In the first order formalism, it is straightforward to show that Dirac quantization is equivalent to the Chern-Simons quantum theory we have already seen. Details can be found in Chapter 8 of , but the basic argument is fairly clear: At least for , the first order constraints coming from Equations (15, 16) are at most linear in the momenta, and are thus uncomplicated to solve.
In the second order formalism, matters become considerably more complicated  . We begin with a wave function , upon which we wish to impose the constraints (30), with momenta acting as functional derivatives, . The momentum constraint fixes in terms of the scale factor , but it does so nonlocally. As a consequence, the Hamiltonian constraint becomes a nonlocal functional differential equation, and very little is understood about its solutions, even for the simplest case of the torus universe. Further complications come from the fact that the inner product on the space of solutions of the Wheeler-DeWitt equation must be gauge-fixed [282, 144] ; again, little is understood about the resulting Hilbert space.
In view of the difficulty in finding exact solutions to the Wheeler-DeWitt equation, it is natural to look for perturbative methods, for example an expansion in powers of Newton’s constant . One can solve the momentum constraints order by order by insisting that each term depend only on (nonlocal) spatially diffeomorphism-invariant quantities. Such an expansion has been studied by Banks, Fischler, and Susskind for the physically trivial topology , following much earlier work by Leutwyler  . Even in this simple case, computations quickly become extremely difficult. Other attempts have been made [47, 186] to write a discrete version of the Wheeler-DeWitt equation in the Ponzano-Regge formalism of Section 3.6 . This approach has the advantage that the spatial diffeomorphisms have already been largely eliminated, removing the main source of nonlocality discussed above. The Wheeler-DeWitt-like equation in  has been shown to agree with the the Ponzano-Regge model.
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