We present a review on some of the basic aspects concerning quantum cosmology in the presence of cut-off physics as it has emerged in the literature during the last fifteen years. We first analyze how the Wheeler–DeWitt equation describes the quantum Universe dynamics, when a pure metric approach is concerned, showing how, in general, the primordial singularity is not removed by the quantum effects. We then analyze the main implications of applying the loop quantum gravity prescriptions to the minisuperspace model, i.e., we discuss the basic features of the so-called loop quantum cosmology. For the isotropic Universe dynamics, we compare the original approach, dubbed the
scheme, and the most commonly accepted formulation for which the area gap is taken as physically scaled, i.e., the so-called
scheme. Furthermore, some fundamental results concerning the Bianchi Universes are discussed, especially with respect to the morphology of the Bianchi IX model. Finally, we consider some relevant criticisms developed over the last ten years about the real link existing between the full theory of loop quantum gravity and its minisuperspace implementation, especially with respect to the preservation of the internal
symmetry. In the second part of the review, we consider the dynamics of the isotropic Universe and of the Bianchi models in the framework of polymer quantum mechanics. Throughout the paper, we focus on the effective semiclassical dynamics and study the full quantum theory only in some cases, such as the FLRW model and the Bianchi I model in the Ashtekar variables. We first address the polymerization in terms of the Ashtekar–Barbero–Immirzi connection and show how the resulting dynamics is isomorphic to the
scheme of loop quantum cosmology with a critical energy density of the Universe that depends on the initial conditions of the dynamics. The following step is to analyze the polymerization of volume-like variables, both for the isotropic and Bianchi I models, and we see that if the Universe volume (the cubed scale factor) is one of the configurational variables, then the resulting dynamics is isomorphic to that one emerging in loop quantum cosmology for the
scheme, with the critical energy density value being fixed only by fundamental constants and the Immirzi parameter. Finally, we consider the polymer quantum dynamics of the homogeneous and inhomogeneous Mixmaster model by means of a metric approach. In particular, we compare the results obtained by using the volume variable, which leads to the emergence of a singularity- and chaos-free cosmology, to the use of the standard Misner variable. In the latter case, we deal with the surprising result of a cosmology that is still singular, and its chaotic properties depend on the ratio between the lattice steps for the isotropic and anisotropic variables. We conclude the review with some considerations of the problem of changing variables in the polymer representation of the minisuperspace dynamics. In particular, on a semiclassical level, we consider how the dynamics can be properly mapped in two different sets of variables (at the price of having to deal with a coordinate dependent lattice step), and we infer some possible implications on the equivalence of the
scheme of loop quantum cosmology.