Moving Coframes: II. Regularization and Theoretical Foundations

Mark Fels, Peter J. Olver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

223 Scopus citations


The primary goal of this paper is to provide a rigorous theoretical justification of Cartan's method of moving frames for arbitrary finite-dimensional Lie group actions on manifolds. The general theorems are based a new regularized version of the moving frame algorithm, which is of both theoretical and practical use. Applications include a new approach to the construction and classification of differential invariants and invariant differential operators on jet bundles, as well as equivalence, symmetry, and rigidity theorems for submanifolds under general transformation groups. The method also leads to complete classifications of generating systems of differential invariants, explicit commutation formulae for the associated invariant differential operators, and a general classification theorem for syzygies of the higher order differentiated differential invariants. A variety of illustrative examples demonstrate how the method can be directly applied to practical problems arising in geometry, invariant theory, and differential equations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-208
Number of pages82
JournalActa Applicandae Mathematicae
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported in part by an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship. Supported in part by NSF Grant DMS 95-00931.

Funding Information:
Many of the results in this paper were inspired by enlightening discussions with Ian Anderson. We are indebted to him for sharing his insights, inspiration, and critical comments while this work was in progress. One of us (P.J.O.) would also like to thank Mark Hickman, the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, and the Erskine Fellowship Program at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand for their hospitality while this paper was completed.


  • Differential invariant
  • Equivalence
  • Jet bundle
  • Lie group
  • Moving frame
  • Prolongation
  • Rigidity
  • Symmetry
  • Syzygy

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