Name:  Irena Peeva
Employment:  Professor of Mathematics
Address:  Department of Mathematics
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853, U.S.A.
E-mail:  irena @
Ph.D. Thesis: Free Resolutions (1995)
Advisor: David Eisenbud

Research Interests:   My primary work is in Commutative Algebra, and my primary research is focused on Free Resolutions and Hilbert Functions. I have also done work on the many connections of Commutative Algebra with Algebraic Geometry, Combinatorics, Noncommutative Algebra, and Subspace Arrangements, and I remain very interested in these fields as well.

The study of free resolutions and Hilbert functions is a beautiful and core area in Commutative Algebra. It contains a number of challenging important conjectures and open problems. The idea to associate a free resolution to a module was introduced by Hilbert in his famous paper ``Über the Theorie von algebraischen Formen." Resolutions provide a method for describing the structure of modules.

    List of Publications  
    Research Summary  
Preprint:   Minimal Free Resolutions over Complete Intersections
Expository Papers:
  • Conjectures and Open Problems on Infinite Free Resolutions  
  • Three Themes of Syzygies  
  • Conjectures and Open Problems on Finite Free Resolutions  
    Notes from my AMS Invited Address at the national Joint Mathematics Meetings in 2015
    Book:   Graded Syzygies, I. Peeva, Springer, 2011.

    Books (with expository papers) edited by Peeva:
  • Commutative Algebra, Springer, 2013.
  • Syzygies and Hilbert functions, Lect. Notes Pure Appl. Math. 254 (2007), Chapman and Hall/CRC.


    Free Resolutions over Complete Intersections

    Minimal free resolutions over a local complete intersection R have attracted attention ever since the elegant construction of the minimal free resolution of the residue field by Tate in 1957. The next impressive result was Gulliksen's proof in 1974 that the Poincaré series ∑bi(N)ti (where bi(N) are the Betti numbers over R) is rational for every finitely generated R-module N, and that the denominator divides (1-t2)c (where c is the codimension of R). For this purpose, he showed that ExtR(N,k) can be regarded as a finitely generated graded module over a polynomial ring k[χ 1,...,χ c]. This also implies that the even Betti numbers bi(N) are eventually given by a polynomial in i, and the odd Betti numbers are given by another polynomial. In 1989 Avramov proved that the two polynomials have the same leading coefficient and the same degree. He also identified the dimension of ExtR(N,k) with a correction term in a natural generalization of the Auslander-Buchsbaum formula. In 1997 Avramov, Gasharov and Peeva showed that the truncated Betti sequence {bi(N)}i≥ q is either strictly increasing or constant for q≫ 0 and proved further properties of the Betti numbers.

    The theory of matrix factorizations was introduced by Eisenbud in 1980 to describe the asymptotic structure of minimal free resolutions over a hypersurface. A matrix factorization of a non-zero element f in a regular local ring S is a pair (d,h) of maps of finitely generated S-free modules d: A1→ A0, h: A0→ A1 such that hd = f. IdA1 and dh = f.IdA0. This concept has many other applications: for example, in the study of Cohen-Macaulay modules and Singularity Theory, Cluster Tilting, Hodge Theory, Khovanov-Rozansky Homology, Moduli of Curves, Quiver and Group Representations, Singularity Categories. Starting with Kapustin and Li, who followed an idea of Kontsevich, physicists discovered amazing connections with String Theory. Despite all this work on applications, progress on the structure of minimal free resolutions over complete intersections was scant.

    The condition of minimality is important. The mere existence of free resolutions suffices for foundational issues such as the definition of Ext and Tor, and there are various methods of producing resolutions uniformly (for example, the Bar resolution). But without minimality, resolutions are not unique, and the very uniformity of constructions like the Bar resolution implies that they give little insight into the structure of the modules resolved.

    We focus on high syzygies, since there are examples, constructed by Eisenbud, of minimal resolutions over complete intersections that have intricate structure, but exhibit stable patterns when sufficiently truncated. As mentioned above, in 1980 he described the minimal free resolutions of high syzygies over a hypersurface. In 2000, Avramov and Buchweitz analyzed the codimension 2 case. But the general case (of higher codimensions) has remained elusive, even though non-minimal resolutions have been known for over 45 years from the work of Shamash.

    Eisenbud and I have wondered, for many years, how to describe the eventual patterns in the minimal resolutions of modules over complete intersections of higher codimension. With the theory developed in the research monograph Minimal Free Resolutions over Complete Intersections we believe we have found an answer.

    For this purpose, we introduce a new concept of higher matrix factorization (d,h) with respect to a regular sequence; this extends the theory of matrix factorizations. We obtain the following results: Let S be a regular local ring with infinite residue field k, and let I⊂ S be an ideal generated by a regular sequence of length c. Let N be a finitely generated module over the complete intersection R := S/I, and M be a sufficiently high syzygy of N over R. We prove that there exists a minimal higher matrix factorization (d,h), with respect to a generic choice of generators f1, ..., fc of I, such that M is its higher matrix factorization module Coker(R⊗ d). We construct the minimal free resolution of M over the complete intersection R. We also construct the minimal free resolution of M over the regular local ring S.