- A taut ideal triangulation of a 3-manifold is a topological ideal triangulation with extra combinatorial structure: a choice of transverse orientation on each ideal 2-simplex, satisfying two simple conditions. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate that taut ideal triangulations are very common, and that their behaviour is very similar to that of a taut foliation. For example, by studying normal surfaces in taut ideal triangulations, we give a new proof of Gabai's result that the singular genus of a knot in the 3-sphere is equal to its genus.
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