Let be a group and let

be a **graded representation** of , i.e. a functor from to the category of graded vector spaces with each piece finite-dimensional. Thus acts on each graded piece individually, each of which is an ordinary finite-dimensional representation. We want to define a character associated to a graded representation, but if a character is to have any hope of uniquely describing a representation it must contain information about the character on every finite-dimensional piece simultaneously. The natural definition here is the **graded trace**

.

In particular, the graded trace of the identity is the **graded dimension** or Hilbert series of .

Classically a case of particular interest is when for some fixed representation , since is the symmetric algebra (in particular, commutative ring) of polynomial functions on invariant under . In the nicest cases (for example when is finite), is finitely generated, hence Noetherian, and is a variety which describes the quotient .

In a previous post we discussed instead the case where for some fixed representation , hence is the tensor algebra of functions on . I thought it might be interesting to discuss some generalities about these graded representations, so that’s what we’ll be doing today.