# Arf-invariant

An invariant of a quadratic form modulo 2, given on an integral lattice endowed with a bilinear skew-symmetric form. Let $L$ be an integral lattice of dimension $k=2m$ and let $\psi$ be a form for which $\psi(x,y) = -\psi(y,x)$. There exists bases $(e_1,f_1,\ldots,e_m,f_m)$, called symplectic bases, in which the matrix of $\psi$ reduces to block-diagonal form: The diagonal contains the blocks $$\left({\begin{array}{cc} 0 & 1 \\ -1 & 0 \end{array}}\right)$$ i.e. $$\psi(e_i,f_i) = -\psi(f_i,e_i) = 1$$ while the other entries are zero.
Suppose that a mapping $$\psi_0 : L \rightarrow \mathbf{Z}/2\mathbf{Z}$$ is given on $L$ such that $$\psi_0(x+y) = \psi_0(x) + \psi_0(y) + \psi(x,y)\ \pmod2$$ (a "quadratic form modulo 2" ). The expression $$\sum_{i=1}^m \psi_0(e_i)\psi_0(f_i)$$ is then called an Arf-invariant . If this expression equals zero, then there is a symplectic basis on all elements of which $\psi_0$ vanishes; if this expression equals one, then there is a symplectic basis on all elements of which, except $e_1$ and $f_1$, the form $\psi_0$ vanishes, while $$\psi_0(e_1) = \psi_0(f_1) = 1 \ .$$