Abstract
In the context of CAT(0) cubical groups, we develop an analogue of the theory of curve complexes and subsurface projections. The role of the subsurfaces is played by a collection of convex subcomplexes called a factor system, and the role of the curve graph is played by the contact graph. There are a number of close parallels between the contact graph and the curve graph, including hyperbolicity, acylindricity of the action, the existence of hierarchy paths, and a Masur–Minskystyle distance formula. We then define a hierarchically hyperbolic space; the class of such spaces includes a wide class of cubical groups (including all virtually compact special groups) as well as mapping class groups and Teichmüller space with any of the standard metrics. We deduce a number of results about these spaces, all of which are new for cubical or mapping class groups, and most of which are new for both. We show that the quasiLipschitz image from a ball in a nilpotent Lie group into a hierarchically hyperbolic space lies close to a product of hierarchy geodesics. We also prove a rank theorem for hierarchically hyperbolic spaces; this generalizes results of Behrstock and Minsky, of Eskin, Masur and Rafi, of Hamenstädt, and of Kleiner. We finally prove that each hierarchically hyperbolic group admits an acylindrical action on a hyperbolic space. This acylindricity result is new for cubical groups, in which case the hyperbolic space admitting the action is the contact graph; in the case of the mapping class group, this provides a new proof of a theorem of Bowditch.
Original language  English 

Pages (fromto)  17311804 
Number of pages  74 
Journal  Geometry and Topology 
Volume  21 
Issue number  3 
DOIs  
Publication status  Published  10 May 2017 
Keywords
 Acylindrical
 Cube complexes
 Curve complex
 Hierarchically hyperbolic
 Teichmüller space
ASJC Scopus subject areas
 Geometry and Topology
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Alessandro Sisto
 School of Mathematical & Computer Sciences  Assistant Professor
 School of Mathematical & Computer Sciences, Mathematics  Assistant Professor
Person: Academic (Research & Teaching)