Bounding the equivariant Betti numbers of symmetric semi-algebraic sets

Saugata Basu*, Cordian Riener

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Let R be a real closed field. The problem of obtaining tight bounds on the Betti numbers of semi-algebraic subsets of Rk in terms of the number and degrees of the defining polynomials has been an important problem in real algebraic geometry with the first results due to Oleĭnik and Petrovskiĭ, Thom and Milnor. These bounds are all exponential in the number of variables k. Motivated by several applications in real algebraic geometry, as well as in theoretical computer science, where such bounds have found applications, we consider in this paper the problem of bounding the equivariant Betti numbers of symmetric algebraic and semi-algebraic subsets of Rk. We obtain several asymptotically tight upper bounds. In particular, we prove that if S⊂Rk is a semi-algebraic subset defined by a finite set of s symmetric polynomials of degree at most d, then the sum of the Sk-equivariant Betti numbers of S with coefficients in Q is bounded by (skd)O(d). Unlike the classical bounds on the ordinary Betti numbers of real algebraic varieties and semi-algebraic sets, the above bound is polynomial in k when the degrees of the defining polynomials are bounded by a constant. As an application we improve the best known bound on the ordinary Betti numbers of the projection of a compact algebraic set improving for any fixed degree the best previously known bound for this problem due to Gabrielov, Vorobjov and Zell.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)803-855
Number of pages53
JournalAdvances in Mathematics
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Equivariant Betti numbers
  • Semi-algebraic sets
  • Symmetric polynomials


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