Paul Wedrich, Max Planck Institute and University of Bonn
Invariants of $4$-manifolds from Khovanov-Rozansky link homology

Ribbon categories are $3$-dimensional algebraic structures that control quantum link polynomials and that give rise to $3$-manifold invariants known as skein modules. I will describe how to use Khovanov-Rozansky link homology, a categorification of the $\operatorname{\mathfrak{gl}}(N)$ quantum link polynomial, to obtain a $4$-dimensional algebraic structure that gives rise to vector space-valued invariants of smooth $4$-manifolds. The technical heart of this construction is the newly established functoriality of Khovanov-Rozansky homology in the $3$-sphere. Based on joint work with Scott Morrison and Kevin Walker