In theoretical physics, the BFSS matrix model or matrix theory is a quantum mechanical model proposed by Tom Banks, Willy Fischler, Stephen Shenker, and Leonard Susskind in 1997.[1]


This theory describes the behavior of a set of nine large matrices. In their original paper, these authors showed, among other things, that the low energy limit of this matrix model is described by eleven-dimensional supergravity. These calculations led them to propose that the BFSS matrix model is exactly equivalent to M-theory. The BFSS matrix model can therefore be used as a prototype for a correct formulation of M-theory and a tool for investigating the properties of M-theory in a relatively simple setting. The BFSS matrix model is also considered the worldvolume theory of a large number of D0-branes in Type IIA string theory.[2]
Noncommutative geometry
Main articles: Noncommutative geometry and Noncommutative quantum field theory

In geometry, it is often useful to introduce coordinates. For example, in order to study the geometry of the Euclidean plane, one defines the coordinates x and y as the distances between any point in the plane and a pair of axes. In ordinary geometry, the coordinates of a point are numbers, so they can be multiplied, and the product of two coordinates does not depend on the order of multiplication. That is, xy = yx. This property of multiplication is known as the commutative law, and this relationship between geometry and the commutative algebra of coordinates is the starting point for much of modern geometry.[3]

Noncommutative geometry is a branch of mathematics that attempts to generalize this situation. Rather than working with ordinary numbers, one considers some similar objects, such as matrices, whose multiplication does not satisfy the commutative law (that is, objects for which xy is not necessarily equal to yx). One imagines that these noncommuting objects are coordinates on some more general notion of "space" and proves theorems about these generalized spaces by exploiting the analogy with ordinary geometry.[4]

In a paper from 1998, Alain Connes, Michael R. Douglas, and Albert Schwarz showed that some aspects of matrix models and M-theory are described by a noncommutative quantum field theory, a special kind of physical theory in which the coordinates on spacetime do not satisfy the commutativity property.[5] This established a link between matrix models and M-theory on the one hand, and noncommutative geometry on the other hand. It quickly led to the discovery of other important links between noncommutative geometry and various physical theories.[6][7]
Related models

Another notable matrix model capturing aspects of Type IIB string theory, the IKKT matrix model, was constructed in 1996–97 by N. Ishibashi, H. Kawai, Y. Kitazawa, A. Tsuchiya.[8][9]
See also

Matrix string theory


Banks et al. 1997
BFSS matrix model in nLab
Connes 1994, p. 1
Connes 1994
Connes, Douglas, and Schwarz 1998
Nekrasov and Schwarz 1998
Seiberg and Witten 1999
N. Ishibashi, H. Kawai, Y. Kitazawa, A. Tsuchiya, "A Large-N Reduced Model as Superstring", Nucl.Phys. B498 (1997), 467-491 (arXiv:hep-th/9612115).

IKKT matrix model in nLab

Banks, Tom; Fischler, Willy; Schenker, Stephen; Susskind, Leonard (1997). "M theory as a matrix model: A conjecture". Physical Review D. 55 (8): 5112. arXiv:hep-th/9610043. Bibcode:1997PhRvD..55.5112B. doi:10.1103/physrevd.55.5112.
Connes, Alain (1994). Noncommutative Geometry. Academic Press. ISBN 978-0-12-185860-5.
Connes, Alain; Douglas, Michael; Schwarz, Albert (1998). "Noncommutative geometry and matrix theory". Journal of High Energy Physics. 19981 (2): 003. arXiv:hep-th/9711162. Bibcode:1998JHEP...02..003C. doi:10.1088/1126-6708/1998/02/003.
Nekrasov, Nikita; Schwarz, Albert (1998). "Instantons on noncommutative R4 and (2,0) superconformal six dimensional theory". Communications in Mathematical Physics. 198 (3): 689–703. arXiv:hep-th/9802068. Bibcode:1998CMaPh.198..689N. doi:10.1007/s002200050490.
Seiberg, Nathan; Witten, Edward (1999). "String Theory and Noncommutative Geometry". Journal of High Energy Physics. 1999 (9): 032. arXiv:hep-th/9908142. Bibcode:1999JHEP...09..032S. doi:10.1088/1126-6708/1999/09/032.

String theory

Strings History of string theory
First superstring revolution Second superstring revolution String theory landscape



Nambu–Goto action Polyakov action Bosonic string theory Superstring theory
Type I string Type II string
Type IIA string Type IIB string Heterotic string N=2 superstring F-theory String field theory Matrix string theory Non-critical string theory Non-linear sigma model Tachyon condensation RNS formalism GS formalism

String duality

T-duality S-duality U-duality Montonen–Olive duality

Particles and fields

Graviton Dilaton Tachyon Ramond–Ramond field Kalb–Ramond field Magnetic monopole Dual graviton Dual photon


D-brane NS5-brane M2-brane M5-brane S-brane Black brane Black holes Black string Brane cosmology Quiver diagram Hanany–Witten transition

Conformal field theory

Virasoro algebra Mirror symmetry Conformal anomaly Conformal algebra Superconformal algebra Vertex operator algebra Loop algebra Kac–Moody algebra Wess–Zumino–Witten model

Gauge theory

Anomalies Instantons Chern–Simons form Bogomol'nyi–Prasad–Sommerfield bound Exceptional Lie groups (G2, F4, E6, E7, E8) ADE classification Dirac string p-form electrodynamics


Kaluza–Klein theory Compactification Why 10 dimensions? Kähler manifold Ricci-flat manifold
Calabi–Yau manifold Hyperkähler manifold
K3 surface G2 manifold Spin(7)-manifold Generalized complex manifold Orbifold Conifold Orientifold Moduli space Hořava–Witten domain wall K-theory (physics) Twisted K-theory


Supergravity Superspace Lie superalgebra Lie supergroup


Holographic principle AdS/CFT correspondence


Matrix theory Introduction to M-theory

String theorists

Aganagić Arkani-Hamed Atiyah Banks Berenstein Bousso Cleaver Curtright Dijkgraaf Distler Douglas Duff Ferrara Fischler Friedan Gates Gliozzi Gopakumar Green Greene Gross Gubser Gukov Guth Hanson Harvey Hořava Gibbons Kachru Kaku Kallosh Kaluza Kapustin Klebanov Knizhnik Kontsevich Klein Linde Maldacena Mandelstam Marolf Martinec Minwalla Moore Motl Mukhi Myers Nanopoulos Năstase Nekrasov Neveu Nielsen van Nieuwenhuizen Novikov Olive Ooguri Ovrut Polchinski Polyakov Rajaraman Ramond Randall Randjbar-Daemi Roček Rohm Scherk Schwarz Seiberg Sen Shenker Siegel Silverstein Sơn Staudacher Steinhardt Strominger Sundrum Susskind 't Hooft Townsend Trivedi Turok Vafa Veneziano Verlinde Verlinde Wess Witten Yau Yoneya Zamolodchikov Zamolodchikov Zaslow Zumino Zwiebach

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