Matroidal subdivisions, Dressians and tropical Grassmannians
In this thesis we study various aspects of tropical linear spaces and their moduli spaces, the tropical Grassmannians and Dressians. Tropical linear spaces are dual to matroid subdivisions. Motivated by the concept of splits, the simplest case of a subdivision, a new class of matroids is introduced, which can be studied via techniques from polyhedral geometry. This class is very large as it strictly contains all paving matroids. The structural properties of these split matroids can be exploited to obtain new results in tropical geometry, especially on the rays of the tropical Grassmannians and the dimension of the Dressian. In particular, a relation between matroid realizability and certain tropical linear spaces is elaborated. The rays of a Dressian correspond to facets of the secondary polytope of a hypersimplex. A special class of facets is obtained by a generalization of splits, called multi-splits or originally, in Herrmann’s work, k-splits. We give an explicit combinatorial description of all multi-splits of the hypersimplex. These are in correspondence to nested matroids and, via the tropical Stiefel map, also to multi-splits of products of simplices. Hence, we derive a description for all multi-splits of a product of simplices. Moreover, a computational result leads to explicit lower bounds on the total number of facets of secondary polytopes of hypersimplices. Other computational aspects are also part of our research: A new method for computing tropical linear spaces and more general duals of polyhedral subdivisions is developed and implemented in the software polymake. This is based on Ganter’s algorithm (1984) for finite closure systems. Additionally, we describe the implementation of a subfield of the field of formal Puiseux series. This is employed for solving linear programs and computing convex hulls depending on a real parameter. Moreover, this approach is useful for computations in convex and algebraic tropical geometry. Tropical varieties, as for example tropical linear spaces or tropical Grassmannians, are intersections of finitely many tropical hypersurfaces. The set of corresponding polynomials is a tropical basis. We give an explicit upper bound for the degree of a general tropical basis of a homogeneous polynomial ideal. As an application f-vectors of tropical varieties are discussed. Various examples illustrate differences between Gröbner bases and tropical bases.