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On the structure of pseudo-Riemannian symmetric spaces
Ines Kath and Martin Olbrich
Following our approach to metric Lie algebras developed in a previous paper we propose a way of understanding pseudo-Riemannian symmetric spaces which are not semi-simple. We introduce cohomology sets (called quadratic cohomology) associated with orthogonal modules of Lie algebras with involution. Then we construct a functorial assignment which sends a pseudo-Riemannian symmetric space $M$ to a triple consisting of
(i) a Lie algebra with involution (of dimension much smaller than the dimension of the transvection group of $M$), (ii) a semi-simple orthogonal module of the Lie algebra with involution, and (iii) a quadratic cohomology class of this module.
That leads to a classification scheme of indecomposable non-simple pseudo-Rieman\-nian symmetric spaces. In addition, we obtain a full classification of symmetric spaces of index 2 (thereby completing and correcting in part earlier classification results due to Cahen/Parker and Neukirchner).