriction of modules is clearly a functor from G–modules to H–modules.

We can deﬁne an induction functor ind

G

H

in the opposite direction, from H–modules to

G–modules. For any H–module M set

ind

G

H

M = ¦ f: G → M regular [ f(gh) = h

−1

f(g) for all g ∈ G, h ∈ H¦.

Here a function f: G → M is called regular if there exists m

1

, m

2

, . . . , m

r

∈ M and

f

1

, f

2

, . . . , f

r

∈ K[G] such that f(g) =

r

i=1

f

i

(g) m

i

for all g ∈ G. All regular functions

G → M form a vector space over K and ind

G

H

M is then a subspace. We get a G–action

on this subspace by setting (gf)(g

) = f(g

−1

g

**). In order to show that this KG–module
**

is a G–module one uses the fact that K[G] is a G–module.

A trivial example for an induced module is ind

G

{1}

= K[G]. We’ll soon see more interesting

examples for G = SL

2

(K).

The functor ind

G

H

is right adjoint to the restriction functor from G–modules to H–modules.

This means that we have functorial isomorphisms

Hom

G

(V, ind

G

H

M)

∼

−→ Hom

H

(V, M)

Here any G–homomorphism ϕ: V → ind

G

H

M is sent to ϕ: V → M with ϕ(v) = ϕ(v) (1).

Conversely any H–homomorphism ψ: V → M goes to

ψ: V → ind

G

H

M such that

ψ(v) (g) =

ψ(g

−1

v).

Example: SL

2

(K). Consider G = SL

2

(K) acting on its natural module V = K

2

with its

standard basis e

1

, e

2

. Then G acts also on V

∗

and on the symmetric algebra S(V

∗

) that

we can identify with the algebra K[X

1

, X

2

] of polynomial functions on V . Here X

1

, X

2

is

the basis of V

∗

dual to e

1

, e

2

.

2

The action of G on S(V

∗

) is given by (gf) (v) = f(g

−1

v). Each symmetric power S

n

(V

∗

)

is a submodule. We choose as basis all v

i

= (−1)

i

X

i

1

X

n−i

2

, 0 ≤ i ≤ n, and get (e.g.) for

all a ∈ K

1 a

0 1

v

i

=

i

j=0

i

j

a

i−j

v

j

and

1 0

a 1

v

i

=

n

j=i

n −i

n −j

a

j−i

v

j

(1)

and for all t ∈ K

×

t 0

0 t

−1

v

i

= t

n−2i

v

i

. (2)

Consider the closed subgroups in G

U = ¦

1 0

a 1

[ a ∈ K¦ and B = ¦

t 0

a t

−1

[ a ∈ K, t ∈ K

×

¦.

Let us ﬁrst observe that we have an isomorphism of G–modules

S(V

∗

)

∼

−→ ind

G

U

K

where K is the trivial U–module such that

ind

G

U

K = ¦ f ∈ K[G] [ f(gu) = f(g) for all g ∈ G, u ∈ U ¦.

Well, any ψ ∈ S(V

∗

) deﬁnes

ψ: G → K setting

ψ(g) = ψ(ge

2

). One checks that

ψ ∈ ind

G

U

K

and that ψ →

ψ is a morphism of G–modules. On the other hand, any f ∈ ind

G

U

K deﬁnes

f: V ¸ ¦0¦ → K: For any v ∈ V , v ,= 0 there exists g ∈ G with v = ge

2

; we then set

f(v) = f(g). This is well deﬁned as ge

2

= g

e

2

implies g

∈ gU, hence f(g) = f(g

) since

f ∈ ind

G

U

K. One checks that f is a regular function on V ¸ ¦0¦. Algebraic geometry tells

you that f has a (unique) extension to a regular function on V . So there exists ψ ∈ S(V

∗

)

with f(v) = ψ(v) for all v ,= 0, hence with f(g) = ψ(ge

2

) for all g ∈ G, i.e., with f =

ψ.

For each n ∈ Z let K

n

denote K considered as a B–module such that

t 0

a t

−1

v = t

n

v for all a, t, v ∈ K, t ,= 0.

Since any u ∈ U acts trivially on any K

n

, it is clear that ind

G

B

K

n

⊂ ind

G

U

K. The inverse

image of ind

G

B

K

n

under the isomorphism S(V

∗

) · ind

G

U

K from above consists of all

ψ ∈ S(V

∗

) with ψ(tv) = t

n

ψ(v) for all t ∈ K

×

and v ∈ V . This shows that we get

isomorphisms

ind

G

B

K

n

∼

−→

S

n

(V

∗

) if n ≥ 0,

0 if n < 0.

Simple modules for SL

2

(K). Consider again G = SL

2

(K). If char K = 0, then one can

show that all S

n

(V

∗

) with n ∈ N are simple G–modules. [Using (2) above one checks that

3

each non-zero submodule contains some v

i

. Then (1) shows that the submodule contains

all v

j

. Here one uses that all binomial coeﬃcients are non-zero in K.] Furthermore, each

simple G–module is isomorphic to S

n

(V

∗

) for a unique n.

If char K = p > 0, then the same argument shows that all S

n

(V

∗

) with 0 ≤ n < p are

simple G–modules. But one can quickly see that S

p

(V

∗

) is not simple: The map

ϕ: V

∗

−→ S

p

(V

∗

), f → f

p

is semi-linear (i.e., satisﬁes ϕ(f + f

) = ϕ(f) + ϕ(f

) and ϕ(af) = a

p

ϕ(f) for all a ∈ K)

and G–equivariant. So its image is a G–submodule of S

p

(V

∗

) that is non-zero and not the

whole module.

Going back to the deﬁnition of a Frobenius twist one checks that ϕ is an isomorphism of

G–modules

(V

∗

)

(1)

∼

−→ KGX

p

2

onto the submodule of S

p

(V

∗

) generated by X

p

2

.

For general n the characteristic 0 argument shows ﬁrst that each non-zero submodule

of S

n

(V

∗

) contains some v

i

. Then the ﬁrst formula in (1) implies that the submodule

contains v

0

= X

n

2

. This shows that the submodule

L(n) := KGv

0

= KGX

n

2

of S

n

(V

∗

) generated by X

n

2

is simple, in fact, it is the only simple submodule of S

n

(V

∗

).

It then turns out that each simple G–module is isomorphic to L(n) for exactly one n.

One can describe L(n) alternatively as follows. Write n in p–adic expansion:

n = n

0

+n

1

p +n

2

p

2

+ +n

r

p

r

with 0 ≤ n

i

< p for all i.

Then the map

f

0

⊗f

1

⊗f

2

⊗ ⊗f

r

→ f

0

f

p

1

f

p

2

2

. . . f

p

r

r

is an isomorphism of G–modules

S

n

0

(V

∗

) ⊗S

n

1

(V

∗

)

(1)

⊗S

n

2

(V

∗

)

(2)

⊗ ⊗S

n

r

(V

∗

)

(r)

∼

−→ L(n).

Notations. Let G be a connected reductive group over K. Choose a maximal torus T

in G. We want to generalise the SL

2

–example. This involves some notation:

• X = Hom

alg.gr

(T, K

×

), the character group of T

• X

∨

= Hom

alg.gr

(K

×

, T), the cocharacter group of T

• ¸ , ), the pairing X X

∨

→ Z such that λ(ϕ(t)) = t

λ,ϕ

for all t ∈ K

×

• Φ ⊂ X, the root system of G with respect to T

• Φ

∨

= ¦α

∨

[ α ∈ Φ¦ ⊂ X

∨

the corresponding dual roots

• Φ

+

a chosen system of positive roots

4

• B and B

+

the Borel subgroups of G containing T that correspond to −Φ

+

and Φ

+

respectively

• U and U

+

the unipotent radicals of these Borel subgroups. So we have semi-direct

decompositions B = T U and B

+

= T U

+

as algebraic groups.

Each λ ∈ X can be extended to a character λ: B → K

×

such that λ(tu) = λ(t) for all t ∈ T

and u ∈ U. Denote by K

λ

the corresponding one dimensional B–module. The general

theory of connected soluble algebraic groups yields:

Proposition: Each simple B–module is isomorphic to K

λ

for a unique λ ∈ X.

A corresponding statement holds for B

+

instead of B.

Simple G–modules. Any G–module is by deﬁnition locally ﬁnite, i.e., a union of ﬁnite

dimensional submodules. Therefore any simple G–module V is ﬁnite dimensional. Consid-

ered as a B–module it then has a composition series. This implies in particular that there

is a surjective homomorphism of B–modules from V onto a simple B–module, hence by

the proposition above onto some K

λ

with λ ∈ X. The basic property of induction implies

then

Hom

G

(V, ind

G

B

K

λ

) · Hom

B

(V, K

λ

) ,= 0.

Using the simplicity of V we get now:

Claim 1: Each simple G–module is isomorphic to a simple submodule of some ind

G

B

K

λ

with λ ∈ X.

In the case of SL

2

(K) this implies that any simple module is (as claimed above) isomorphic

to some L(n).

The next step towards a classiﬁcation of the simple modules requires more subtle arguments

that I cannot discuss here. They yield:

Claim 2: ind

G

B

K

λ

,= 0 ⇐⇒ λ dominant

where the set X

+

of dominant characters is deﬁned by

X

+

= ¦ λ ∈ X [ ¸λ, α

∨

) ≥ 0 for all α ∈ Φ

+

¦.

As a third step we want to see that each ind

G

B

K

λ

with λ dominant contains a unique

simple submodule. This is done by looking at ﬁxed points for the subgroup U

+

. For any

non-zero U

+

–module M the space of ﬁxed points

M

U

+

= ¦ x ∈ M [ ux = x for all u ∈ U

+

¦

is non-zero as U

+

is connected and unipotent.

The deﬁnition of ind

G

B

K

λ

and of the G–action on this space shows for any f ∈ (ind

G

B

K

λ

)

U

+

that

f(u

1

tu

2

) = λ(t)

−1

f(1) for all u

1

∈ U

+

, t ∈ T, u

2

∈ U.

5

So the restriction of f to the subset U

+

TU of G is determined by f(1). As U

+

TU is dense

in G, it follows that f itself is determined by f(1). This implies that

(ind

G

B

K

λ

)

U

+

= K f

λ

where f

λ

∈ K[G] is the unique regular function on G with

f

λ

(u

1

tu

2

) = λ(t)

−1

for all u

1

∈ U

+

, t ∈ T, u

2

∈ U.

Now every non-zero G–submodule M of ind

G

B

K

λ

satisﬁes M

U

+

,= 0, hence f

λ

∈ M and

KGf

λ

⊂ M. It follows that

L(λ) := KGf

λ

is the unique simple submodule of ind

G

B

K

λ

.

Theorem: Each simple G–module is isomorphic to L(λ) for a unique λ ∈ X

+

.

In order to get uniqueness one notes that L(λ)

U

+

= Kf

λ

and that T acts on this subspace

via λ.

In case char K = 0 one can show that L(λ) = ind

G

B

K

λ

for all λ ∈ X

+

. The examples

above show that this fails in prime characteristic already for G = SL

2

(K).

Steinberg’s tensor product theorem. In order to simplify notation assume now that G

is semi-simple and simply connected. Our choice of positive roots Φ

+

determines a system

of simple roots. The corresponding dual roots form under our assumption a basis for the

free abelian group X

∨

and X has then a dual basis consisting of fundamental weight. For

any integer m > 0 the set

X

m

= ¦ λ ∈ X [ 0 ≤ ¸λ, α

∨

) < m for all simple roots α¦ ⊂ X

+

consists of those characters whose coeﬃcients with repect to the basis of fundamental

weights belong to the interval from 0 to m−1.

Suppose now that char K = p > 0. Any λ ∈ X

+

has a p–adic expansion

λ = λ

0

+pλ

1

+p

2

λ

2

+ +p

r

λ

r

with all λ

i

∈ X

p

.

Now Steinberg’s tensor product theorem says (generalising the result for SL

2

) that we have

an isomorphism

L(λ

0

) ⊗L(λ

1

)

(1)

⊗L(λ

2

)

(2)

⊗ ⊗L(λ

r

)

(r)

∼

−→ L(λ).

Note that each L(λ

i

) ⊂ ind

G

B

K

λ

i

⊂ K[G] is a submodule of K[G]; similarly for L(λ). The

isomorphism is then simply given by

f

0

⊗f

1

⊗f

2

⊗ ⊗f

r

→ f

0

f

p

1

f

p

2

2

. . . f

p

r

r

Application to ﬁnite groups of Lie type. Assume again that G is semi-simple and

simply connected. Suppose that char K = p > 0 and that G is deﬁned over a ﬁnite subﬁeld

F

q

of K. (So q = p

n

for some n > 0.) The group G(F

q

) of points of G over F

q

is then a

ﬁnite group of Lie type. We can describe G(F

q

) as the ﬁxed points of a suitable Frobenius

map on G.

6

In this situation a theorem due to Curtis for q = p and to Steinberg in general says:

Theorem: Each L(λ) with λ ∈ X

q

is still simple when considered as a KG(F

q

)–module.

Any simple KG(F

q

)–module is isomorphic to L(λ) for a unique λ ∈ X

q

.

Note that the Ree and Suzuki groups are ﬁnite groups of Lie type, which are not of the

form G(F

q

). However, a modiﬁcation of this theorem yields also a classiﬁcation of their

irreducible representations over an algebraically closed ﬁeld of their deﬁning characteristic.

References. For a more detailed survey of the material in Lectures I and II see my article

Modular representations of reductive groups in the proceedings of a conference in Beijing

published under the title Group Theory, Beijing 1984 as volume 1185 of the Springer

Lecture Notes in Mathematics.

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