Topology of the matroid Grassmannian
23rd January 2024, 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Fry Building, Room 2.04
The matroid Grassmannian is the moduli space of oriented matroids; this is an important combinatorial analogue of the ordinary oriented real Grassmannian. Thirty years ago MacPherson showed us that understanding the homotopy type of this space can have significant implications in manifold topology, such as providing combinatorial formulae for the Pontrjagin classes. In some easy cases, the matroid Grassmannian is homotopy equivalent to the oriented real Grassmannian, but in most cases we have no idea whether or not they are equivalent. This question is known as MacPherson's conjecture. I'll show that one of the important homotopical structures of the oriented Grassmannians has an analogue on the matroid Grassmannian: the direct sum monoidal product (which gives rise to topological K-theory) is E-infinity.