https://thosgood.com/Tim Hosgood's blog2023-09-08T00:00:00ZTim Hosgoodhttps://thosgood.comtag:thosgood.com,2023-09-08:/blog/2023/09/08/cech-totalisation/Čech totalisation2023-09-08T00:00:00Z2023-09-08T00:00:00Z<p>After a pretty long time (over two and half years or so), <a
href="https://www.zeinalian.com/">Mahmoud Zeinalian</a> and I have
finished our paper “Simplicial presheaves of Green complexes and
twisting cochains” (arXiv:<a
href="https://arxiv.org/abs/2308.09627">2308.09627</a>). In this blog
post I want to give a brief overview of one of the main technical tools
that we use, which we call <em>Čech totalisation</em>. The full story
involves model categories and homotopy limits and all this sort of
machinery, but the main part of this post will try to keep this to a
minimum, and just talk about a surprisingly useful roundabout way of
describing principal bundles. There might be a second part to this, but
for those interested or wanting for more details I recommend just
delving into the paper — I spent a lot of time trying to make it as
readable as possible!</p>
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<h1 id="the-motivating-example-principal-g-bundles">The motivating
example: principal <span class="math inline">G</span>-bundles</h1>
<p>Here’s a really over-the-top way of constructing/defining principal
<span class="math inline">G</span>-bundles, whose usefulness we will
soon come to justify. We’re first going to go very quickly, with an
nLab-style approach, but we’ll come back and explain things more
concretely afterwards.</p>
<p>Let <span class="math inline">G</span> be a Lie group (i.e. a group
object in the category <span class="math inline">\mathsf{Man}</span> of
smooth manifolds). Then Yoneda gives us a presheaf <span
class="math display">
y^G
= \mathsf{Man}(-,G)
\colon\mathsf{Man}^\mathrm{op}\to\mathsf{Set}
</span> but we can in fact endow this presheaf with the structure of a
Lie group, by using the Lie group structure of <span
class="math inline">G</span> “pointwise”. This means that we can deloop
<span class="math inline">y^G</span> to obtain a presheaf of one-element
groupoids <span class="math display">
\mathbb{B}y^G
= \mathbb{B}\mathsf{Man}(-,G)
\colon\mathsf{Man}^\mathrm{op}\to\mathsf{Grpd}.
</span> In other words, given any smooth manifold <span
class="math inline">X</span>, we obtain a groupoid <span
class="math inline">\mathbb{B}y^G(X)</span> with a single object <span
class="math inline">*</span> and with endomorphism group <span
class="math inline">\operatorname{Hom}(*,*)\cong\mathsf{Man}(X,G)</span>.
Finally, for this step, we can take the categorical nerve <span
class="math inline">\mathcal{N}\colon\mathsf{Cat}\to\mathsf{sSet}</span>
to obtain a presheaf of simplicial sets <span class="math display">
\mathcal{N}\mathbb{B}y^G
\colon\mathsf{Man}^\mathrm{op}\to[\Delta^\mathrm{op},\mathsf{Set}].
</span> So if we go back and forget about our choice of <span
class="math inline">G</span>, instead leaving that open, we get a
functor <span class="math display">
\mathcal{N}\mathbb{B}y^{(-)}
\colon\mathsf{LieGroup}\to[\mathsf{Man}^\mathrm{op},[\Delta^\mathrm{op},\mathsf{Set}]].
</span></p>
<p>Let’s now think about covers. Let <span
class="math inline">\mathsf{Man}_\mathcal{U}</span> denote the category
whose objects are pairs <span class="math inline">(X,\mathcal{U})</span>
of a smooth manifold and a (good) cover, and whose morphisms <span
class="math inline">(X,\mathcal{U})\to(Y,\mathcal{V})</span> are the
morphisms <span class="math inline">f\colon X\to Y</span> in <span
class="math inline">\mathsf{Man}</span> such that <span
class="math inline">\mathcal{U}</span> is a refinement of <span
class="math inline">f^{-1}(\mathcal{V})</span>. Then we can write the
Čech nerve <span class="math inline">\check{\mathcal{N}}</span> as a
functor <span class="math display">
\check{\mathcal{N}}
\colon\mathsf{Man}_\mathcal{U}\to[\Delta^\mathrm{op},\mathsf{Man}]
</span> and then the purely abstract fact that <span
class="math inline">[\mathcal{C},\mathcal{D}]^\mathrm{op}\cong[\mathcal{C}^\mathrm{op},\mathcal{D}^\mathrm{op}]</span>
for any categories <span class="math inline">\mathcal{C}</span> and
<span class="math inline">\mathcal{D}</span> lets us apply an <span
class="math inline">\mathrm{op}</span> to get a functor <span
class="math display">
\check{\mathcal{N}}^\mathrm{op}
\colon\mathsf{Man}_\mathcal{U}^\mathrm{op}\to[\Delta,\mathsf{Man}^\mathrm{op}].
</span></p>
<p>We can precompose (which we write with as <span
class="math inline">(-)^*</span>) the above <span
class="math inline">\mathcal{N}\mathbb{B}y^{(-)}</span> with this <span
class="math inline">\check{\mathcal{N}}^\mathrm{op}</span> to obtain a
single functor <span class="math display">
(\check{\mathcal{N}}^\mathrm{op})^*\mathcal{N}\mathbb{B}y^{(-)}
\colon\mathsf{LieGroup}\to[\mathsf{Man}_\mathcal{U}^\mathrm{op},\mathsf{csSet}]
</span> where <span
class="math inline">\mathsf{csSet}=[\Delta,[\Delta^\mathrm{op},\mathsf{Set}]]</span>
is the category of cosimplicial simplicial sets. The very last step (for
real this time) is to then <em>totalise</em> over the cosimplicial
structure, i.e. to apply the functor <span
class="math inline">\operatorname{Tot}\colon\mathsf{csSet}\to\mathsf{sSet}</span>
that turns a cosimplicial simplicial set into a simplicial set in
exactly the same way that taking the total complex turns a bicomplex
into a complex (don’t worry, we’ll talk more about what this functor is
later). All in all, we get a simplicial presheaf on the category of
smooth manifolds with chosen cover, namely <span class="math display">
\operatorname{Tot}(\check{\mathcal{N}}^\mathrm{op})^*\mathcal{N}\mathbb{B}y^{(-)}
\colon\mathsf{LieGroup}\to[\mathsf{Man}_\mathcal{U}^\mathrm{op},\mathsf{sSet}].
</span></p>
<p>Now comes the punchline.</p>
<div class="itenv" title="Theorem">
<p>For any Lie group <span class="math inline">G</span> and space with
cover <span class="math inline">(X,\mathcal{U})</span>, the simplicial
set <span
class="math inline">\operatorname{Tot}(\check{\mathcal{N}}^\mathrm{op})^*\mathcal{N}\mathbb{B}y^{G}</span>
is the <strong>space</strong> of principal <span
class="math inline">G</span>-bundles.</p>
</div>
<p>What do we mean by this? Well, we are saying the following:</p>
<ul>
<li>the resulting simplicial set is actually a Kan complex, and thus
earns the name of “space”;</li>
<li>the points of this space are exactly principal <span
class="math inline">G</span>-bundles;</li>
<li>a path between two points in this space is exactly an isomorphism of
principal <span class="math inline">G</span>-bundles;</li>
<li>there is no higher homotopical information.</li>
</ul>
<p>We can actually even modify this construction to obtain a “space”
where the paths are mere morphisms of principal <span
class="math inline">G</span>-bundles, but this is then only a
<em>quasi-category</em> instead of a true space.</p>
<p>This story is very <span class="math inline">1</span>-categorical,
and can even be seen as a <span class="math inline">1</span>-categorical
version of §3.2.1 of “Čech cocycles for differential characteristic
classes: an <span class="math inline">\infty</span>-Lie theoretic
construction” by Fiorenza, Schreiber, and Stasheff (DOI:<a
href="https://dx.doi.org/10.4310/ATMP.2012.v16.n1.a5">10.4310/ATMP.2012.v16.n1.a5</a>).
The <span class="math inline">\infty</span>-categorical version turns up
in the paper by me and Mahmoud in the following guise:</p>
<blockquote>
<p><em>The space of twisting cochains is given by the Čech totalisation
of the maximal Kan complex of the dg-nerve of the category of finitely
generated free complexes.</em></p>
</blockquote>
<p>This may mean nothing to you (twisting cochains à la Toledo and Tong
seem to be rather underappreciated in modern literature, imho), but I
promise that it’s a cool result (just not one that I have the space to
delve into today). In fact, you can take this as a motto if you
like:</p>
<blockquote>
<p><em>Twisting cochains are the <span
class="math inline">\infty</span>-analogue of vector bundles, a sort of
“homotopy-coherent bundles”.</em></p>
</blockquote>
<p>Now, I am sure that the <span
class="math inline">1</span>-categorical statement (concerning principal
<span class="math inline">G</span>-bundles) is a known result, even
though I can’t find it written down anywhere (except for in our paper).
Indeed, all it’s really saying is that <em>“bundles are homotopy limits
of locally trivial stuff”</em>. Let’s take this rather glib summary and
try to see if we can understand it in more detail.</p>
<h1 id="the-čech-nerve-totalisation-and-reedy-fibrancy">The Čech nerve;
totalisation and Reedy fibrancy</h1>
<p>Given a cover <span class="math inline">\mathcal{U}</span> of a space
<span class="math inline">X</span>, the <em>Čech nerve</em> is the
simplicial space given in degree <span class="math inline">p</span> by
the disjoint union of all non-empty <span
class="math inline">p</span>-fold intersections of elements of <span
class="math inline">\mathcal{U}</span>, i.e. <span class="math display">
\check{\mathcal{N}}\mathcal{U}_p
= \coprod U_{\alpha_0\ldots\alpha_p}
</span> and the face and degeneracy maps are given by dropping/repeating
indices <span class="math inline">\alpha_i</span>. If the cover is
“good”, then this gives a fibrant replacement of <span
class="math inline">X</span>, and so can be used to compute cohomology
(or more general mapping spaces). I love the Čech nerve — I think it
turns up in almost everything I write — but I’d rather spend my little
remaining energy describing totalisation instead.</p>
<p>The prototypical cosimplicial simplicial set is <span
class="math display">
\begin{aligned}
\Delta[\star]
\colon\Delta
&\to\mathsf{sSet}
\\ [p]
&\mapsto\Delta[p]=\operatorname{Hom}_\Delta(-,[p])
\end{aligned}
</span> which we can think of as “all of the simplices <span
class="math inline">\Delta[p]</span> gathered together”. This lets us
define a functor <span class="math display">
\begin{aligned}
L
\colon\mathsf{sSet}
&\to\mathsf{csSet}
\\Y_\bullet
&\mapsto Y_\bullet\times\Delta[\star]
\end{aligned}
</span> and this admits a right adjoint, which we call
<em>totalisation</em> <span class="math display">
\begin{aligned}
\operatorname{Tot}
\colon\mathsf{csSet}
&\to\mathsf{sSet}
\\Y_\bullet^\star
&\mapsto
\underline{\operatorname{Hom}}_\mathsf{csSet}(\Delta[\star],Y_\bullet^\star)
\end{aligned}
</span> where we make use of the fact that <span
class="math inline">\mathsf{csSet}</span> is enriched over <span
class="math inline">\mathsf{sSet}</span> via <span class="math display">
\left(\underline{\operatorname{Hom}}_\mathsf{csSet}(A_\bullet^\star,B_\bullet^\star)\right)_p
=
\operatorname{Hom}_\mathsf{csSet}(A_\bullet^\star\times\Delta[p],B_\bullet^\star).
</span></p>
<p>The particularly useful fact about totalisation is the following:</p>
<blockquote>
<p><em>If <span
class="math inline">Y_\bullet^\star\in\mathsf{csSet}</span> is Reedy
fibrant, then its totalisation and its homotopy limit are naturally
weakly equivalent.</em></p>
</blockquote>
<p>There are lots of ways of thinking about totalisation, but there’s a
very nice one that comes in useful for explicit calculations, namely
that <em>a point in the totalisation <span
class="math inline">\operatorname{Tot}Y_\bullet^\star</span> consists of
<span class="math inline">(y^0,y^1,\ldots)</span> with <span
class="math inline">y^p\in Y_p^p</span> such that “they all glue
together”</em>. Of course, the end of this sentence is very vague, and I
don’t really want to type out everything from the paper again, but I’ll
include a nice picture here that sort of describes the idea.</p>
<figure>
<img src="totalisation-point.png"
alt="A point in the totalisation of a cosimplicial simplicial set." />
<figcaption aria-hidden="true">A point in the totalisation of a
cosimplicial simplicial set.</figcaption>
</figure>
<p>Trying to understand higher simplices in the totalisation is a bit of
a mess, but it turns out that there is a really nice combinatorial
approach involving paths of <span class="math inline">1</span>-simplices
in products <span class="math inline">\Delta[p]\times\Delta[q]</span>
(see Appendix B.2 in “Chern character for infinity vector bundles”, by
Glass, Miller, Tradler, and Zeinalian (arXiv:<a
href="https://arxiv.org/abs/2211.02549">2211.02549</a>)). In the paper
by me and Mahmoud, we calculate some <span
class="math inline">1</span>-simplices explicitly, showing that they
recover pre-existing notions of weak equivalences between objects that
some people really care about. Below is a nice picture from one of the
proofs without any further explanation.</p>
<figure>
<img src="product-of-simplices.png"
alt="The canonical simplicial structure of a product of simplices." />
<figcaption aria-hidden="true">The canonical simplicial structure of a
product of simplices.</figcaption>
</figure>
<h1 id="the-čech-totalisation-functor">The Čech totalisation
functor</h1>
<p>The story in the previous section is a retelling of what Mahmoud
explained to me almost three years ago now, and this kickstarted the
project that became the paper now on the arXiv. In “Chern character for
infinity vector bundles”, by Glass, Miller, Tradler, and Zeinalian
(arXiv:<a href="https://arxiv.org/abs/2211.02549">2211.02549</a>), the
same two-step fundamental construction turns up:</p>
<ol type="1">
<li>apply the Čech nerve to a simplicial presheaf;</li>
<li>totalise the resulting cosimplicial simplicial presheaf.</li>
</ol>
<p>This combination is what we call <em>Čech totalisation</em>, and it
can be understood as a sort of partial sheafification. Indeed, if
applied to a presheaf of mere sets, then it recovers the usual process
sheafification given by taking sections of the espace étalé (though I
must admit that this is not actually explicitly worked out anywhere in
writing). There are actually some more general results about when this
Čech totalisation does actually compute the sheafification, and you can
find these in §5.1 of the Glass, Miller, Tradler, Zeinalian paper
mentioned above. But it turns out to be an interesting construction even
without thinking about sheafification.</p>
<p>Let’s start with a proper definition.</p>
<div class="rmenv" title="Definition">
<p>Let <span
class="math inline">\mathcal{F}\colon\mathsf{Space}^\mathrm{op}\to\mathsf{sSet}</span>
be a simplicial presheaf on the category of spaces, and let <span
class="math inline">X\in\mathsf{Space}</span> be a space with cover
<span class="math inline">\mathcal{U}</span>. We define the <em>Čech
totalisation of <span class="math inline">\mathcal{F}</span> at <span
class="math inline">\mathcal{U}</span></em> to be the simplicial set
given by <span
class="math inline">\operatorname{Tot}\mathcal{F}(\check{\mathcal{N}}\mathcal{U}_\bullet)</span>,
i.e. the totalisation of the cosimplicial simplicial set given by
evaluating <span class="math inline">\mathcal{F}</span> on the Čech
nerve of <span class="math inline">\mathcal{U}</span>.</p>
</div>
<p>Here are some things that we show in our paper, <em>under the
assumption that we have presheaves of Kan complexes</em> (i.e. “globally
fibrant” simplicial presheaves).</p>
<ol type="1">
<li>The Čech totalisation of <span
class="math inline">\mathcal{F}</span> is a Kan complex.</li>
<li>If <span class="math inline">\mathcal{F}</span> and <span
class="math inline">\mathcal{G}</span> are weakly equivalent to one
another, then their Čech totalisations are weakly equivalent to one
another.</li>
<li>The Čech totalisation computes the homotopy limit (this is due to
the fact that evaluating on the Čech nerve gives a Reedy fibrant
cosimplicial simplicial set).</li>
</ol>
<p>These facts turn out to be useful for our intended applications
(maybe I haven’t made this very clear, but Čech totalisation is only
really a tool in our paper, used to study a rather different problem!)
but we can also use them to compare to the existing results in the
literature concerning homotopy limits of presheaves of dg-categories. In
“Explicit homotopy limits of dg-categories and twisted complexes”, by
Block, Holstein, and Wei (arXiv:<a
href="https://arxiv.org/abs/1511.08659">1511.08659</a>), it is explained
how to calculate homotopy limits of presheaves of dg-categories by using
the fact that totalisations of Reedy fibrant objects are weakly
equivalent to their homotopy limits. The nice (but expected) result that
we show is that one can switch from presheaves of dg-categories to
simplicial presheaves by taking the dg-nerve (followed by the maximal
Kan complex) without changing the resulting object. More precisely:</p>
<div class="itenv" title="Theorem">
<p>Let <span
class="math inline">\mathcal{F}\colon\mathsf{Space}^\mathrm{op}\to\mathsf{dgCat}</span>
be a presheaf on the category of spaces that sends finite products to
coproducts, and let <span class="math inline">X\in\mathsf{Space}</span>
be a space with cover <span class="math inline">\mathcal{U}</span>. Then
there is a weak equivalence of Kan complexes <span class="math display">
\operatorname{Tot}\langle\mathcal{N}^\mathrm{dg}\mathcal{F}(\check{\mathcal{N}}\mathcal{U})\rangle
\simeq
\langle\mathcal{N}^\mathrm{dg}\big(\operatorname{Tot}\mathcal{F}(\check{\mathcal{N}}\mathcal{U}\big))\rangle
</span> where we write <span class="math inline">\langle-\rangle</span>
to denote the maximal Kan complex, and on the left-hand side we are
taking the totalisation of cosimplicial simplicial sets, and on the
right-hand side we are taking the totalisation of cosimplicial
dg-categories.</p>
</div>
<h1 id="applications">Applications</h1>
<p>So what do Mahmoud and I actually use Čech totalisation for in our
paper? Well, if you actually want to know the answer to that, then I
recommend just having a look at either the introduction or the section
named “Narrative” in the actual paper itself, since these are written
with minimal technical details. However, here’s a very quick version of
the story (and each sentence is justified with real details somewhere in
the paper, I promise).</p>
<blockquote>
<p>Locally free sheaves (read: “vector bundles”) on ringed spaces (read:
“schemes”, “manifolds”, or whatever geometric thing you like) are very
interesting, but they’re very homotopically rigid. In fact, when we look
at complex-analytic (i.e. holomorphic) manifolds, they become too rigid,
and we can’t always break down problems about coherent sheaves (the
things that geometers often really care about) into problems about
locally free ones. There is a solution to this: the <strong>twisting
cochains</strong> of Toledo and Tong, which are like homotopy-coherent
locally free sheaves, and are very related to the dg-nerve. There is
another solution though: the <strong>Green complexes</strong> of Green
(a student of O’Brian, a co-author of Toledo and Tong), which are very
related to simplicial objects. These two things share a common
generalisation, namely <strong>simplicial twisting
cochains</strong>.</p>
<p>What is the relationship between these three things? Is there some
sort of Dold–Kan correspondence? Can we place them all in a unified
framework, and use the tools of homotopy theory to talk about them? What
does this tell us about the geometry of complex-analytic manifolds? What
does this tell us about geometry more generally? And do we learn
anything about presheaves of dg-categories along the way?</p>
</blockquote>
<p>As always, I’d love to talk about this stuff with anybody interested
— please do reach out if you like!</p>
tag:thosgood.com,2023-07-04:/blog/2023/07/30/translations-part-4/Translations2023-07-04T00:00:00Z2023-07-04T00:00:00Z<p>Hopefully one of my co-authors and I will be uploading a long-awaited
preprint on dg-categories, twisting cochains, and homotopy limits to the
arXiv “soon”. Until then, here are the small handful of translations
that I’ve finished in the year since I last wrote</p>
<!-- more -->
<p>Unintentionally, all three translations here are Grothendieck
related. Let’s start with the smallest one first: Grothendieck’s famous
letter to Thomason on derivators, which makes for some interesting
“light” reading.</p>
<ul>
<li>A Grothendieck, “Lettre d’Alexander Grothendieck sur les
Dérivateurs, 02.04.91”. Edited by Matthias Künzer. <a
href="https://labs.thosgood.com/translations/grothendieck-thomason-91-04-02.html">HTML</a></li>
</ul>
<p>Next, I <em>finally</em> finished EGA II. I have yet to proofread it,
so it probably still has an awful amount of typos and possible errors
(if you spot any the please do let me know, either by email or
(preferably) by <a
href="https://github.com/ryankeleti/ega/issues">submitting an issue on
the repo</a>). Note that the web version is down at the moment due to
some technical issues that neither Ryan nor I have had the time to fix,
but you can still view and download the <a
href="https://github.com/ryankeleti/ega#pdfs">PDF versions</a>.</p>
<p>Lastly, I’ve been slowly working away at FGA, since it’s not
inconceivable that I actually manage to finish this one off sometime by
early 2024 (famous last words, I’m sure). I haven’t done much more, but
have finished seminar IV (“Hilbert schemes”).</p>
<ul>
<li>Grothendieck, A. “Technique de descente et théorèmes d’existence en
géométrie algébrique, IV”. <em>Séminaire Bourbaki</em>
<strong>12</strong> and <strong>13</strong> (1959/60 and 1960/61), Talks
no. 190, 195, and 212. <a href="https://thosgood.com/fga">HTML</a></li>
</ul>
<p>When I finish off the last two seminars (V and VI, both on Picard
schemes), I will go back and fix all the little issues (weird
bibliographies, no links to original scans, no PDF versions, etc. etc.)
but I’m saving that as a nice little “treat” when all the typing is
done.</p>
<p>Hope you’re all having a lovely summer.</p>
tag:thosgood.com,2022-12-03:/blog/2022/12/03/virtual-double-categories-workshop/Virtual Double Categories Workshop2022-12-03T00:00:00Z2022-12-03T00:00:00Z<p>I now realise two things: firstly, I haven’t posted anything in
really quite a while; secondly, I should have written this specific blog
post a week ago. Over the past five days, <a
href="https://bryceclarke.github.io">Bryce Clarke</a> and I have been
running the Virtual Double Categories Workshop (a “fun” pun, since the
workshop was entirely online, and there is a notion of a double category
called “virtual”). The speakers were incredible, both in terms of the
talks they gave, in their attitude and enthusiasm for the workshop, and
in the variety of their interests. You can find abstracts, slides, and
recordings of the talks on <a
href="https://bryceclarke.github.io/virtual-double-categories-workshop/">the
workshop webpage</a>, but if you want to hear a bit more about my
personal interest in double categories and how this workshop came about,
then read on.</p>
<!-- more -->
<p>Back in 2019 I wrote <a
href="https://thosgood.com/blog/2019/07/15/more-than-one-less-than-three/">a
very cursory post</a> about 2-categories and double categories because
I’d heard so much about them at CT2019, and I figured I should start
learning something about them. Originally I found them interesting just
for their own sake: I think I’ve always found definitions particularly
interesting in mathematics, and seeing a new structure that’s meant to
generalise or build upon something you already know is pretty
fascinating to me. But then thesis writing reared its head and I went
back to the maths I was focusing on, which didn’t seem to have much
relevance to 2-categorical stuff.</p>
<p>Anyway, fast forward a bunch of years to this summer, when I was in
Glasgow for ACT2022, talking about <a
href="https://doi.org/10.3934/mine.2023036">some joint work</a>
(summarised in two blog posts, <a
href="https://topos.site/blog/2022/04/diagrammatic-equations-and-multiphysics-part-1/">here</a>
and <a
href="https://topos.site/blog/2022/04/diagrammatic-equations-and-multiphysics-part-2/">here</a>)
with Evan Patterson, Andrew Baas, and James Fairbanks on a
category-theoretic approach to (P)DEs using the language of diagram
categories, and suddenly double categories seemed to turn up again.
Firstly, Evan and I had been discussing a “higher” version of initial
functors, which appealed to some inherent 2-categorical structure found
in diagram categories, and which might resolve some of the more
conceptually unsatisfying things we had come across in the theoretical
aspect of this diagrammatic differential equations work. Secondly, it
looked like moving up to double categories would be necessary if we
wanted to extend the work to talk about multi-domain/mixed-dimensional
problems. Thirdly, and somewhat unrelatedly, I saw Bryce again, having
first spoken to him (very briefly) all the way back in CT2019.</p>
<p>It would be exceedingly generous to describe my understanding of
lenses as even “passable”, and yet I can quite honestly say that some of
my favourite maths talks I’ve seen over the past few years have been
Bryce’s on <a href="https://arxiv.org/abs/2009.06835">his work on
internal lenses</a> and, more recently, on their links to <a
href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyBz2uS7Ark">algebraic weak
factorisation systems</a>. Bryce has always been very welcoming with the
questions I’ve asked him after his talks, which have usually been
basically the same: “why does this remind me so much of the story of
derived categories and localisation?” (something I’ve written about a
few times before — most recently <a
href="https://topos.site/blog/2021/11/left-adjoints-lenses-and-localisation/">here</a>).
Anyway, we got to talking over lunch one day, and he mentioned that he
was thinking of organising an online workshop on double categories, and
wanted to know a bit about how I’ve helped to run some online seminars
in the past. Knowing that I would attend such a workshop anyway, I
offered to help with the technical aspects, and then a few months later
he emailed me a list of speakers he thought would be good to invite, and
things started to fall into place. Organising an online event is, in
many many ways, much simpler than an in-person one — no room bookings,
catering, accommodation, etc. — and yet it’s somehow a bit stressful in
an entirely different way (<em>will people turn up?</em> <em>what if my
internet cuts out?</em> <em>what if a speaker’s internet cuts out?</em>
<em>what time zone is best to do each talk in?</em>). But last week
things ran pretty much as smoothly as possible, and it seemed like
everybody involved got something out of the workshop. Once again, I’d
really like to thank all of the speakers — I wish I had the time and
energy to write about all of the talks individually, but let me just
mention a few that were particularly relevant to the thing I’ve been
thinking about recently. I’d also like to thank Bryce, for having the
idea in the first place, and then for letting me get involved.</p>
<p>Before I go any further, I really do recommend that you look at the
abstracts on <a
href="https://bryceclarke.github.io/virtual-double-categories-workshop/">the
workshop webpage</a> yourself, because the variety of topics, given that
all speakers were asked to talk about double categories, is really quite
astonishing: formal category theory, size issues, cybernetics, higher
homotopy theory, coloured symmetric sequences, monoidal things,
rewriting theory, and operads, to name but a few.</p>
<p>Lyne Moser gave <a
href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBngz7WXaJw">a talk on
representation theorems for enriched categories</a>, investigating the
question of when universal properties could be stated in terms of
existence of representable objects. This is something which works
perfectly fine in the 1-categorical setting (a limit exists if and only
if a certain functor is representable if and only if a certain terminal
object exists), but becomes difficult the moment you move up to
2-categories. The thing that really stood out to me though was an
explanation of how 2-categories relate to double categories, given by
answering the even bigger, more general question that I had been
wondering about: how do enriched categories relate to internal
categories? To say that a category is <span
class="math inline">\mathcal{V}</span>-enriched means that its hom-sets
are actually objects of <span class="math inline">\mathcal{V}</span>,
but to say that it is internal to <span
class="math inline">\mathcal{V}</span> <em>also</em> means (in
particular) that its hom-sets are actually objects of <span
class="math inline">\mathcal{V}</span>. It turns out that <span
class="math inline">\mathcal{V}</span>-enriched categories sit fully
faithfully inside categories internal to <span
class="math inline">\mathcal{V}</span>, and the inclusion has a right
adjoint. Lyne explained how this could be used to give an alternative
proof of these representation theorems.</p>
<p>John Bourke <a
href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zz8NXrDzac4">spoke about different
flavours of factorisation systems via double categories</a>, and this
reminded me of the left-adjoint/lenses/localisation story that I
mentioned always asking Bryce about. I had wondered if there was
something interesting to be gained from looking at a double category
whose arrows in one direction were fibrations, and in the other
direction were cofibrations, but John showed that one “should” instead
look at <em>two</em> double categories: both with arbitrary arrows in
one direction, and then arrows from the left (resp. right) part of the
factorisation system in the other direction. Using this, he explained
how to axiomatise various types of factorisation systems in the language
of double categories. A particularly interesting question/suggestion was
raised by somebody (whose name escapes me, I’m sorry) <a
href="https://youtu.be/Zz8NXrDzac4?t=3300">after the talk</a>: maybe it
would be worth looking at the <em>triple</em> category which has
arbitrary morphisms in one direction, and then the left and right parts
of the factorisation system in the other two directions. Something that
I’ve been thinking about ever since that conversation is how, if you
take two squares <span class="math display">
\begin{CD}
X @>{f}>> X'
\\@V{i}VV @VV{i'}V
\\Y @>>> Y'
\end{CD}
\qquad\qquad
\begin{CD}
X @>{f}>> X'
\\@V{p}VV @VV{p'}V
\\Z @>>> Z'
\end{CD}
</span> where <span class="math inline">f</span> is arbitrary, <span
class="math inline">i</span> and <span class="math inline">i'</span>
are in the left part of the factorisation system, and <span
class="math inline">p</span> and <span class="math inline">p'</span>
in the right part, then you can think about “gluing them together along
<span class="math inline">f</span>” to get the diagram <span
class="math display">
\begin{CD}
Y @>>> Y'
\\@A{i}AA @AA{i'}A
\\X @>>> X'
\\@V{p}VV @VV{p'}V
\\Z @>>> Z'
\end{CD}
</span> which looks exactly like a 2-morphism of spans, or a cell in
<span class="math inline">\mathbb{S}\mathrm{pan}_{\mathrm{LR}}</span>
(where spans have their left leg in the left part of the factorisation
system, and their right leg in the right part). In the case where you
don’t quite have a factorisation system, but something “close”, this
category of spans turns up in geometry: a colleague (and friend) here at
Stockholm recently wrote a paper (<a
href="https://arxiv.org/abs/2204.08968">“A descent principle for compact
support extensions of functors”</a>) about how such spans can be used to
describe when arbitrary cohomology theories have compactly supported
versions. I’d love to better understand what is actually going on here,
even without talking about factorisation systems: if we glue together
two double categories, we get some double category of spans; can we
formalise this, and does it tell us something?</p>
<p>One last talk I’d like to mention is Matteo Capucci’s <a
href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtgfyjFIHBQ">talk on categorical
systems theory and categorical cybernetics</a>, where he mentioned the
specific example of lenses and how they form a double category.
Something that’s already “well known” (see e.g. Example 3.8 in <a
href="https://arxiv.org/abs/1908.02202">“Generalized Lens Categories via
functors <span
class="math inline">\mathcal{C}^\mathrm{op}\to\mathsf{Cat}</span>”</a>)
is how the Grothendieck construction/category of elements/generalised
lens construction (depending on your preferred nomenclature) can give
you the category of ringed spaces: objects are pairs <span
class="math inline">(X,\mathcal{O}_X)</span>, with <span
class="math inline">X</span> a space and <span
class="math inline">\mathcal{O}_X</span> a sheaf of rings on <span
class="math inline">X</span>; morphisms <span
class="math inline">(X,\mathcal{O}_X)\to(Y,\mathcal{O}_Y)</span> are
pairs <span class="math inline">(f_0,f^\sharp)</span>, with <span
class="math inline">f_0\colon X\to Y</span> and <span
class="math inline">f^\sharp\colon
f_0^*\mathcal{O}_Y\to\mathcal{O}_X</span>. But sometimes we want to
consider the category of sheaves on spaces as having different morphisms
— if the space is the same, then we want the map of sheaves to go in the
“forwards” direction: <span
class="math inline">\varphi\colon(X,\mathcal{O}_X)\to(X,\mathcal{O}'_X)</span>
should be a morphism of sheaves <span
class="math inline">\varphi\colon\mathcal{O}_X\to\mathcal{O}'_X</span>.
These two notions of morphisms of pairs consisting of a space and a
sheaf on the space (one where we think of the pair as a ringed space,
and the other where we think of the pair as an element of <span
class="math inline">\mathsf{Sh}(X)</span> for some fixed <span
class="math inline">X</span>) seem to be exactly the two notions that
Matteo described. It seems like an interesting question for algebraic
geometers: is this double category of “sheaves on spaces” useful? At the
very least, it seems to be a nice and tidy way of expressing the two
flavours of sheaf morphism geometers usually care about!</p>
<p>Finally, I would like to thank Andrée Ehresmann, who surprised us at
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zB_ifewP8Yk">the end of David
Jaz Myers’ talk</a> with a few words, telling us a little bit about the
history of double categories (since it was indeed her late husband who
first wrote down a definition). This was a lovely touch to the end of
the workshop.</p>
<p>There are so many other things I would like to write about from all
the other talks, but I’m rather tired from the week of late nights, and
I still haven’t gotten back into the swing of blogging, so I’m going to
leave it here for now. As always, I’d love to hear from any of you if
you have any thoughts — I’m not on Twitter any longer (and I never got
around to fixing comments on this blog), but you can always drop me an
email, or I’m now semi-active (but rarely) <a
href="https://mathstodon.xyz/@thosgood">on Mathstodon</a>.</p>
tag:thosgood.com,2022-05-30:/blog/2022/05/30/various-notions-of-cosimplicial-presheaves/Various notions of (co)simplicial (pre)sheaves2022-05-30T00:00:00Z2022-05-30T00:00:00Z<p>For the first time, I have released into the wild a preprint of which
I am the sole author, and had no real supervision. This is a scary
moment indeed — how do I know that I haven’t written complete made-up
nonsense? It’s true that I talked with a couple of close colleagues
about the results, and they nodded in vague agreement, but the
responsibility of checking the actual formal details is all on me. Even
worse, I wanted to include some results about something that I don’t
really have any formal experience with. Anyway, I hope the resulting
paper is at least mildly “good” (whatever that might mean). It’s called
“Various notions of (co)simplicial (pre)sheaves”, and is now on the
arXiv: <a href="https://arxiv.org/abs/2205.15185">2205.15185</a>.</p>
<!-- more -->
<h1 id="where-this-paper-came-from">Where this paper came from</h1>
<p>Ever since my PhD thesis, I’ve been thinking on-and-off about these
things called “sheaves on the Čech nerve”, which were introduced by
Green<a href="#fn1" class="footnote-ref" id="fnref1"
role="doc-noteref"><sup>1</sup></a>, and then later in a different way
by Toledo and Tong<a href="#fn2" class="footnote-ref" id="fnref2"
role="doc-noteref"><sup>2</sup></a>, in order to do some nice
homotopical construction in complex geometry. The vague idea is that a
sheaf <span class="math inline">\mathcal{F}</span> on a space <span
class="math inline">X</span> can be split up into finer parts, with an
individual sheaf <span class="math inline">\mathcal{F}^p</span> for each
simplicial level of the Čech nerve of (a cover of) <span
class="math inline">X</span>, i.e. instead of just describing what <span
class="math inline">\mathcal{F}</span> looks like on all of <span
class="math inline">X</span>, we describe what it looks like on all the
open sets in a cover of <span class="math inline">X</span> (this is
<span class="math inline">\mathcal{F}^0</span>), and then what it looks
like on each pairwise intersection <span class="math inline">U\cap
V</span> of open sets from the cover (this is <span
class="math inline">\mathcal{F}^1</span>), and then what it looks like
on each triple-wise intersection <span class="math inline">U\cap V\cap
W</span> of open sets from the cover (this is <span
class="math inline">\mathcal{F}^2</span>), and… and so on. One reason
for wanting to do this is that sometimes we want to endow our sheaf
<span class="math inline">\mathcal{F}</span> with some extra structure
or data (such as a <a
href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connection_(vector_bundle)#Formal_definition"><em>Koszul
connection</em></a>, in the case of Green/Toledo–Tong) that might not
exist globally (as is indeed the case for holomorphic connections),
<em>but</em> that exists <em>locally</em> — decomposing our sheaf <span
class="math inline">\mathcal{F}</span> into different simplicial levels
over the Čech nerve lets us do exactly this!</p>
<p>Anyway, what always annoyed me about this story (however petty this
might be) was the terminology: a bunch of sheaves <span
class="math inline">(\mathcal{F}^p)_{p\in\mathbb{N}}</span> living over
a simplicial space <span
class="math inline">(X_p)_{p\in\mathbb{N}}</span> were called
<em>simplicial sheaves</em>, but they’re <em>not</em> simplicial objects
in the category of sheaves on <span class="math inline">X</span>, and,
even worse, they don’t actually really even look very simplicial (the
morphisms all end up going the wrong way, making them look
<em>co</em>simplicial). So is there any relation between these things
(which I gave the uninventive but fairly descriptive name of <em>sheaves
on a simplicial space</em>) and actual simplicial sheaves? Since the
only reference that I know of which actually talks about these sheaves
on simplicial spaces is Green’s aforementioned thesis (and Toledo–Tong’s
aforementioned summary of it), I couldn’t find if anybody else actually
even cared about these objects, let alone cared enough to figure out if
they also deserved the name of “simplicial sheaves”.</p>
<h1 id="an-unexpected-application">An unexpected application</h1>
<p>When I finally got the motivation to sit down and write things down,
I realised that there was also another pretty large gap in what I knew
about these things: the second thing you normally learn about after
learning about sheaves is <em>sections</em> of a sheaf. So what is a
section of a sheaf on a simplicial space? In one of life’s little
coincidences, when I started thinking about this specific question
seriously, I was working in an office three floors above Vincent
Wang-Maścianica, who patiently helped me to understand the basics of
string diagrams as well as some other stuff that he was working on. The
reason this is a coincidence is because, one afternoon (to mildly
dramatise the story) he saw a diagram on my board and said “oh, I didn’t
realise you were studying X”, to which I replied, “I’m not, I’m thinking
about sections of sheaves on simplicial spaces”, to which we both
replied “oh… interesting”.</p>
<p>The upshot of the ensuing conversations with Vincent left me
reasonably convinced that I could find an application for sheaves on
simplicial spaces outside their one appearance in complex geometry: they
could be used to describe “stuff, stuff relating that stuff, and the
order in which those relations should evolve”. To give a more concrete
example of this, consider the following scenario: we have some objects
<span class="math inline">x_1,\ldots,x_n</span> in a category that has a
nice notion of tensor product (e.g. a symmetric monoidal category), and
we want to understand what endomorphisms of <span
class="math inline">x_1\otimes x_2\otimes \ldots\otimes x_n</span> look
like. One way of getting such endomorphisms is to build them up from
smaller endomorphisms! For example, say we have objects <span
class="math inline">A</span>, <span class="math inline">B</span>, <span
class="math inline">C</span>, and <span class="math inline">D</span>,
and an endomorphism <span
class="math inline">f\in\operatorname{End}(A\otimes B)</span> and
another endomorphism <span
class="math inline">g\in\operatorname{End}(B\otimes C\otimes D)</span>.
Then we can get an endomorphism on <span class="math inline">A\otimes
B\otimes C\otimes D</span> by composing <span
class="math inline">f</span> and <span class="math inline">g</span>,
after extending them by identity morphisms: <span
class="math inline">(\mathrm{id}_A\otimes
g)\circ(f\otimes\mathrm{id}_C\otimes\mathrm{id}_D)</span>. But of course
we could have also composed these in the other order, doing <span
class="math inline">g</span> first and then <span
class="math inline">f</span>, or we could have even picked different
endomorphisms, or we could have had <em>more</em> endomorphisms on
tensor products of <em>different</em> subsets of our objects.</p>
<p>In the paper, I (timidly) make the argument that all of these choices
can be bundled up into one sheaf on a simplicial space, and then that a
single choice of all the data described above corresponds to a
<em>section</em> of this sheaf. There are some caveats in this
construction (for example, the method that I describe requires that we
fix the number and type of endomorphisms beforehand), but I think that
most of them could probably be done away with by somebody who actually
knows something about these very restrictive sorts of string diagrams
(e.g. if there are some “generating” shapes of these diagrams then you
could maybe consider building a simplicial space for each one and then
gluing them altogether with some limit-y process).</p>
<figure>
<img src="endomorphism-construction.png"
alt="String diagrams of a certain form correspond to sections of a specific sheaf on a simplicial space." />
<figcaption aria-hidden="true">String diagrams of a certain form
correspond to sections of a specific sheaf on a simplicial
space.</figcaption>
</figure>
<p>Really, the only reason that I actually include this construction at
all (beyond wanting to make people in another field aware of these
objects that I find so fascinating) is in the hope that somebody comes
along and makes it much better! I think it could be extended to describe
much more general string diagrams, with copies and deletes and whatnot,
but this is not something that I have the knowledge to do on my own.</p>
<p>This application is, I think, not particularly useful, and might just
be an example of “if all you have is a hammer, then everything looks
like a nail”, or even just a tautology (“of <em>course</em> sections of
a sheaf on a simplicial space describe such things — they’re just
objects in the totalisation of the cosimplicial simplicial mapping space
from a cofibrant replacement of a point, and the simplicial nature is
exactly describing the notion of linear order”, or something like this,
says some hypothetical expert), but “hey ho”, thought I, “why not just
write it down anyway — maybe somebody else will also like to think about
such things from this point of view”.</p>
<h1 id="whats-actually-in-the-paper">What’s actually in the paper</h1>
<p>The paper is mostly a survey, but contains some proofs of what I’m
calling “pre-folklore results” — results which I think would be folklore
if I’d ever actually heard anybody else care about them!</p>
<p>The first two sections (after the introduction) define three (or
really four) notions of “simplicial sheaf” and describes how they relate
to one another; the next section recalls a technical construction that
shows how to understand this story in the specific setting of (locally)
ringed spaces via a lovely construction<a href="#fn3"
class="footnote-ref" id="fnref3" role="doc-noteref"><sup>3</sup></a> of
lax homotopy limits of model categories by Bergner; the final section is
split into two, and contains a summary of the application of sheaves on
simplicial spaces to coherent sheaves in complex geometry, and then this
semi-conjectural construction relating sections of a sheaf on a
simplicial space to string diagrams describing endomorphisms generated
by endomorphisms.</p>
<p>If anybody does actually read this and have any comments,
corrections, criticisms, or complaints, then please do let me know — you
can leave a comment here, or email me, or tweet at me, or whatever you
like. Happy reading!</p>
<figure>
<img src="three-notions.png"
alt="The three main notions of simplicial sheaf." />
<figcaption aria-hidden="true">The three main notions of simplicial
sheaf.</figcaption>
</figure>
<aside id="footnotes" class="footnotes footnotes-end-of-document"
role="doc-endnotes">
<hr />
<ol>
<li id="fn1"><p>H.I. Green. “Chern classes for coherent sheaves”. PhD
Thesis. University of Warwick, (1980). <a
href="https://pugwash.lib.warwick.ac.uk/record=b1751746~S1">pugwash.lib.warwick.ac.uk/record=b1751746~S1</a><a
href="#fnref1" class="footnote-back" role="doc-backlink">↩︎</a></p></li>
<li id="fn2"><p>Domingo Toledo and Yue Lin L Tong. “Green’s theory of
Chern classes and the Riemann-Roch formula”. In: <em>The Lefschetz
Centennial Conference, Part 1</em>, Amer. Math. Soc. (1987). DOI:<a
href="https://doi.org/10.1090/conm/058.1/860421">10.1090/conm/058.1/860421</a><a
href="#fnref2" class="footnote-back" role="doc-backlink">↩︎</a></p></li>
<li id="fn3"><p>Julia E. Bergner. “Homotopy limits of model categories
and more general homotopy theories”. (2012). arXiv:<a
href="https://arxiv.org/abs/1010.0717v2">1010.0717v2</a><a
href="#fnref3" class="footnote-back" role="doc-backlink">↩︎</a></p></li>
</ol>
</aside>
tag:thosgood.com,2022-04-25:/blog/2022/04/25/some-research-questions-from-my-notesbooks/Some research questions from my notebooks2022-04-25T00:00:00Z2022-04-25T00:00:00Z<p>One thing that the past few years have taught me is that I am not
good at doing maths all by myself. In fact, I would go as far as to say
I am completely useless and unmotivated. I do much better when I have
co-authors to give me deadlines and friends to talk to, but, for obvious
reasons, the past two years have not been good for this. Not really the
ideal time for first postdocs, but alas, that’s life.</p>
<p>I recently found an old notebook with some vague questions and
research ideas in it, and then realised that I have had no motivation to
work on any of these alone, so why not put them out there for other
people to see?</p>
<!-- more -->
<p>A common fear amongst early-career mathematicians seems to be getting
scooped: having somebody solve the questions you were working on before
you do, maybe even by having read your work and using it as a launchpad.
This is very understandable, since we live in a horrible academic world
where publishing is everything, and trying to publish some results that
you’ve arrived at <em>after</em> somebody else, no matter how shortly or
how differently, suddenly becomes a <em>lot</em> harder, which makes
getting a job next year <em>much</em> more difficult, and… Because of
this, I’ve always been a bit cautious in writing what I’m working on.
But, in the context of my life, the world around me, and some other
things, I realise that these fears aren’t really very well founded for
me right now. There’s no point in me worrying about other people using
my ideas to solve problems before I do if <em>I’m not even working on
applying my ideas myself</em>. Not only that, it’s not like I’m sitting
on some goldmine of potential paths to solutions of big long-standing
open problems — I just have a few small ideas about small things, none
of them are particularly profound or ingenious (in fact, now that I read
back what I’ve written, I see that they’re basically all just “<em>what
if you did X, but with the Čech nerve instead?</em>”). If anything, I
shouldn’t be worried about people scooping my ideas, but the opposite:
trying to get anybody to listen at all!</p>
<p>So I figured I might as well just open up some of<a href="#fn1"
class="footnote-ref" id="fnref1" role="doc-noteref"><sup>1</sup></a> my
“research” in the hopes that one of you might see one of the questions I
have and think “oh, that’s interesting, I wonder if Tim would like to
talk about this sometime” (to which I would almost certainly (time and
obligations permitting) answer, “yes, that would be very lovely”).</p>
<h1 id="some-simplicial-things">Some simplicial things</h1>
<p><em>(These questions are about using the Čech nerve, and sometimes
the notion of (pre)sheaves on the Čech nerve — cf. e.g. Definition 2.2.1
in “<a href="https://arxiv.org/abs/2003.10023">Simplicial Chern-Weil
theory for coherent analytic sheaves, Part I</a>”.)</em></p>
<h2 id="barycentric-global-sections-always-exist">Barycentric global
sections always exist</h2>
<p>Take a presheaf <span class="math inline">\mathscr{F}</span> (of
<span class="math inline">\mathbb{R}</span>-modules, say) on some space
<span class="math inline">X</span>, and pick a bunch of local sections
<span class="math inline">\{s_i\in\Gamma(U_i,\mathscr{F})\}_{i\in
I}</span>, where <span class="math inline">\{U_i\}_{i\in I}</span> is an
open cover of <span class="math inline">X</span>. Since we only have a
presheaf, there’s no reason for these local sections to glue to give a
global section. <em>But</em> if we pull back our presheaf along the Čech
nerve then we can consider the “barycentric global section” <span
class="math inline">\sum_{j=0}^p t_j s_j</span> on any <span
class="math inline">U_{\alpha_0\ldots\alpha_p}</span>. This is like the
“uniform average” of all the sections: if we fibre integrate then we’d
get e.g. <span class="math inline">\frac1{p+1}\sum_{i=0}^p
s_{\alpha_j}</span> on each <span
class="math inline">U_{\alpha_0\ldots\alpha_p}</span>.</p>
<p>Is this ever useful at all, as a sort of “second best thing” for a
global section that you know doesn’t exist?</p>
<h2 id="čech-nerves-of-things">Čech nerves of things</h2>
<p>Consider some complex-analytic “thing” (i.e. manifold, space,
whatever) <span class="math inline">X</span> that is locally algebraic
(whatever that might mean). If we take the Čech nerve then is the
resulting simplicial “thing” an <em>algebraic</em> simplicial “thing”
<span class="math inline">\widetilde{X}</span>? In the case where <span
class="math inline">X</span> is <em>not</em> algebraic, can we measure
how far away it is from being so by looking at the simplicial “thing”
<span class="math inline">\widetilde{X}</span>?</p>
<p>A simpler, similar question: is the Čech nerve of an affine cover of
an (algebraic) scheme an “affine object” in the category of simplicial
schemes?</p>
<p><em>(This last question should be something already well known, but I
just don’t know the answer myself.)</em></p>
<h1 id="some-analytic-geometry">Some analytic geometry</h1>
<p><em>(These questions are about taking things that we know how to do
in the smooth or the algebraic world, and trying to do them in the
complex-analytic world.)</em></p>
<h2 id="chernweil-for-stacks">Chern–Weil for stacks</h2>
<p>One way of cheekily summarising some of the results from <a
href="https://tel.archives-ouvertes.fr/tel-02882140">my PhD thesis</a>
would be that “sheaves on the Čech nerve sometimes allow you to apply
smooth methods to complex-analytic things”, and the application of this
that I considered was Chern–Weil theory via the Atiyah exact sequence.
So is it possible to extend some results concerning Chern–Weil theory
via the Atiyah exact sequence on differentiable stacks to the
complex-analytic case?</p>
<p><em>(This question was prompted by seeing two papers on the arXiv by
Indranil Biswas, Saikat Chatterjee, Praphulla Koushik, and Frank
Neumann: <a
href="https://arxiv.org/abs/2012.08442"><code>2012.08442</code></a> and
<a
href="https://arxiv.org/abs/2012.08447"><code>2012.08447</code></a>.)</em></p>
<h2 id="holomorphic-deligne-cohomology">Holomorphic Deligne
cohomology</h2>
<p>This is one that I’ve been thinking about ever since the middle of my
PhD, and it was actually the original problem that I’d hoped to solve
(but that turned out to be much more difficult than we’d first thought).
Deligne cohomology in the <em>smooth</em> setting is really well
understood — for example, Urs Schreiber has written SO much about this
(and all very very lovely, albeit nearly entirely far over my head)
under the name of <em>differential cohomology</em>. But at some point
quite early on there is a partition of unity argument, which means that
it fails in the holomorphic case. Indeed, there are lots of little
worked examples you can do that show that Deligne cohomology in the
complex-analytic world really is quite different.</p>
<p>One “simple” concrete problem is the following: given a holomorphic
vector bundle (not even an arbitrary coherent analytic sheaf!), write
down <em>Čech representatives</em> for its Chern classes <em>in Deligne
cohomology</em>. Just the first part (Čech representatives) was done<a
href="#fn2" class="footnote-ref" id="fnref2"
role="doc-noteref"><sup>2</sup></a> in <a
href="http://wrap.warwick.ac.uk/40592/">Green’s 1980 PhD thesis</a>;
just the second part (holomorphic Deligne cohomology) was done in <a
href="http://jgrivaux.perso.math.cnrs.fr/articles/Chern.pdf">Grivaux’s
2009 thesis</a>. There is a (beautiful and very good) paper by Brylinski
and McLaughlin (“<a
href="https://projecteuclid.org/journals/communications-in-mathematical-physics/volume-178/issue-1/%C4%8Cech-cocycles-for-characteristic-classes/cmp/1104286562.pdf">Cech
Cocycles for Characteristic Classes</a>”) that seems to give an answer,
but only gives a proof in the smooth setting, and when I sat down (many
<em>many</em> times) and tried to work through it myself, the degrees in
the holomorphic setting seemed to be exactly the wrong ones that you
would get from trying to treat smooth Deligne cohomology like
holomorphic Deligne cohomology (i.e. bidegree <span
class="math inline">(2p,0)</span> instead of <span
class="math inline">(p,p)</span>, if I remember correctly). It is also
one of those answers where they say “ok, here are all the ingredients
you need, so just put them together”, but then don’t just write down the
explicit representatives (something that always frustrates me: if
putting the pieces together is hard, then say it’s hard; if it’s easy,
then why not just do it?!).</p>
<p>To reduce this problem down to the very simplest form: given a
rank-<span class="math inline">2</span> holomorphic vector bundle
defined by transition functions <span
class="math inline">g_{\alpha\beta}</span>, write down a Čech cocycle
<em>in terms of the <span
class="math inline">g_{\alpha\beta}</span></em> representing the second
Chern class in <em>Deligne cohomology</em>.</p>
<p><em>(For example, we know how to do this in de Rham cohomology: you
can take <span
class="math inline">\operatorname{tr}(\omega_{\alpha\beta}g_{\alpha\beta}\omega_{\beta\gamma}g_{\alpha\beta}^{-1})</span>
or, equivalently (via some algebraic manipulations), <span
class="math inline">\operatorname{tr}(\omega_{\alpha\beta}(\omega_{\alpha\gamma}-\omega_{\alpha\beta}))</span>,
where <span
class="math inline">\omega_{\alpha\beta}=\operatorname{d}\log
g_{\alpha\beta}=g_{\alpha\beta}^{-1}dg_{\alpha\beta}</span>, and you can
then extend this to give a closed element of the Čech-de Rham
bicomplex.)</em></p>
<h1 id="some-analytic-sheaves">Some analytic sheaves</h1>
<p><em>(More complex-analytic geometry, this time dealing with
holomorphic vector bundles and their generalisations.)</em></p>
<h2 id="complexes-of-coherent-sheaves">Complexes of coherent
sheaves</h2>
<p>If you’re dealing with sheaves in algebraic geometry, then you might
care about whether or not they’re coherent. Given that we like to think
of complexes of sheaves instead of just single sheaves (e.g. we like
working in the derived category), we are interested in the derived
category <span class="math inline">D^\mathrm{b}\mathsf{Coh}(X)</span> of
(bounded) complexes of coherent sheaves. But there’s another category
which arises quite often in practice, namely the category <span
class="math inline">D^\mathrm{b}_{\mathsf{Coh}}(\mathsf{Sh}(X))</span>
of complexes of sheaves that are not necessarily coherent, but whose
(internal, i.e. “kernel of the differential of the complex modulo the
image of the differential”) cohomology consists of coherent sheaves. The
latter sounds like it should be more general, but in nice algebraic
cases the two are actually equivalent! This follows from a result in SGA
6:</p>
<ul>
<li><strong>SGA 6, II, Corollaire 2.2.2.1.</strong> If <span
class="math inline">X</span> is a Noetherian scheme, then the canonical
fully faithful functor <span
class="math inline">D^\mathrm{b}(\mathsf{Coh}(X))\hookrightarrow
D(\mathsf{Sh}(X))</span> identifies the codomain with the full
subcategory <span
class="math inline">D^\mathrm{b}_{\mathsf{Coh}}(\mathsf{Sh}(X))</span>
of the domain.</li>
</ul>
<p>Now there’s another related result, which follows from applying the
above corollary to a specific case:</p>
<ul>
<li><strong>SGA 6, I, Exemples 5.11 (+ II, Corollaire 2.2.2.1).</strong>
If <span class="math inline">X</span> is a smooth scheme, then there is
a canonical equivalence of triangulated categories <span
class="math inline">\mathsf{Perf}(X)\xrightarrow{\sim}D^{\mathrm{b}}(\mathsf{Coh}(X))</span>.</li>
</ul>
<p>This says that, for <em>smooth</em> schemes, pseudo-coherence is
equivalent to perfectness (being <em>locally</em> resolved by locally
free sheaves).</p>
<p>Now, the analogue of this second statement is still true in the
analytic case: coherent analytic sheaves always have <em>local</em>
locally free resolutions. But the first statement is a corollary to
Proposition 2.2.2, which uses the fact that “every quasi-coherent module
is the filtrant colimit of its coherent submodules”, and this is
<em>not</em> true in the analytic case (in fact, this raises a question
I’ll talk about after this one).</p>
<p>So are these two categories, “complexes of coherent sheaves” and
“complexes of sheaves with coherent cohomology” equivalent in the
analytic setting? In the specific case where <span
class="math inline">X</span> is a smooth compact analytic
<em>surface</em>, yes! This is Corollary 5.2.2 of Bondal and Van den
Bergh’s “<a href="https://arxiv.org/abs/math/0204218">Generators and
representability of functors in commutative and noncommutative
geometry</a>”. But in higher dimensions, it is (as far as I can tell)
still an open question.</p>
<p>I don’t have any particular insight into this problem, except that I
think (yet again) that sheaves on the nerve might have something to say
about this. Furthermore, I haven’t read the details of Bondal and Van
den Bergh’s proofs, nor those in SGA 6, so probably the following is
obvious (or even tautological, actually), but it’s intriguing that these
hypotheses (<span class="math inline">X</span> is smooth, compact, and a
surface) are exactly those found in Schuster’s “<a
href="https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/crll.1982.337.159/html">Locally
free resolutions of coherent sheaves on surfaces</a>” which shows that,
under these hypothesis, coherent analytic sheaves can be
<em>globally</em> resolved by locally free sheaves (the <em>resolution
property</em>).</p>
<h2 id="the-resolution-property">The resolution property</h2>
<p>Whether or not coherent analytic sheaves can be <em>globally</em>
resolved by locally free sheaves (instead of just <em>locally</em>
resolved) is controlled by the so-called <em>resolution property</em>,
mentioned above. We say that something (e.g. a stack) <em>has the
resolution property</em> if every coherent sheaf admits a surjection
from a locally free sheaf — what happens if we change this to “… a
surjection from a locally free sheaf <em>on the nerve</em>”? This could
be useful for Riemann–Roch for Artin stacks: these have the resolution
property when they are quotients of quasi-projective schemes by
reductive groups, but not in general (and so this assumption appears in
Toën’s Riemann–Roch paper). It could also be useful for a formal GAGA
theorem, cf. Geraschenko and Zureick-Brown’s “<a
href="https://arxiv.org/abs/1208.2882">Formal GAGA for good moduli
spaces</a>”.</p>
<h2 id="analogies-between-algebraic-and-analytic-geometry">Analogies
between algebraic and analytic geometry</h2>
<p>Here I’m just going to refer you to a previous blog post of mine: “<a
href="https://thosgood.com/blog/2021/09/24/some-questions-about-analytic-geometry">Some
questions about complex-analytic geometry</a>”. The main one here is
“<em>how should we define the notion of quasi-coherence for an analytic
sheaf?</em>”, followed immediately by “<em>why did we pick this
definition, and not the others?</em>”. One possible answer is “read
Scholze and Clausen’s lecture notes on condensed mathematics, Conrad’s
paper on relative ampleness in rigid geometry, and Eschmeier and
Putinar’s book <em>Spectral Decompositions and Analytic Sheaves</em>,
and see if you can put all the pieces together”.</p>
<p>Just for the sake of it, here are some possible contenders for the
definition of quasi-coherence for an analytic sheaf <span
class="math inline">\mathscr{F}</span> of <span
class="math inline">\mathcal{O}_X</span>-modules:</p>
<ol type="1">
<li>being <em>of local presentation</em>, i.e. for all <span
class="math inline">x\in X</span> there exists an open <span
class="math inline">U\subseteq X</span> on which there is an exact
sequence <span class="math display">\mathcal{O}_X^{\oplus I}|U \to
\mathcal{O}_X^{\oplus J}|U \to \mathscr{F}|U \to 0</span></li>
<li>being the filtrant colimit of its coherent subsheaves</li>
<li>being <em>Fréchet quasi-coherent</em>, or, equivalently, admitting a
global “topologically free” resolution</li>
<li>something analogous to arising from the right Kan extension of
something like the pseudofunctor <span
class="math inline">\mathsf{CRing}\to\mathsf{Cat}</span> defined by
<span class="math inline">R\mapsto\mathsf{Mod}_R</span> (very vague, I
know).</li>
</ol>
<p>I know that there are <a
href="https://math.stackexchange.com/questions/2840594/gaga-and-quasicoherent-sheaf/2841087#2841087">examples
of 1. that do not satisfy 2.</a>, but I actually don’t know how the
other notions interact at all.</p>
<aside id="footnotes" class="footnotes footnotes-end-of-document"
role="doc-endnotes">
<hr />
<ol>
<li id="fn1"><p>Apart from one paper which I’m currently working on with
a co-author, because that’s not just my story to share. But this will
hopefully hit the arXiv… within a year? I dunno, I’ve been saying that
about this specific paper for the past two years, so we’ll see what
actually happens.<a href="#fnref1" class="footnote-back"
role="doc-backlink">↩︎</a></p></li>
<li id="fn2"><p>Well, the method was explained, but the actual
computations were basically left as an exercise to the reader — I was
one such reader, and I wrote them down in <em>my</em> PhD thesis.<a
href="#fnref2" class="footnote-back" role="doc-backlink">↩︎</a></p></li>
</ol>
</aside>
tag:thosgood.com,2022-04-08:/blog/2022/04/08/diagrammatic-equations-and-multiphysics/Diagrammatic equations and multiphysics2022-04-08T00:00:00Z2022-04-08T00:00:00Z<p>Just a very short post (you don’t even need to click “Continue
reading” if you’re looking at this on my blog archive) — I finally
managed to do some more maths (but only because I had some very hard
working and very good coauthors), and I’ve written about it on the Topos
blog as a two-part series: <a
href="https://topos.site/blog/2022/04/diagrammatic-equations-and-multiphysics-part-1/">Part
1</a> and <a
href="https://topos.site/blog/2022/04/diagrammatic-equations-and-multiphysics-part-2/">Part
2</a>.</p>
<p>I would love to write more, but after having written these I’m afraid
I’m all blogged out for the minute, so ciao for now!</p>
<!-- more -->
tag:thosgood.com,2022-02-11:/blog/2022/02/11/graded-commutative-and-graded-and-commutative/Graded commutative rings and graded and commutative rings2022-02-11T00:00:00Z2022-02-11T00:00:00Z<p>One of the many reasons that teaching is fun is because you get to
look back at things that you haven’t seen in a while and try to
understand them in light of what you’ve learnt in the meantime. This
means that you sometimes have the unexpected joy of having to teach
something that always used to confuse you, but that now seems so much
more straightforward! I experienced this last year when teaching an
algebraic topology course: I remember being super lost when it came to
the graded ring structure of cohomology and getting very annoyed at
Hatcher’s book; now I look back and realise that it’s really neat! This
post has a slightly different intended audience than normal: I’m just
gonna assume that you know a bit about rings in the first half; the
second half is aimed for somebody who’s a reasonable way through a first
course on algebraic topology (e.g. knows what the cup product in
cohomology is).</p>
<!-- more -->
<h1 id="graded-rings">Graded rings</h1>
<p>Our starting point is the omnipresent <em>polynomial ring</em>: given
a ring <span class="math inline">S</span>, we define <span
class="math inline">S[x]</span> to be the set of polynomials in one
variable (namely <span class="math inline">x</span>) with coefficients
in <span class="math inline">S</span>, so elements of <span
class="math inline">S[x]</span> are of the form <span
class="math display">
f = s_n x^n + s_{n-1} x^{n-1} + \ldots + s_1 x + s_0
</span> where the <span class="math inline">s_i</span> are elements of
<span class="math inline">R</span>. (More generally, we have the
<em>polynomial ring in <span class="math inline">n</span>
indeterminates</em>: <span
class="math inline">S[x_1,x_2,\ldots,x_n]</span>, which is entirely
analogous, but with more than one variable; this is important, but we
don’t need to worry about it too much for now).</p>
<p>These rings are <em>really</em> nice, in lots of ways that we won’t
talk about today, but one <em>particularly</em> nice thing that they
have is a <em>grading</em>, given by the <em>degree</em>. Recall that
the degree of a <em>monomial</em> is defined to be the “total power”,
i.e. <span class="math display">
\deg(x^n) = n
</span> (we say <em>total</em> power to deal with the case of multiple
variables, e.g. <span class="math inline">\deg(x^my^n)=m+n</span>). The
degree behaves nicely under multiplication <span class="math display">
\deg(x^m\cdot x^n) = m+n
</span> and we have a <em>unique</em> way of writing <em>any</em>
polynomial <span class="math inline">f\in S[x]</span> as a sum of
monomials, basically by definition of what it means to be a polynomial:
<span class="math display">
f = \sum_{i=0}^n r_i x^i.
</span></p>
<p>So let’s do what we always do and generalise this to an abstract
structure!</p>
<div class="rmenv" title="Definition">
<p>A ring <span class="math inline">R</span> is a <em>graded ring</em>
if there exist abelian groups <span
class="math inline">(R_d)_{d\in\mathbb{N}}</span>, where <span
class="math inline">R_d\subseteq R</span> for all <span
class="math inline">d\in\mathbb{N}</span>, such that</p>
<ol type="i">
<li><span class="math inline">R\cong\bigoplus_{d=0}^\infty
R_d</span>;</li>
<li><span class="math inline">R_d R_e\subseteq R_{d+e}</span>.</li>
</ol>
<p>Given <span class="math inline">r\in R\setminus\{0\}</span>, if there
exists some <span class="math inline">d\in\mathbb{N}</span> such that
<span class="math inline">r\in R_d</span>, then we say that <span
class="math inline">r</span> is <em>homogeneous of degree <span
class="math inline">d</span></em>, and we write <span
class="math inline">|r|=d</span>.</p>
</div>
<p>The prototypical example is the thing we started with: the polynomial
ring <span class="math inline">R=S[x]</span> is a graded ring with <span
class="math inline">R_d\coloneqq\{sx^d \mid s\in S\}</span>; the more
general polynomial ring <span
class="math inline">R=S[x_1,\ldots,x_n]</span> in <span
class="math inline">n</span> variables is a graded ring with <span
class="math inline">R_d\coloneqq\{s x_1^{m_1}x_2^{m_2}\cdots
x_n^{m_n}\mid s\in S, m_1+m_2+\ldots+m_n=d\}</span>.</p>
<h1 id="commutativity">Commutativity</h1>
<p>Now let’s talk about something confusing: what is a <em>graded
commutative ring</em>? Or should we say <em>commutative graded
ring</em>? Or should these two things be different?</p>
<p>Well, it makes sense that a graded commutative ring would just be a
commutative ring that is graded, i.e. we parse it as “graded
(commutative ring)”. Annoyingly, however, this is <em>not</em> the way
that most algebraists or geometers will parse this! If you want to talk
about commutative rings that are graded, then your best bet is really to
just say “a commutative ring that is graded”, but if you want to be
snappier, then I would advise that you say <em>commutative graded
ring</em>. Why am I making such a point out of this? What do people mean
when they actually say “graded commutative ring” then?</p>
<p>The answer lies in “bracketing” the adjectives in a different way,
namely: “(graded commutative) ring”. But this just prompts the question:
what does it mean for a ring to be “graded commutative”?</p>
<div class="rmenv" title="Definition">
<p>A ring <span class="math inline">R</span> is <em>graded
commutative</em> if <span class="math inline">R</span> is a
<em>graded</em> ring <span class="math inline">R=\bigoplus_{d=0}^\infty
R_d</span> such that <span class="math display">
rs = (-1)^{|r||s|}sr
</span> for all homogeneous elements <span class="math inline">r,s\in
R</span>.</p>
</div>
<p>So this is a slightly odd definition: graded commutativity is like
commutativity, but with a possible minus sign, depending on the degree
of the (homogeneous) elements.<a href="#fn1" class="footnote-ref"
id="fnref1" role="doc-noteref"><sup>1</sup></a> To understand this
better, let’s turn back to our good old friend <span
class="math inline">S[x]</span>. If <span class="math inline">S</span>
is commutative, then <span class="math inline">S[x]</span> is clearly
commutative, but is it graded commutative? Shockingly, no! Indeed, we
are asking if the following equality holds <span class="math display">
x^2 = x\cdot x \overset{?}{=} (-1)^{|x||x|} x\cdot x = -x^2.
</span> We see that this only happens in two cases:</p>
<ol type="1">
<li>if <span class="math inline">2=0</span>; or</li>
<li>if <span class="math inline">x^2=0</span>.</li>
</ol>
<p>The first one can happen (if <span class="math inline">S</span> is a
field of characteristic <span class="math inline">2</span>, for example,
e.g. <span class="math inline">\mathbb{Z}/2\mathbb{Z}</span>), but the
second one cannot, by the very definition of <span
class="math inline">S[x]</span>. <em>But</em> this second case does
happen in the <em>ring of dual numbers</em> <span
class="math inline">S[x]/(x^2)</span>.</p>
<p>Going back to the polynomial ring <span
class="math inline">S[x]</span>, we could also do something entirely
different and <em>define</em> <span class="math inline">x</span> to be
of <em>degree <span class="math inline">2</span></em>. That is, we are
giving <span class="math inline">S[x]</span> a <em>different</em> graded
ring structure: <span
class="math inline">S[x]\cong\bigoplus_{d=0}^\infty R_d</span> where
<span class="math display">
R_d =
\begin{cases}
\{sx^d \mid s\in S\} &\text{if }d\text{ is even;}
\\0 &\text{if }d\text{ is odd.}
\end{cases}
</span> (After a little bit of thought, you can see that this is “the
same as” simply looking at <span class="math inline">S[y^2]</span>,
where <span class="math inline">y</span> is an indeterminate of degree
<span class="math inline">1</span> again). Then we have that <span
class="math display">
(-1)^{|x||x|} x\cdot x = x^2
</span> and so this graded ring <em>is</em> graded commutative.</p>
<p>A nice little summary table would be helpful right about now (and,
just in this table, we’re going to make the assumption that
<strong><span class="math inline">S</span> is commutative</strong>).</p>
<table>
<thead>
<tr class="header">
<th style="text-align: center;">Graded ring</th>
<th style="text-align: center;">Commutative?</th>
<th style="text-align: center;">Graded commutative?</th>
</tr>
</thead>
<tbody>
<tr class="odd">
<td style="text-align: center;"><span
class="math inline">S[x]</span></td>
<td style="text-align: center;">✅</td>
<td style="text-align: center;">❌ (<strong>unless</strong> <span
class="math inline">2=0</span> in <span
class="math inline">S</span>)</td>
</tr>
<tr class="even">
<td style="text-align: center;"><span
class="math inline">S[x]/(x^2)</span></td>
<td style="text-align: center;">✅</td>
<td style="text-align: center;">✅</td>
</tr>
<tr class="odd">
<td style="text-align: center;"><span
class="math inline">S[x^2]</span></td>
<td style="text-align: center;">✅</td>
<td style="text-align: center;">✅</td>
</tr>
</tbody>
</table>
<p>Let’s look at one more example that we’re going to need when it comes
to doing some algebraic topology: the <em>exterior algebra</em> <span
class="math inline">\Lambda_S[\alpha_1,\ldots,\alpha_n]</span> of a ring
<span class="math inline">S</span> can be defined as the graded ring
<span class="math display">
\Lambda_S[\alpha_1,\ldots,\alpha_n] \coloneqq
S[\alpha_1,\ldots,\alpha_n]/(\alpha_i^2,\alpha_i\alpha_j+\alpha_j\alpha_i)_{1\leq
i,j\leq n}
</span> where each <span class="math inline">\alpha_i</span> is of
degree <span class="math inline">1</span> (although, again, we can
modify this if we want to). Note that <span
class="math inline">\Lambda_S[\alpha]\cong S[\alpha]/(\alpha^2)</span>,
i.e. <em>the exterior algebra of <span class="math inline">S</span> in
one variable is exactly the ring of dual numbers</em>.</p>
<p>The exterior algebra is commutative (if <span
class="math inline">S</span> is), but is it graded commutative? Well
it’s enough to check the condition on the generators <span
class="math inline">\alpha_i</span>, but we see that <span
class="math display">
\alpha_i\alpha_j
= -\alpha_j\alpha_i
= (-1)^{|\alpha_i||\alpha_j|}\alpha_j\alpha_i
</span> where the first equality is exactly by the definition of <span
class="math inline">\Lambda_S[\alpha_1,\ldots,\alpha_n]</span> (and note
that, if <span class="math inline">i=j</span>, then everything is zero,
and we definitely have that <span class="math inline">0=0</span>).</p>
<p>Back to our table:</p>
<table>
<thead>
<tr class="header">
<th style="text-align: center;">Graded ring</th>
<th style="text-align: center;">Commutative?</th>
<th style="text-align: center;">Graded commutative?</th>
</tr>
</thead>
<tbody>
<tr class="odd">
<td style="text-align: center;"><span
class="math inline">S[x]</span></td>
<td style="text-align: center;">✅</td>
<td style="text-align: center;">❌ (<strong>unless</strong> <span
class="math inline">2=0</span> in <span
class="math inline">S</span>)</td>
</tr>
<tr class="even">
<td style="text-align: center;"><span
class="math inline">S[x^2]</span></td>
<td style="text-align: center;">✅</td>
<td style="text-align: center;">✅</td>
</tr>
<tr class="odd">
<td style="text-align: center;"><span
class="math inline">\Lambda_S[\alpha_1,\ldots,\alpha_n]</span></td>
<td style="text-align: center;">❌ (unless <span
class="math inline">n=1</span>)</td>
<td style="text-align: center;">✅</td>
</tr>
</tbody>
</table>
<p>(we’ve removed the row for <span
class="math inline">S[x]/(x^2)</span>, since this is just a specific
example of the exterior algebra <span
class="math inline">\Lambda_S[\alpha_1,\ldots,\alpha_n]</span> where
<span class="math inline">n=1</span>.)</p>
<h1 id="freeness">Freeness</h1>
<p>Unrelated to the property of (graded) commutativity is that of being
<em>free</em>. For <em>commutative</em> rings, being free basically
means being isomorphic to a polynomial ring in finitely many variables.
So <span class="math inline">S[x]</span> is free (as a commutative
ring), as is <span class="math inline">S[x^2]</span>, but <span
class="math inline">S[x]/(x^2)</span> is <em>not</em> free (as a
commutative ring) — the latter has a nilpotent element (i.e. some <span
class="math inline">r</span> such that <span
class="math inline">r^2=0</span>, namely <span
class="math inline">r=x</span>) and free commutative rings never have
nilpotent elements, so it cannot be isomorphic to a free commutative
ring.<a href="#fn2" class="footnote-ref" id="fnref2"
role="doc-noteref"><sup>2</sup></a></p>
<p>But note that I’ve been very careful to say “free <em>as a
commutative ring</em>”, and this is important: <span
class="math inline">\Lambda_S[\alpha]</span> is <strong>not</strong> a
free <em>commutative ring</em>, but it <strong>is</strong> a free
<em>graded commutative ring</em>. What do I mean by this? I mean that,
if we just use the fact that <span
class="math inline">\Lambda_S[\alpha]</span> is a graded commutative
ring, <em>forgetting all about how it’s actually defined</em>, then we
can recover the fact that <span class="math inline">\alpha_i^2=0</span>
and <span class="math inline">\alpha_i\alpha_j=-\alpha_j\alpha_i</span>
<em>without having to ask for it</em> (…most of the time).</p>
<p>That is, if we know that <span
class="math inline">\Lambda_S[\alpha_1,\ldots,\alpha_n]</span> is graded
commutative, then we know that <span class="math display">
\alpha_i\cdot\alpha_i =
(-1)^{|\alpha_i||\alpha_i|}\alpha_i\cdot\alpha_i =
-\alpha_i\cdot\alpha_i
</span> which rearranges to give <span class="math display">
2\alpha_i^2=0.
</span> But then, if we can <em>divide by <span
class="math inline">2</span></em> (i.e. if <span
class="math inline">2</span> is an invertible element) in our ring <span
class="math inline">S</span>, then we see that <span
class="math inline">\alpha^2</span> <em>must be</em> equal to zero,
automatically! (The other relation that we need to impose, that <span
class="math inline">\alpha_i\alpha_j=-\alpha_j\alpha_i</span> is exactly
the definition of being graded commutative (since all our <span
class="math inline">\alpha_i</span> are of degree <span
class="math inline">1</span>), so we don’t even need to worry about
enforcing that one separately!)</p>
<p>Of course, I’m going to put this in the table (and I’ll write
“gc-ring” to mean “graded commutative ring”).</p>
<table>
<colgroup>
<col style="width: 18%" />
<col style="width: 19%" />
<col style="width: 31%" />
<col style="width: 31%" />
</colgroup>
<thead>
<tr class="header">
<th style="text-align: center;">Graded ring</th>
<th style="text-align: center;">Commutative?</th>
<th style="text-align: center;">Graded commutative?</th>
<th style="text-align: center;">Free (as a gc-ring)</th>
</tr>
</thead>
<tbody>
<tr class="odd">
<td style="text-align: center;"><span
class="math inline">S[x]</span></td>
<td style="text-align: center;">✅</td>
<td style="text-align: center;">❌ (<strong>unless</strong> <span
class="math inline">2=0</span> in <span
class="math inline">S</span>)</td>
<td style="text-align: center;">✅</td>
</tr>
<tr class="even">
<td style="text-align: center;"><span
class="math inline">S[x^d]</span></td>
<td style="text-align: center;">✅</td>
<td style="text-align: center;">❌ (<strong>unless</strong> <span
class="math inline">2</span> divides <span
class="math inline">d</span>)</td>
<td style="text-align: center;">✅</td>
</tr>
<tr class="odd">
<td style="text-align: center;"><span
class="math inline">\Lambda_S[\alpha_1,\ldots,\alpha_n]</span></td>
<td style="text-align: center;">❌ (unless <span
class="math inline">n=1</span>)</td>
<td style="text-align: center;">✅</td>
<td style="text-align: center;">❌ (<strong>unless</strong> <span
class="math inline">2</span> is invertible in <span
class="math inline">S</span>)</td>
</tr>
</tbody>
</table>
<p>By now you have probably noticed that all of the difficulties and
subtleties come from how the number <span class="math inline">2</span>
behaves (except for the exterior algebra only being commutative when in
one variable, but this isn’t a “graded” property, so we’ll ignore that
one), and this is a very common thing to happen.<a href="#fn3"
class="footnote-ref" id="fnref3" role="doc-noteref"><sup>3</sup></a></p>
<h1 id="circles-and-spheres">Circles and spheres</h1>
<p>Before diving into the applications, we just need one more abstract
remark about graded rings: the tensor product <span
class="math inline">R\otimes S</span> of two graded rings has a natural
graded ring structure by setting <span class="math display">
\deg(r\otimes s) \coloneqq \deg(r)+\deg(s)
</span> and defining the multiplication to have a sign that “makes
things work nicely”: <span class="math display">
(r\otimes s)(r'\otimes s') \coloneqq
(-1)^{|r'||s|}(rr')\otimes(ss')
</span> (note that the exponent uses the two “inner” terms, <span
class="math inline">r'</span> and <span
class="math inline">s</span>, <strong>not</strong> <span
class="math inline">r</span> and <span class="math inline">s</span>, nor
<span class="math inline">r'</span> and <span
class="math inline">s'</span> (nor <span
class="math inline">r</span> and <span
class="math inline">s'</span>, for that matter)).</p>
<p>What does this all have to do with algebraic topology? Hopefully
you’ve already seen the ring structure on cohomology (of a manifold),
given by the cup product. In fact, the cup product lets us assemble the
cohomology groups into a <em>commutative graded ring</em> (this is
indeed one justification for there being a minus sign in the definition
of the cup product: it ensures graded commutativity!).</p>
<p><em>In what follows, we say “space” to mean “CW complex that is nice
enough to satisfy whatever hypotheses the theorem in question might
need”.</em></p>
<p>Here’s a fun fact that we won’t prove:</p>
<div class="itenv" title="Lemma">
<p>Let <span class="math inline">X</span> and <span
class="math inline">Y</span> be spaces. If <span
class="math inline">Y</span> is such that <span
class="math inline">\operatorname{H}^\bullet(Y)</span> is <em>free</em>
(as a graded commutative ring) and <em>finitely generated</em>, then
<span class="math display">
\operatorname{H}^\bullet(X\times Y) \cong
\operatorname{H}^\bullet(X)\otimes\operatorname{H}^\bullet(Y)
</span> (where <span class="math inline">\cong</span> means “isomorphic
<em>as graded rings</em>”).</p>
</div>
<p>Using this, we can look at two examples.</p>
<div class="rmenv" title="Example 1">
<p>We know that <span class="math display">
\operatorname{H}^n(S^1) =
\begin{cases}
\mathbb{Z} &\text{if }n=0,1\text{;}
\\0 &\text{otherwise.}
\end{cases}
</span> If we denote by <span class="math inline">\alpha</span> the
generator of <span class="math inline">\operatorname{H}^1(S^1)</span>,
then <span class="math display">
\alpha^2 \coloneqq \alpha\smile\alpha
</span> is an element of <span
class="math inline">\operatorname{H}^2(S^1)</span>, but this group is
zero, and so it must be the case that <span
class="math inline">\alpha^2=0</span>. Thus <span class="math display">
\operatorname{H}^\bullet(S^1) \cong \mathbb{Z}\langle1\rangle \oplus
\mathbb{Z}\langle\alpha\rangle/(\alpha^2)
= \Lambda_{\mathbb{Z}}[\alpha]
</span> (where here the angled brackets mean “the abelian group
generated by these elements”).</p>
<p>But we know that <span
class="math inline">\Lambda_{\mathbb{Z}}[\alpha]</span> is free as a
graded commutative ring, and it has only one generator so it’s also
finitely generated; we can apply the Lemma above to get that <span
class="math display">
\operatorname{H}^\bullet(S^1\times S^1)
\cong
\operatorname{H}^\bullet(S^1)\otimes\operatorname{H}^\bullet(S^1)
</span> but this is exactly <span
class="math inline">\Lambda_{\mathbb{Z}}[\alpha_1,\alpha_2]</span>
(where <span class="math inline">\alpha_i</span> is the generator of the
first cohomology of the <span class="math inline">i</span>-th copy of
<span class="math inline">S^1</span>).</p>
<p>Finally, recall that <span
class="math inline">\Lambda_{\mathbb{Z}}[\alpha_1,\alpha_2]</span> is
graded commutative but <em>not</em> commutative (i.e. <span
class="math inline">\alpha_1\alpha_2=-\alpha_2\alpha_1</span>).</p>
</div>
<div class="rmenv" title="Example 2">
<p>We know that <span class="math display">
\operatorname{H}^n(S^2) =
\begin{cases}
\mathbb{Z} &\text{if }n=0,2\text{;}
\\0 &\text{otherwise.}
\end{cases}
</span> If we denote by <span class="math inline">\beta</span> the
generator of <span class="math inline">\operatorname{H}^2(S^2)</span>,
then <span class="math display">
\beta^2 \coloneqq \beta\smile\beta
</span> is an element of <span
class="math inline">\operatorname{H}^4(S^2)</span>, but this group is
zero, and so it must be the case that <span
class="math inline">\beta^2=0</span>. Thus <span class="math display">
\operatorname{H}^\bullet(S^2) \cong \mathbb{Z}\langle1\rangle \oplus
\mathbb{Z}\langle\beta\rangle/(\beta^2)
= \Lambda_{\mathbb{Z}}[\beta]
</span> where <em><span class="math inline">\beta</span> is of degree
<span class="math inline">2</span></em>.</p>
<p>As in the previous example, the Lemma gives us that <span
class="math display">
\operatorname{H}^\bullet(S^2\times S^2)
\cong
\operatorname{H}^\bullet(S^2)\otimes\operatorname{H}^\bullet(S^2)
</span> which is exactly <span
class="math inline">\Lambda_{\mathbb{Z}}[\beta_1,\beta_2]</span>, but
<em>where <span class="math inline">\beta</span> is of degree <span
class="math inline">2</span></em> (we’re repeating this because it’s
important).</p>
<p>Now, <span
class="math inline">\Lambda_{\mathbb{Z}}[\beta_1,\beta_2]</span> is
graded commutative (since it’s a cohomology ring, and recall that these
are always graded commutative, by the sign in the definition of the cup
product), but we see that <span class="math display">
\beta_1\beta_2
= (-1)^{|\beta_1||\beta_2|} \beta_2\beta_1
= (-1)^{4}\beta_2\beta_1
= \beta_2\beta_1
</span> and so this cohomology ring is actually commutative!</p>
</div>
<div class="itenv" title="Corollary">
<p>The cohomology rings of <span class="math inline">S^1\times
S^1</span> and <span class="math inline">S^2\times S^2</span> are not
isomorphic (because one is commutative and the other is not).</p>
</div>
<h1 id="the-künneth-theorem">The Künneth theorem</h1>
<p>What happens to our useful lemma if the cohomology ring <span
class="math inline">\operatorname{H}^\bullet(Y)</span> is finitely
generated but <em>not</em> free? That is (by the classification of
finite groups), what if it has <em>torsion</em>? The <em>Künneth
theorem</em> tells us that this torsion is exactly the “correction term”
needed to fix the Lemma.</p>
<div class="itenv" title="Corollary (to the Künneth theorem)">
<p>Let <span class="math inline">X</span> and <span
class="math inline">Y</span> be spaces. If <span
class="math inline">Y</span> is such that <span
class="math inline">\operatorname{H}^\bullet(Y)</span> is finitely
generated, then <span class="math display">
\operatorname{H}^\bullet(X\times Y)
\cong (\operatorname{H}^\bullet(X)\otimes\operatorname{H}^\bullet(Y))
\oplus
\operatorname{Tor}_{\bullet+1}(\operatorname{H}^\bullet(X),\operatorname{H}^\bullet(Y))
</span> (note that this <span
class="math inline">\operatorname{Tor}</span> term is zero if <span
class="math inline">\operatorname{H}^\bullet(Y)</span> is free<a
href="#fn4" class="footnote-ref" id="fnref4"
role="doc-noteref"><sup>4</sup></a>, so this really is a generalisation
of our previous lemma).</p>
</div>
<div class="itenv" title="Example">
<p>We know that <span class="math display">
\operatorname{H}^n(\mathbb{RP}^2) =
\begin{cases}
\mathbb{Z} &\text{if }n=0\text{;}
\\\mathbb{Z}/2\mathbb{Z} &\text{if }n=2\text{;}
\\0 &\text{otherwise.}
\end{cases}
</span> Doing some <span class="math inline">\operatorname{Tor}</span>
calculations (use the fact that <span
class="math inline">\mathbb{Z}</span> is free and thus flat (or even
just projective) to see that <span
class="math inline">\operatorname{Tor}(\mathbb{Z},-)=\operatorname{Tor}(-,\mathbb{Z})=0</span>;
use the fact that <span
class="math inline">\operatorname{Tor}(A,\mathbb{Z}/m\mathbb{Z})\cong\{a\in
A\mid ma=0\}</span> to see that <span
class="math inline">\operatorname{Tor}(\mathbb{Z}/2\mathbb{Z},\mathbb{Z}/2\mathbb{Z})\cong\mathbb{Z}/2\mathbb{Z}</span>),
the above Corollary gives us that <span class="math display">
\operatorname{H}^n(\mathbb{RP}^2\times\mathbb{RP}^2) =
\begin{cases}
\mathbb{Z} &\text{if }n=0\text{;}
\\(\mathbb{Z}/2\mathbb{Z})^2 &\text{if }n=2\text{;}
\\\mathbb{Z}/2\mathbb{Z} &\text{if }n=3{;}
\\\mathbb{Z}/2\mathbb{Z} &\text{if }n=4{;}
\\0 &\text{otherwise.}
\end{cases}
</span> We’ve written the case <span class="math inline">n=3</span> on a
separate line because this is exactly the “correction term” given by the
Künneth theorem, i.e. the previous Lemma would have given us everything
else but would have said that <span
class="math inline">\operatorname{H}^3=0</span>; Künneth tells us
otherwise.</p>
</div>
<div class="rmenv" title="Exercise">
<p>Calculate <span
class="math inline">\operatorname{H}^\bullet(\mathbb{RP}^2\times\mathbb{RP}^2;\mathbb{Q}/\mathbb{Z})</span>.</p>
<p><em>Hint: use the Universal Coefficient Theorem, or the long exact
sequence associated to the short exact sequence <span
class="math inline">0\to\mathbb{Z}\hookrightarrow\mathbb{Q}\twoheadrightarrow\mathbb{Q}/\mathbb{Z}\to0</span>,
and recall that <span
class="math inline">\operatorname{Tor}(A,\mathbb{Q}/\mathbb{Z})\cong\operatorname{tors}(A)</span>,
the torsion part of <span class="math inline">A</span>.</em></p>
</div>
<h1 id="some-useful-cohomology-rings">Some useful cohomology rings</h1>
<p>Real projective spaces have pretty nice cohomology rings, but they
differ in presentation depending on the parity of the dimension:</p>
<ul>
<li><span
class="math inline">\operatorname{H}^\bullet(\mathbb{RP}^{2n})\cong\mathbb{Z}[\beta]/(2\beta,\beta^{n+1})</span>,
where <span class="math inline">|\beta|=2</span>;</li>
<li><span
class="math inline">\operatorname{H}^\bullet(\mathbb{RP}^{2n+1})\cong\mathbb{Z}[\beta,\varepsilon]/(2\beta,\beta^{n+1},\epsilon^2,\beta\epsilon)</span>,
where <span class="math inline">|\beta|=2</span> and <span
class="math inline">|\varepsilon|=2n+1</span> (here <span
class="math inline">\epsilon</span> is the generator of <span
class="math inline">\operatorname{H}^{2n+1}</span>).</li>
</ul>
<p>What’s nice is that, if we work with <span
class="math inline">\mathbb{Z}/2\mathbb{Z}</span> coefficients (instead
of <span class="math inline">\mathbb{Z}</span>), then we can write both
cases together as one thing:</p>
<ul>
<li><span
class="math inline">\operatorname{H}^\bullet(\mathbb{RP}^n;\mathbb{Z}/2\mathbb{Z})\cong(\mathbb{Z}/2\mathbb{Z})[\alpha]/(\alpha^{n+1})</span>,
where <span class="math inline">|\alpha|=1</span>.</li>
</ul>
<p>Given that <span class="math inline">\mathbb{C}</span> is <span
class="math inline">2</span>-dimensional over <span
class="math inline">\mathbb{R}</span>, complex projective space behaves
much nicer, since we don’t need to worry about parity:</p>
<ul>
<li><span
class="math inline">\operatorname{H}^\bullet(\mathbb{CP}^n)\cong\mathbb{Z}[\beta]/(\beta^{n+1})</span>,
where <span class="math inline">|\beta|=2</span>.</li>
</ul>
<p>Finally, if you know how to define infinite dimensional projective
spaces, then it’s a very lovely cheeky little fact that the cohomology
rings are just given by “taking the limit <span
class="math inline">n\to\infty</span>”, i.e.</p>
<ul>
<li><span
class="math inline">\operatorname{H}^\bullet(\mathbb{RP}^\infty)\cong\mathbb{Z}[\alpha]</span>,
where <span class="math inline">|\alpha|=1</span>;</li>
<li><span
class="math inline">\operatorname{H}^\bullet(\mathbb{CP}^\infty)\cong\mathbb{Z}[\beta]</span>,
where <span class="math inline">|\beta|=2</span>.</li>
</ul>
<p>Nice!</p>
<aside id="footnotes" class="footnotes footnotes-end-of-document"
role="doc-endnotes">
<hr />
<ol>
<li id="fn1"><p>Note that this condition extends to give some condition
on the multiplication of arbitrary elements of <span
class="math inline">R</span>, since every element can be written (in a
unique way) as a sum of homogeneous elements, by the fact that <span
class="math inline">R\cong\bigoplus_{d=0}^\infty R_d</span>.<a
href="#fnref1" class="footnote-back" role="doc-backlink">↩︎</a></p></li>
<li id="fn2"><p>This is very similar to the fact that a group
homomorphism must send an element of order <span
class="math inline">n</span> to an element of order <span
class="math inline">m</span> <em>such that <span
class="math inline">m</span> divides <span
class="math inline">n</span></em>.<a href="#fnref2"
class="footnote-back" role="doc-backlink">↩︎</a></p></li>
<li id="fn3"><p>Both number theorists and algebraic geometers get very
tired of having to write “let <span class="math inline">k</span> be a
field of characteristic not equal to <span
class="math inline">2</span>”, since <span class="math inline">2</span>
“behaves badly” for them; some algebraic topologists, on the other hand,
get very excited when you say “calculate (co)homology with coefficients
in a field of characteristic <span class="math inline">2</span>”, since
<span class="math inline">2</span> “behaves nicely” for them. Basically,
<span class="math inline">2</span> is a tricky number.<a href="#fnref3"
class="footnote-back" role="doc-backlink">↩︎</a></p></li>
<li id="fn4"><p>Or if we work over a field instead of over <span
class="math inline">\mathbb{Z}</span>…<a href="#fnref4"
class="footnote-back" role="doc-backlink">↩︎</a></p></li>
</ol>
</aside>
tag:thosgood.com,2022-02-05:/blog/2022/02/05/every-bundle-is-flat-from-infinity-pov/Every principal bundle is flat, in the infinity world2022-02-05T00:00:00Z2022-02-05T00:00:00Z<p>Earlier today, Mahmoud Zeinalian explained something to me that
Dennis Sullivan once explained to him, and it’s been sitting in my brain
ever since then. In an attempt to empty out my thoughts, and also
preserve what little understanding I currently believe to have of the
story, I thought I’d write a little blog post about it. It’s going to
move quite quickly, because I don’t want to spend time developing the
prerequisites — the main purpose is for this to jog my brain two weeks
down the line when I forget all the details!</p>
<!-- more -->
<p>The rather “provocative” statement that I’m going to try to justify
today is the following:</p>
<blockquote>
<p><em>Every principal bundle is flat, from the <span
class="math inline">(\infty,1)</span>-point-of-view.</em></p>
</blockquote>
<p>Let’s give some setup and explain why, first of all, this should
sound rather bizarre, if not completely incorrect.</p>
<h1 id="the-setup">The setup</h1>
<p>Pick some principal <span class="math inline">G</span>-bundle <span
class="math inline">\pi\colon E\to B</span>, endowed with a connection
<span class="math inline">\nabla</span>. We’re going to look at what
sort of information we can associated to singular cells in the base
space <span class="math inline">B</span>, using the things that we have
available to us.</p>
<p>We know that the fibre <span
class="math inline">E_b=\pi^{-1}(b)</span> of <span
class="math inline">E</span> at any point <span class="math inline">b\in
B</span> “looks like” the group <span class="math inline">G</span>, so,
using the axiom of choice if we have to (or whatever really — we’re
playing fast and loose here!), pick an element in each fibre to be the
identity element of <span class="math inline">G</span>. That is,
<em>very</em> discontinuously think of all the fibres as copies of <span
class="math inline">G</span>.</p>
<p>Now let’s look at what a <span class="math inline">1</span>-simplex
(i.e. a line) in <span class="math inline">B</span> gives us. Say the
line goes from the point <span class="math inline">b</span> to the point
<span class="math inline">b'</span>. We get a <span
class="math inline">G</span>-equivariant map <span
class="math inline">\Gamma_b^{b'}\colon E_b\to E_{b'}</span> by
using the parallel transport offered to us from the connection <span
class="math inline">\nabla</span>. But, using the fact that we have
already identified our fibres with <span class="math inline">G</span>,
and a nice technical lemma about Lie groups (saying (roughly) that, if a
map commutes with all left actions, then it must be given by right
action, i.e. by an element of the Lie group itself), we see that this is
exactly the data of an element of <span class="math inline">G</span>,
say <span class="math inline">g_{b,b'}</span>.</p>
<p>The next step is to think about what happens with <span
class="math inline">2</span>-simplices (i.e. triangles) in <span
class="math inline">B</span>. If we call the three vertices <span
class="math inline">0</span>, <span class="math inline">1</span>, and
<span class="math inline">2</span>, and label the edge between <span
class="math inline">i</span> and <span class="math inline">j</span> by
<span class="math inline">ij</span>, then, by the above, the three edges
will give us three elements <span
class="math inline">g_{01},g_{12},g_{02}\in G</span>. But here is where
things “break”: it is <em>not</em> necessarily the case that <span
class="math inline">g_{12}g_{01}=g_{02}</span>; this identity that the
notation suggestively implies is only true if <span
class="math inline">\nabla</span> is flat! (Recall: flatness of the
connections corresponds to path-independence of the associated parallel
transport).</p>
<p>So we’ve come to the conclusion that a bundle is flat if and only if…
it is flat. Great!</p>
<p>So how about this claim that <em>every</em> bundle is flat “from the
<span class="math inline">(\infty,1)</span>-point-of-view”?</p>
<h1 id="some-cubical-wizardry">Some cubical wizardry</h1>
<p>Trying to be ever so slightly more precise, we can formalise what we
were doing in the above construction: for <span
class="math inline">p=1,2</span>, to each singular <span
class="math inline">p</span>-chain (i.e. each <span
class="math inline">p</span>-simplex) in <span
class="math inline">B</span> we were associating a <span
class="math inline">(p-1)</span>-cube with values in <span
class="math inline">G</span>. That is, were were constructing an element
of the singular cochain complex on <span class="math inline">B</span>
with values in “cubical chains with values in <span
class="math inline">G</span>”, which we could write as <span
class="math display">
\varphi_\nabla \in
\mathrm{C}^{\bullet,\mathrm{sing}}(B,\mathrm{C}_{\bullet-1}^\mathrm{cube}(B,G)).
</span> The fact that our connection is not flat is reflected in the
fact that this element does not satisfy the Maurer–Cartan equation:
<span class="math display">
\mathrm{d}\varphi_\nabla+\varphi_\nabla^2 \neq 0
</span> where defining the product turns out to be really easy, because
cubes, <em>unlike simplices</em>, actually satisfy “the product of two
cubes is a cube”.</p>
<p>So here’s the question: we’ve constructed <span
class="math inline">\varphi_\nabla</span> to be concentrated only in two
(low) degrees; can we “extend” it to give an element that <em>does</em>
satisfy Maurer–Cartan? The answer is <strong>YES</strong>, and this is
exactly what we mean by our opening claim that “every bundle is flat in
the <span class="math inline">(\infty,1)</span>-sense”. I won’t spell
out the details on how <em>exactly</em> this works (since I’ve already
been very informal up until now anyway), but I’ll show you some very
lovely pictures, and then afterwards tell you where you can go to read
about this in proper detail.</p>
<p>Thinking about what we need to “construct” in order to extend our
element, we can guess that we need some sort of “homotopy” between <span
class="math inline">g_{12}g_{01}</span> and <span
class="math inline">g_{02}</span>. But how exactly can we do this? And,
further, how can we do it in a cubical way?</p>
<p>Well we know that every path in <span class="math inline">B</span>
gives us an element of <span class="math inline">G</span>, and we know
that the path <span class="math inline">02</span> gives us <span
class="math inline">g_{02}</span>, and the composite path <span
class="math inline">01;12</span> gives us the element <span
class="math inline">g_{12}g_{01}</span>, so let’s draw a bunch of
intermediate paths! We can do this by starting at <span
class="math inline">0</span>, heading along the line <span
class="math inline">01</span> <em>for some time <span
class="math inline">0\leq t_0\leq1</span></em>, and then heading towards
the point <span class="math inline">2</span> for the rest of the time
<span class="math inline">t_0-1</span>. When <span
class="math inline">t_0=0</span> we recover exactly the line <span
class="math inline">02</span>, and when <span
class="math inline">t_0=1</span> we recover exactly the composite <span
class="math inline">01;12</span>; for intermediate values, we get
something like in the (very hastily drawn) picture below:</p>
<figure>
<img src="paths-in-delta-2.png" alt="Paths in the 2-simplex." />
<figcaption aria-hidden="true">Paths in the <span
class="math inline">2</span>-simplex.</figcaption>
</figure>
<p>What’s wonderful is that, when we look at doing something similar for
the <span class="math inline">3</span>-simplex, we see that all our
paths are parametrised by variables <span class="math inline">0\leq
t_0,t_1\leq 1</span>, i.e. by the <span
class="math inline">2</span>-cube!</p>
<figure>
<img src="paths-in-delta-3.png" alt="Paths in the 3-simplex." />
<figcaption aria-hidden="true">Paths in the <span
class="math inline">3</span>-simplex.</figcaption>
</figure>
<h1 id="behind-the-scenes-and-some-history">Behind the scenes, and some
history</h1>
<p>This whole story is really an explicit example of the <em>universal
twisting cochain construction</em> for the path space bundle. What do I
mean by that? Well, given any based topological space <span
class="math inline">(X,x_0)</span>, we have the (based) path space
bundle <span class="math inline">\mathcal{P}_{x_0}X\hookrightarrow
X</span> given by sending a path to its endpoint; the fibre at the point
<span class="math inline">x_0</span> is exactly the (based) loop space.
Although this bundle doesn’t have a connection, we can use the homotopy
lifting property to get something akin to parallel transport. We can
make a nice simplification too: instead of looking at singular chains in
<span class="math inline">X</span>, we can look at singular chains in
<span class="math inline">X</span> whose <span
class="math inline">0</span>-cells are all sent to the point <span
class="math inline">x_0</span>; somehow this carries the same
“homological information” as the usual singular chain complex. Then a
<span class="math inline">1</span>-simplex is exactly a loop based at
<span class="math inline">x_0</span>, which is exactly a <span
class="math inline">0</span>-simplex in the loop space — this
corresponds to the same “dimension drop” that we saw in the example
above (where e.g. a line was sent to an element of <span
class="math inline">G</span>).</p>
<p>You know what? At this point, I’m just going to give up trying to
explain things any better. Hopefully you’re confused enough by my
meandering and poorly-written exposé that you want to read some proper
references. This construction was described abstractly in J.F. Adams’
“On the Cobar Construction”<a href="#fn1" class="footnote-ref"
id="fnref1" role="doc-noteref"><sup>1</sup></a>; the concrete
description (using these paths parametrised by the <span
class="math inline">(p-1)</span>-cube) is found in Edgar H. Brown, Jr.’s
“Twisted Tensor Products, I”<a href="#fn2" class="footnote-ref"
id="fnref2" role="doc-noteref"><sup>2</sup></a>.</p>
<p>Enjoy!</p>
<aside id="footnotes" class="footnotes footnotes-end-of-document"
role="doc-endnotes">
<hr />
<ol>
<li id="fn1"><p>J. F. Adams, “On the Cobar Construction”. <em>PNAS</em>
<strong>42</strong> (1956), 409–412. <a
href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/89694">JSTOR:89694</a>.<a
href="#fnref1" class="footnote-back" role="doc-backlink">↩︎</a></p></li>
<li id="fn2"><p>Edgar H. Brown, Jr., “Twisted Tensor Products, I”.
<em>Annals of Mathematics</em> <strong>69</strong> (1959), 223–246. <a
href="https://doi.org/10.2307/1970101">DOI:10.2307/1970101</a>.<a
href="#fnref2" class="footnote-back" role="doc-backlink">↩︎</a></p></li>
</ol>
</aside>
tag:thosgood.com,2022-01-23:/blog/2022/01/23/translations-part-3/Translations2022-01-23T00:00:00Z2022-01-23T00:00:00Z<p>I haven’t blogged about it in a while, but I’ve been working on just
making <a href="https://thosgood.com/translations">my translations</a> a
bit better, both in terms of content and accessibility. Let’s have a
look at what I’ve done, shall we?</p>
<!-- more -->
<p>The main change is that <em>nearly</em> all of the translations are
now viewable as web versions, <em>as well as</em> PDFs. This hopefully
makes them much more accessible to people who use screen readers, but is
also nice even for people who don’t: you can change the font, the font
size, switch to dark mode, use the table of contents which scrolls down
the page with you, fit the whole page onto your phone, etc. etc. I also
took this opportunity to refresh the CSS a bit, so hopefully things look
slick and nice now.</p>
<figure>
<img src="new-css.png"
title="A screenshot of the new style for the web versions of my translations"
alt="New style for web versions of translations: the buttons in the top left are for toggling the table of contents, changing font options, and viewing the PDF version. Thanks Bookdown!" />
<figcaption aria-hidden="true">New style for web versions of
translations: the buttons in the top left are for toggling the table of
contents, changing font options, and viewing the PDF version. Thanks <a
href="https://bookdown.org/">Bookdown</a>!</figcaption>
</figure>
<p>There are some translations which I probably won’t switch over to
HTML, simply because they have commutative diagrams which cannot be
rendered in the <a
href="https://ctan.org/pkg/amscd?lang=en"><code>CD</code>
environment</a> (which is now supported by KaTeX), and I just haven’t
gotten around to sorting out image generation for these web versions
yet.</p>
<p>I’ve also finished some new translations since I last blogged. Here
are the articles:</p>
<ul>
<li>M Balazard, E Saias, M Yor. “Notes sur la fonction ζ de Riemann, 2”.
<em>Adv. in Math.</em> <strong>143</strong> (1999), 284–287. <a
href="https://labs.thosgood.com/translations/AIM-143-1999-284.html">HTML</a></li>
<li>P Deligne. “Variétés abéliennes ordinaires sur un corps fini”.
<em>Inv. Math.</em> <strong>8</strong> (1969), 238–243. <a
href="https://labs.thosgood.com/translations/IM-8-1969-238.html">HTML</a></li>
<li>P Deligne. “Théorie de Hodge I”. <em>Actes du Congrès intern.
math.</em> <strong>1</strong> (1970), 425–430. <a
href="https://labs.thosgood.com/translations/ACIM-1-1970-425.html">HTML</a></li>
<li>Y Diers. “Catégories Multialgébriques”. <em>Archiv der Math.</em>
<strong>34</strong> (1980), 193–209. <a
href="https://labs.thosgood.com/translations/ADM-34-1980-193.pdf">PDF</a></li>
<li>A Grothendieck. “Résumé des résultats essentiels dans la théorie des
produits tensoriels topologiques et des espaces nucléaires”. <em>Annales
de l’Institut Fourier</em> <strong>4</strong> (1952), 73–112. <a
href="https://labs.thosgood.com/translations/AIF-4-1952-73.html">HTML</a></li>
</ul>
<p>And here are the seminars:</p>
<ul>
<li>H Cartan. “Les travaux de Koszul, I, II, and III”. <em>Séminaire
Bourbaki</em> <strong>1</strong> (1952), Talks no. 1, 8, and 12. <a
href="https://labs.thosgood.com/translations/SB-1-1%2B8%2B12.html">HTML</a></li>
<li>A Douady. “Variétés et espaces mixtes; Déformations régulières;
Obstruction primaire à la déformation”. <em>Séminaire Henri Cartan</em>
<strong>13(1)</strong> (1960/61), Talks no. 2, 3, and 4. <a
href="https://labs.thosgood.com/translations/SHC-13(1)-2+3+4.html">HTML</a></li>
<li>Grothendieck, A. “Technique de descente et théorèmes d’existence en
géométrie algébrique, I, II, and III”. <em>Séminaire Bourbaki</em>
<strong>12</strong> and <strong>13</strong> (1959/60 and 1960/61), Talks
no. 190, 195, and 212. <a href="https://thosgood.com/fga">HTML</a></li>
</ul>
<p>You might notice that this last one is Grothendieck’s FGA, and I’ve
already talked a lot about how much progress has been made (although,
admittedly, not for a while, due to general life chaos) about the <a
href="https://github.com/ryankeleti/ega">EGA translation</a>, so the
natural question to ask is <em>what about SGA?</em> Although I said I
wasn’t going to work on this until I’d at least finished the FGA
translation (of which there are only two and a half chapters left), I
ended up needing to read bits of SGA 6 for my research anyway, so I just
gave in and translated some: the homepage of the SGA translation is <a
href="https://thosgood.com/sga/">thosgood.com/sga</a> (to accompany <a
href="https://thosgood.com/fga">thosgood.com/fga</a>), and here you can
see what I’ve done so far (just the first section of SGA 1, and a little
bit of the introduction from SGA 6), but <em>do not expect any updates
to this any time soon</em> — I really have to finish up some old
projects before I get started on any news ones! (Although, as always,
you can always contribute anything yourself if the fancy ever takes you:
<a
href="https://github.com/thosgood/sga">github.com/thosgood/sga</a>.)</p>
<p>Anyways, that’s enough for now. Belated happy new year to you
all!</p>
tag:thosgood.com,2021-12-22:/blog/2021/12/22/blog-comments/Comments on blog posts2021-12-22T00:00:00Z2021-12-22T00:00:00Z<p><strong>Update: comments have been “temporarily” disabled (I had some
server issues).</strong> This blog now has support for comments! I
haven’t had a chance to properly test things yet, and there are still
some kinks left to iron out, but please do use this as an excuse to
browse back through old posts and say nice things.</p>
<!-- more -->
<p>Using the lovely <a
href="https://github.com/souramoo/commentoplusplus#how-is-this-different-to-the-original-commento">Commento++</a>,
I’ve now enabled comments at the bottom of blog posts. Some things to
point out:</p>
<ul>
<li>I haven’t yet made LaTeX rendering work, but it’s next on my to-do
list. For now, feel free to write stuff surrounded by <code>$</code> or
<code>$$</code> (or wrap it in <code>\(\)</code> or <code>\[\]</code>),
and at some point in the future this should actually render
properly.</li>
<li>I also haven’t yet made it so that people can post comments via
their Twitter/GitHub/whatever accounts, but I also don’t expect that
this will really be something that people particularly want to do? I
assume I get around six readers per month on this blog, so there’s not
particularly high demand for anything…</li>
<li>If you want to comment a lot, you can create an account (using the
“Login” button) which will let you set a profile picture and link to
your website, but this isn’t necessary! You can always just leave a
name, or even comment anonymously.</li>
<li>Things might generally be a bit buggy, but if that’s the case, then
please be patient, and also just
<a href="mailto:tim.hosgood@posteo.net">let me know what went
wrong</a>.</li>
</ul>
<p>Hopefully see you all in the comments soon!</p>