Terminology question on covering spaces - MathOverflow most recent 30 from http://mathoverflow.net 2013-06-19T20:45:16Z http://mathoverflow.net/feeds/question/49526 http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.5/rdf http://mathoverflow.net/questions/49526/terminology-question-on-covering-spaces Terminology question on covering spaces Pavol S. 2010-12-15T13:31:37Z 2011-01-02T23:12:39Z <p>I'm teaching an elementary class about fundamental groups and covering spaces. It was very useful to use "fool's covering spaces" of a space $X$, defined as functors $\Pi_1(X)\to Sets$, where $\Pi_1(X)$ is the fundamental groupoids of $X$. In a more "covering space way", a fool's covering space can be described as a set $Y$, a map $p:Y\to X$, and a map $p^{-1}(x_1)\to p^{-1}(x_2)$ for any path between $x_1, x_2\in X$, satisfying the obvious properties.</p> <p>Is there a standard name for "fool's covering spaces"? Calling them "functors $\Pi_1(X)\to Sets$ " is a bit heavy for the class.</p> http://mathoverflow.net/questions/49526/terminology-question-on-covering-spaces/49570#49570 Answer by Sergey Melikhov for Terminology question on covering spaces Sergey Melikhov 2010-12-15T21:50:16Z 2010-12-16T00:59:10Z <p>"Fool's covering spaces" are very close to <em>overlays</em> of R. H. Fox (see <a href="http://www.springerlink.com/content/hk52316r65043102/" rel="nofollow">this</a> paper in the first place and also <a href="http://matwbn.icm.edu.pl/ksiazki/fm/fm74/fm7416.pdf" rel="nofollow">this one</a>), which I think are still better: they retain all nice properties of "fool's covering spaces" and have additional ones. An equivalent (see <a href="http://front.math.ucdavis.edu/0812.1407" rel="nofollow">"Steenrod homotopy"</a>, Lemma 7.3 or <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0166-8641%2800%2900012-2" rel="nofollow">Mardesic-Matijevic</a>) definition of an overlay is that it is </p> <blockquote> <p>a covering that is induced from some covering over a polyhedron (or equivalently from some covering over a locally connected semi-locally simply-connected space). </p> </blockquote> <p>Fox's original (equivalent) definition is that it is </p> <blockquote> <p>a map $p:Y\to X$ such that there exists a cover ${U_\alpha}$ of $X$ satisfying </p> <p>(i) each $p^{-1}(U_\alpha)=\bigsqcup_\lambda U_\alpha^\lambda$, where each $p$ restricted over $U_\alpha^\lambda$ is a homeomorphism onto $U_\alpha$; and </p> <p>(ii) if $U_\alpha^\lambda\cap U_\beta^\mu$ and $U_\alpha^\lambda\cap U_\beta^\nu$ are both nonempty, then $\mu=\nu$. </p> </blockquote> <p>Condition (i) of course amounts to a definition of a covering in the usual sense.</p> <p>A third definition of overlays is by their monodromy. $d$-Sheeted overlays over a connected base $X$ (possibly $d=\infty$) are identified with</p> <blockquote> <p>the homotopy set $[X,BS_d]$.</p> </blockquote> <p>This is essentially the monodromy classification theorem of Fox; for a shorter proof and the above formulation see "Steenrod homotopy", Theorem 7.4. Another reformulation: overlays are</p> <blockquote> <p>functors $pro$-$\Pi_1(X)\to Sets$, where $pro$-$\Pi_1$ is the fundamental pro-groupoid.</p> </blockquote> <p>This is due to <a href="http://matwbn.icm.edu.pl/ksiazki/fm/fm156/fm15611.pdf" rel="nofollow">Hernandez-Paricio</a> (but note that his claim that Fox did his theory only for finite-sheeted overlays is not only incorrect but misleading; in fact, for finite-sheeted ones Fox shows that they reduce to coverings). I'm not fully happy with the pro-groupoid definition because a pro-groupid is a whole diagram of groupoids. I would prefer something like "overlays are functors $\Pi_1\to Sets$, where $\Pi_1$ is the topologized Steenrod fundamental groupoid (which combines Steenrod $\pi_0$ and Steenrod $\pi_1$)" Such formulation is possible, at least, in a special case (see Corollary 7.5. in "Steenrod homotopy"). Over a base that is compact and Steenrod-connected (aka "pointed 1-movable"; in particular, this includes compact spaces that are connected and locally connected), overlays are identified with functors $\check\pi_1(X)\to Sets$, where $\check\pi_1$ is the topologized Cech (or Steenrod) fundamental group. Note that $\check\pi_1(X)=\pi_1(X)$ if $X$ is locally connected and semi-locally simply-connected.</p> <p>Finally, I should mention that over a compact (metric) base, overlays can also be defined (Theorem 7.6 in "Steenrod homotopy") as</p> <blockquote> <p>coverings in the category of uniform spaces.</p> </blockquote> <p>Such uniform coverings have been studied by I. M. James in his book "Introduction to Uniform spaces"; see <a href="http://arxiv.org/abs/0706.3937" rel="nofollow">Brodsky-Dydak-Labuz-Mitra</a> for a clarification of James' definition (the latter paper also has some relevant followups). This is really saying that overlays are precisely those coverings for which a metric on the base can be "lifted" to a metric in the total space. (Note that the compact base has a unique uniformity: as everyone might remember, every continuous function on a compact space is uniformly continuous.)</p> <p>DISCLAIMER: Following Fox, I have been assuming all spaces to be metrizable :) It is known that this is not a real restriction, and everything extends to arbitrary spaces, perhaps with minor modifications (see Mardesic-Matijevic's paper, which also has many additional references about overlays; also the papers by Dydak-et-al. and Hernandez-Paricio may be relevant to this point) However, I prefer being ignorant of the non-metrizable world and so don't follow these modifications or whether they are needed.</p> <p>SUMMARY: For purposes of proving something about coverings of locally connected semi-locally simply-connected spaces usual covering work fine. For purposes of proving anything in topology beyond these restrictions, you would definitely need overlays, rather than "fool's covering spaces". But admittedly overlays are slightly harder to define. Thus for purposes of defining a formal concept which agrees with coverings for "nice" spaces and is not intended to be used for proving anything beyond "nice" spaces, "fool's covering spaces" suit well; I would call them e.g. <em>path-overlays</em>.</p> <p>By the way, I like the idea about the Seifert-van Kampen theorem; I think if combined with overlays, it should give a Seifert-van Kampen theorem in Steenrod homotopy, which would be an interesting result.</p> http://mathoverflow.net/questions/49526/terminology-question-on-covering-spaces/50965#50965 Answer by Mark Grant for Terminology question on covering spaces Mark Grant 2011-01-02T23:12:39Z 2011-01-02T23:12:39Z <p>In the Algebraic Topology literature, what you describe would be called a <em>local system of sets on $X$</em>. In general a <a href="http://ncatlab.org/nlab/show/local+system" rel="nofollow">local system</a> on a space $X$ is a covariant functor from <code>$\Pi_1(X)$</code> to some category.</p> <p>In Steenrod's definition of homology with local coefficients, he uses a local system of abelian groups as coefficients (ordinary homology corresponds to the constant functor). This is explained nicely in G.W Whitehead's book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Elements-Homotopy-Theory-Graduate-Mathematics/dp/0387903364" rel="nofollow">Elements of Homotopy Theory</a>.</p>