Chris Phillips (University of Oregon)

Monday, April 4, 2022, 11:00 – 12:00, 32/114


The radius of comparison of a C-algebra is one measure of the generalization to C-algebras of the dimension of a compact space. Part of the Toms-Winter conjecture says, informally, that a simple separable nuclear unital C*-algebra satisfying the UCT is classifiable if and only if its radius of comparison is zero. Nonzero radius of comparison played a key role in one of the main families of counterexamples to the original form of the Elliott classification program.

It has been known for some time that the radius of comparison of C (X) is, ignoring additive constants, at most half the covering dimension of X. (The factor 1/2 appears because of the use of complex scalars in C*-algebras.) In 2013, Elliott and Niu used Chern character arguments to show that the radius of comparison of C (X) is, again ignoring additive constants, at least half the rational cohomological dimension of X. This left open the question of which dimension the radius of comparison is really related to. The rational cohomological dimension can be strictly less than the integer cohomological dimension, and there are spaces with integer cohomological dimension 3 but infinite covering dimension.

We show that, up to a slightly worse additive constant, the radius of comparison of C (X) is at least half the covering dimension of X. The proof is fairly short and uses little machinery.