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Article

Membranes and sheaves

Algebraic Geometry. 2016. Vol. 3. No. 3. P. 320-369.
Nekrasov N., Okounkov A.

Our goal in this paper is to discuss a conjectural correspondence between enumerative geometry of curves in Calabi-Yau 5-folds Z and 1-dimensional sheaves on 3-folds X that are embedded in Z as fixed points of certain C×-actions. In both cases, the enumerative information is taken in equivariant K-theory, where the equivariance is with respect to all automorphisms of the problem. In Donaldson-Thomas theories, one sums up over all Euler characteristics with a weight (−q)χ, where q is a parameter, informally referred to as the boxcounting parameter. The main feature of the correspondence is that the 3-dimensional boxcounting parameter q becomes in 5 dimensions the equivariant parameter for the C×-action that defines X inside Z. The 5-dimensional theory effectively sums up the q-expansion in the Donaldson-Thomas theory. In particular, it gives a natural explanation of the rationality (in q) of the DT partition functions. Other expected as well as unexpected symmetries of the DT counts follow naturally from the 5-dimensional perspective. These involve choosing different C×-actions on the same Z, and thus relating the same 5-dimensional theory to different DT problems. The important special case Z=X×C2 is considered in detail in Sections 7 and 8. If X is a toric Calabi-Yau threefold, we compute the theory in terms of a certain index vertex. We show the refined vertex found combinatorially by Iqbal, Kozcaz, and Vafa is a special case of the index vertex.