Combining analysis, geometry, and topology, this volume provides an introduction to current ideas involving the application of $K$-theory of operator algebras to index theory and geometry. In particular, the articles follow two main themes: the use of operator algebras to reflect properties of geometric objects and the application of index theory in settings where the relevant elliptic operators are invertible modulo a $C^*$-algebra other than that of the compact operators. The papers in this collection are the proceedings of the special sessions held at two AMS meetings: the Annual meeting in New Orleans in January 1986, and the Central Section meeting in April 1986. Jonathan Rosenberg's exposition supplies the best available introduction to Kasparov's $KK$-theory and its applications to representation theory and geometry.A striking application of these ideas is found in Thierry Fack's paper, which provides a complete and detailed proof of the Novikov Conjecture for fundamental groups of manifolds of non-positive curvature. Some of the papers involve Connes' foliation algebra and its $K$-theory, while others examine $C^*$-algebras associated to groups and group actions on spaces.
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