GUTs and Exceptional Branes in F-theory

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Within the context of F-theory compactified on Calabi-Yau fourfolds, we describe a class of string theory vacua which contain several features necessary in supersymmetric grand unified models of particle physics. Focussing on a simple class of local Calabi-Yau fourfolds, we explain how the matter content and superpotential in four dimensions are determined by a topological gauge theory. Along these lines, we present some minimal examples of GUT models.