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April 30, 2016

Relative Endomorphisms

Posted by Qiaochu Yuan

Let (M,)(M, \otimes) be a monoidal category and let CC be a left module category over MM, with action map also denoted by \otimes. If mMm \in M is a monoid and cCc \in C is an object, then we can talk about an action of mm on cc: it’s just a map

α:mcc\alpha : m \otimes c \to c

satisfying the usual associativity and unit axioms. (The fact that all we need is an action of MM on CC to define an action of mm on cc is a cute instance of the microcosm principle.)

This is a very general definition of monoid acting on an object which includes, as special cases (at least if enough colimits exist),

  • actions of monoids in Set\text{Set} on objects in ordinary categories,
  • actions of monoids in Vect\text{Vect} (that is, algebras) on objects in Vect\text{Vect}-enriched categories,
  • actions of monads (letting M=End(C)M = \text{End}(C)), and
  • actions of operads (letting CC be a symmetric monoidal category and MM be the monoidal category of symmetric sequences under the composition product)

This definition can be used, among other things, to straightforwardly motivate the definition of a monad (as I did here): actions of a monoidal category MM on a category CC correspond to monoidal functors MEnd(C)M \to \text{End}(C), so every action in the above sense is equivalent to an action of a monad, namely the image of the monoid mm under such a monoidal functor. In other words, monads on CC are the universal monoids which act on objects cCc \in C in the above sense.

Corresponding to this notion of action is a notion of endomorphism object. Say that the relative endomorphism object End M(c)\text{End}_M(c), if it exists, is the universal monoid in MM acting on cc: that is, it’s a monoid acting on cc, and the action of any other monoid on cc uniquely factors through it.

Posted at 1:40 AM UTC | Permalink | Followups (9)

April 23, 2016

Polygonal Decompositions of Surfaces

Posted by John Baez

If you tell me you’re going to take a compact smooth 2-dimensional manifold and subdivide it into polygons, I know what you mean. You mean something like this picture by Norton Starr:

or this picture by Greg Egan:

(Click on the images for details.) But what’s the usual term for this concept, and the precise definition? I’m writing a paper that uses this concept, and I don’t want to spend my time proving basic stuff. I want to just refer to something.

Posted at 4:54 PM UTC | Permalink | Followups (14)

April 21, 2016

Type Theory and Philosophy at Kent

Posted by David Corfield

I haven’t been around here much lately, but I would like to announce this workshop I’m running on 9-10 June, Type Theory and Philosophy. Following some of the links there will show, I hope, the scope of what may be possible.

One link is to the latest draft of an article I’m writing, Expressing ‘The Structure of’ in Homotopy Type Theory, which has evolved a little over the year since I posted The Structure of A.

Posted at 2:05 PM UTC | Permalink | Post a Comment