Geometry of integrable hierarchies and their dispersionless limits



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This thesis describes a geometric approach to integrable systems. In the first part we describe the geometry of Drinfeld--Sokolov integrable hierarchies including the corresponding tau-functions. Motivated by a relation between Drinfeld--Sokolov hierarchies and certain physical partition functions, we define a dispersionless limit of Drinfeld--Sokolov systems. We introduce a class of solutions which we call string solutions and prove that the tau-functions of string solutions satisfy Virasoro constraints generalizing those familiar from two-dimensional quantum gravity. In the second part we explain how procedures of Hamiltonian and quasi-Hamiltonian reductions in symplectic geometry arise naturally in the context of shifted symplectic structures. All constructions that appear in quasi-Hamiltonian reduction have a natural interpretation in terms of the classical Chern-Simons theory that we explain. As an application, we construct a prequantization of character stacks purely locally.