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Concept# Connection (vector bundle)

Summary

In mathematics, and especially differential geometry and gauge theory, a connection on a fiber bundle is a device that defines a notion of parallel transport on the bundle; that is, a way to "connect" or identify fibers over nearby points. The most common case is that of a linear connection on a vector bundle, for which the notion of parallel transport must be linear. A linear connection is equivalently specified by a covariant derivative, an operator that differentiates sections of the bundle along tangent directions in the base manifold, in such a way that parallel sections have derivative zero. Linear connections generalize, to arbitrary vector bundles, the Levi-Civita connection on the tangent bundle of a pseudo-Riemannian manifold, which gives a standard way to differentiate vector fields. Nonlinear connections generalize this concept to bundles whose fibers are not necessarily linear.
Linear connections are also called Koszul connections after Jean-Louis Koszul, who gave an algebraic framework for describing them .
This article defines the connection on a vector bundle using a common mathematical notation which de-emphasizes coordinates. However, other notations are also regularly used: in general relativity, vector bundle computations are usually written using indexed tensors; in gauge theory, the endomorphisms of the vector space fibers are emphasized. The different notations are equivalent, as discussed in the article on metric connections (the comments made there apply to all vector bundles).
Let M be a differentiable manifold, such as Euclidean space. A vector-valued function can be viewed as a section of the trivial vector bundle One may consider a section of a general differentiable vector bundle, and it is therefore natural to ask if it is possible to differentiate a section, as a generalization of how one differentiates a function on M.
The model case is to differentiate a function on Euclidean space .

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