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Lötscher, Roland; MacDonald, Mark (2017): The slice method for G-torsors. In: Advances in Mathematics, Vol. 320: pp. 329-360
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The notion of a (G, N)-slice of a G-variety was introduced by P.I. Katsylo in the early 80's for an algebraically closed base field of characteristic 0. Slices (also known under the name of relative sections) have ever since provided a fundamental tool in invariant theory, allowing reduction of rational or regular invariants of an algebraic group G to invariants of a "simpler" group. We refine this notion for a G-scheme over an arbitrary field, and use it to get reduction of structure group results for G-torsors. Namely we show that any (G, N)-slice of a versal G-scheme gives surjective maps H-1 (L, N) -> H-1 (L, G) in fppf-cohomology for infinite fields L containing F. We show that every stabilizer in general position H for a geometrically irreducible G-variety V gives rise to a (G, N-G(H))-slice in our sense. The combination of these two results is applied in particular to obtain a striking new upper bound on the essential dimension of the simply connected split algebraic group of type E-7.