Apart from being capable of computing integer homology of simplicial complexes (see this tutorial for an introduction), `polymake`

is able to handle general chain complexes and compute homology for coefficients from different domains. When experimenting in the interactive shell, switch to the topology application first:

> application 'topaz';

You can construct a chain complex via its differential matrices. For example purposes, we use the sparse boundary matrices of a triangulation of the real projective plane. You can then construct a general chain complex from it like this:

topaz > $bd1 = real_projective_plane()->boundary_matrix(1); topaz > $bd2 = real_projective_plane()->boundary_matrix(2); topaz > $a = new Array<SparseMatrix<Integer>>($bd1,$bd2); # omit the trivial zeroth differential topaz > $cc = new ChainComplex<SparseMatrix<Integer>>($a,1);

The template parameter of `ChainComplex`

denotes the type of the boundary matrices. It defaults to `SparseMatrix<Integer>`

, as this allows computation of integer homology. The second parameter of the chain complex constructor defaults to 0, indicating whether to perform a sanity check on the matrices (i.e. whether matrix dimensions match and successive maps compose to the zero map).

You can access the data stored in the object like this:

topaz > print $cc->boundary_matrix(2); (15) (0 1) (1 -1) (2 1) (15) (0 1) (3 -1) (4 1) (15) (5 1) (6 -1) (7 1) (15) (1 -1) (5 1) (8 1) (15) (3 -1) (6 1) (9 1) (15) (7 1) (10 1) (11 -1) (15) (4 -1) (10 1) (12 1) (15) (2 -1) (11 1) (13 1) (15) (8 1) (12 -1) (14 1) (15) (9 -1) (13 1) (14 1)

There is a user function to compute integer homology of your complex. You can access the documentation by typing the name of the function in the interactive shell and then pressing F1.

topaz > print homology($cc,0); ({} 1) ({(2 1)} 0) ({} 0)

The output rows correspond to the dimensions of your homology modules, containing the torsion coefficients in curly brackets, and the betti number. Note that this is non-reduced homology, unlike what gets computed when using the `HOMOLOGY`

property of a simplicial complex.

There is an extra function for computing the generators of the homology modules as well.

topaz > print homology_and_cycles($cc,0); (({} 1) <(6) (0 1) > ) (({(2 1)} 0) <(15) (10 1) (11 -1) (12 1) (13 -1) (14 -1) > ) (({} 0) <> )

The output pairs the homology module representation with a representation of the cycles generating the respective modules, where the indices correspond to the indices in your input matrices.

If your complex' differentials do not have `Integer`

coefficients, computing integer homology is not possible. You can still (and very efficiently!) compute the Betti numbers by using the corresponding user function:

print betti_numbers($cc); 1 0 0

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