Artin approximation

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Let be a Noetherian local ring and its completion. has the Artin approximation property (in brief, has AP) if every finite system of polynomial equations over has a solution in if it has one in . In fact, has the Artin approximation property if and only if for every finite system of polynomial equations over the set of its solutions in is dense, with respect to the -adic topology, in the set of its solutions in . That is, for every solution of in and every positive integer there exists a solution of in such that modulo . The study of Artin approximation started with the famous papers of M. Artin [a3], [a4], which state that the convergent power series rings over a non-trivial valued field of characteristic zero, the Henselization of a local ring essentially of finite type over a field, and an excellent Dedekind ring all have the Artin approximation property. The first result was extended by M. André [a1] to certain convergent formal power series rings over a field of non-zero characteristic.

The following assertion holds: A Noetherian local ring has AP if and only if it is excellent and Henselian.

The necessity is stated in [a24], a weaker result, namely that AP implies Henselian and universally Japanese, being proved in [a14], (5.4), and [a9]. The sufficiency gives a positive answer to Artin's conjecture [a5] and is a consequence (see [a21], (1.3), and [a27]) of the following theorem on general Néron desingularization ([a20], [a21], [a23], [a2], [a16], [a27], [a26]): A morphism between Noetherian rings is regular (i.e. it is flat and for every field that is a finite -algebra, the ring is regular) if and only if it is a filtered inductive limit of smooth algebras of finite type.

Roughly speaking, general Néron desingularization says in particular that if is a regular morphism of Noetherian rings, then every finite system of polynomial equations over having a solution in can be enlarged to a finite system of polynomial equations over having a solution in , for which one may apply the implicit function theorem. Another consequence of general Néron desingularization says that a regular local ring containing a field is a filtered inductive limit of regular local rings essentially of finite type over . This is a partial positive answer to the Swan conjecture and, using [a15], proves the Bass–Quillen conjecture in the equicharacteristic case (see also [a22], [a27]).

Let be a Noetherian local ring. has the strong Artin approximation property (in brief, has SAP) if for every finite system of equations in over there exists a mapping with the following property: If satisfies modulo , , then there exists a solution of with modulo .

M. Greenberg [a13] proved that excellent Henselian discrete valuation rings have the strong Artin approximation property and M. Artin [a4] showed that the Henselization of a local ring which is essentially of finite type over a field has the strong Artin approximation property.

The following assertion is true: A Noetherian complete local ring has the strong Artin approximation property. In particular, has AP if and only if it has SAP. A special case of this is stated in [a11], together with many other applications.

When contains a field, some weaker results were stated in [a29], [a30]. In the above form, the result appeared in [a17], but the proof there has a gap in the non-separable case, which was repaired in [a14], Chap. 2. In [a8] it was noted that SAP is more easily handled using ultraproducts. Let be a non-principal ultrafilter on (i.e. an ultrafilter containing the filter of cofinite sets of ). The ultraproduct of with respect to is the factor of by the ideal of all such that the set . Assigning to the constant sequence one obtains a ring morphism . Using these concepts, easier proofs of the assertion were given in [a19] and [a10]. The easiest one is given in [a21], (4.5), where it is noted that the separation of in the -adic topology is Noetherian, that the canonical mapping is regular if is excellent and that is SAP if and only if for every finite system of polynomial equations over , for every positive integer and every solution of in , there exists a solution of in which lifts modulo . The result follows on applying general Néron desingularization to and using the implicit function theorem.

Theorems on Artin approximation have many direct applications in algebraic geometry (for example, to the algebraization of versal deformations and the construction of algebraic spaces; see [a6], [a5]), in algebraic number theory and in commutative algebra (see [a4], [a14], Chaps. 5, 6). For example, if is a Noetherian complete local domain and is a sequence of elements from converging to an irreducible element of , then G. Pfister proved that is irreducible for (see [a14], Chap. 5). Using these ideas, a study of approximation of prime ideals in the -adic topology was given in [a18]. Another application is that the completion of an excellent Henselian local domain is factorial if and only if is factorial [a21], (3.4).

All these approximation properties were studied also for couples , were is not necessarily local and is not necessarily maximal. A similar proof shows that the Artin approximation property holds for a Henselian couple if is excellent [a21], (1.3). If is not Artinian, then is not Noetherian and SAP cannot hold in this setting, because one cannot apply general Néron desingularization. Moreover, the SAP property does not hold for general couples, as noticed in [a25].

A special type of Artin approximation theory was required in singularity theory. Such types were studied in [a14], Chaps. 3, 4. However, the result holds even in the following extended form: Let be an excellent Henselian local ring, its completion, the Henselization of , , in , a finite system of polynomial equations over and a formal solution of such that , , for some positive integers . Then there exists a solution of in such that , , and modulo , , for .

The proof is given in [a21], (3.6), (3.7), using ideas of H. Kurke and Pfister, who noticed that this assertion holds if has AP, where is an excellent Henselian local ring. If the sets of variables of are not "nested" (i.e. they are not totally ordered by inclusion), then the assertion does not hold, see [a7]. If is the convergent power series ring over and the algebraic power series rings are replaced by , then the theorem does not hold, see [a12]. Extensions of this theorem are given in [a28], [a27].


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Artin approximation. Encyclopedia of Mathematics. URL:
This article was adapted from an original article by D. Popescu (originator), which appeared in Encyclopedia of Mathematics - ISBN 1402006098. See original article