Isometric actions of discrete groups are not always properly discontinuous for pseudo-Riemannian manifolds. This short exposition gives an up-to-date survey of some of the basic questions about discontinuous groups for pseudo-Riemannian homogeneous spaces, on which a rapid development has been made since late 1980s.
The first half includes an elementary geometric motivation, the Calabi-Markus phenomenon, the discontinuous dual, and deformation. These topics are rebuilt on a criterion of properly discontinuous actions on homogeneous spaces of reductive groups, obtained by Kobayashi [Math. Ann. 1989] and generalized independently by Benoist [Ann. Math. 1996] and Kobayashi [J. Lie Theory 1996].
The second half discusses the existence problem of compact Clifford-Klein forms of pseudo-Riemannian homogeneous spaces, for which many new methods from different areas have been recently employed. We examine these various approaches in some typical cases. We also point out that Zimmer's examples on SL(n)/SL(m) [J. Amer. Math. Soc. 1994] and Shalom's examples on SL(n)/SL(2) [Ann. Math. 2000] are readily obtained as special cases of Kobayashi's criterion [Duke Math. J. 1992], where the former uses ergodic theory and restrictions of unitary representations, respectively, while the latter uses cohomologies of discrete groups.
The article also explains some open problems and conjectures.
The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com.
© Toshiyuki Kobayashi