This post is a weird one: it’s not really aimed at any one audience, but is more of a dump of a bunch of information that I’m trying to process.

Continue reading →In the previous post of this series, I talked a bit about basic loop space stuff and how this gave birth to the idea of ‘homotopically-associative algebras’. I’m going to detour slightly from what I was going to delve into next and speak about **delooping** for a bit first. Then I’ll introduce **spectra** as sort of a generalisation of infinite deloopings. I’ll probably leave the stuff about E_\infty-algebras for another post, but will definitely at least mention about how it ties in to all this stuff.

I have been reading recently about spectra and their use in defining cohomology theories. Something that came up quite a lot was the idea of **E_\infty-algebras**, which I knew roughly corresponded to some commutative version of A_\infty-algebras, but beyond that I knew nothing. After some enlightening discussions with one of my supervisors, I feel like I’m starting to see how the ideas of spectra, E_\infty-algebras, and operads all fit together. In an attempt to solidify this understanding and pinpoint any difficulties, I’m going to try to write up what I ‘understand’ so far.