Virtual Polytopes

G. Yu Panina, Saint Petersburg State University
I. Streinu, Smith College

Peer reviewed accepted manuscript.


Originating in diverse branches of mathematics, from polytope algebra and toric varieties to the theory of stressed graphs, virtual polytopes represent a natural algebraic generalization of convex polytopes. Introduced as elements of the Grothendieck group associated to the semigroup of convex polytopes, they admit a variety of geometrizations. The present survey connects the theory of virtual polytopes with other geometrical subjects, describes a series of geometrizations together with relations between them, and gives a selection of applications.