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The paper represents the lectures given by the author at the 16th Winter School on Geometry and Physics, Srni, Czech Republic, January 13-20, 1996. He develops in an elegant manner the theory of conformal covariants and the theory of functional determinant which is canonically associated to an elliptic operator on a compact pseudo-Riemannian manifold. The presentation is excellently realized with a lot of details, examples and open problems.
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