Fake Z

Anatoly Dymarsky, Rohit R. Kalloor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Recently introduced connections between quantum codes and Narain CFTs provide a simple ansatz to express a modular-invariant function (Formula presented.) in terms of a multivariate polynomial satisfying certain additional properties. These properties include algebraic identities, which ensure modular invariance of (Formula presented.), and positivity and integrality of coefficients, which imply positivity and integrality of the u(1)n × u(1)n character expansion of (Formula presented.). Such polynomials come naturally from codes, in the sense that each code of a certain type gives rise to the so-called enumerator polynomial, which automatically satisfies all necessary properties, while the resulting (Formula presented.) is the partition function of the code CFT - the Narain theory unambiguously constructed from the code. Yet there are also “fake” polynomials satisfying all necessary properties, that are not associated with any code. They lead to (Formula presented.) satisfying all modular bootstrap constraints (modular invariance and positivity and integrality of character expansion), but whether they are partition functions of any actual CFT is unclear. We consider the group of the six simplest fake polynomials and denounce the corresponding Z’s as fake: we show that none of them is the torus partition function of any Narain theory. Moreover, four of them are not partition functions of any unitary 2d CFT; our analysis for other two is inconclusive. Our findings point to an obvious limitation of the modular bootstrap approach: not every solution of the full set of torus modular bootstrap constraints is due to an actual CFT. In the paper we consider six simple examples, keeping in mind that thousands more can be constructed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number43
JournalJournal of High Energy Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).


  • Conformal Field Models in String Theory
  • Conformal and W Symmetry
  • Field Theories in Lower Dimensions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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