This paper begins a series devoted to developing a general and practical theory of moving frames for infinite-dimensional Lie pseudo-groups. In this first, preparatory part, we present a new, direct approach to the construction of invariant Maurer-Cartan forms and the Cartan structure equations for a pseudo-group. Our approach is completely explicit and avoids reliance on the theory of exterior differential systems and prolongation. The second paper  will apply these constructions in order to develop the moving frame algorithm for the action of the pseudo-group on submanifolds. The third paper  will apply Gröbner basis methods to prove a fundamental theorem on the freeness of pseudo-group actions on jet bundles, and a constructive version of the finiteness theorem of Tresse and Kumpera for generating systems of differential invariants and also their syzygies. Applications of the moving frame method include practical algorithms for constructing complete systems of differential invariants and invariant differential forms, classifying their syzygies and recurrence relations, analyzing invariant variational principles, and solving equivalence and symmetry problems arising in geometry and physics.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
1Supported in part by NSF Grant DMS 01–03944.
- Lie pseudo-group
- Maurer-Cartan form
- Structure equations