MathOverflow is a question and answer site for professional mathematicians. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top


I have a technical question. My terminology:

I - set of standard inclusions $\partial I^n \to I^n$.

I-cell (Relative Cell Complexes) - transfinite compositions of pushouts of maps in $I$.

CW (CW complexes) - the usual definition (like I-cell but with "cells attached by order of dimension).

I-cof - retracts of maps in I-cell, the same as maps having Left Lifting Property w.r.t. maps having Right lifting property w.r.t. I (by Quillen small object argument).

My first question is to confirm that CW in I-cell in I-cof are all different

My second question is: In this page: it is written under "Mixed model structure" (the model structure on $Top$ for which equivalences are weak equivalences and fibrations are Hurewicz fibrations) that cofibrant objects are spaces homotopy equivalent to CW complexes. Is this exactly true (or is it for example spaces homotopy equivalent to cell complexes?). I also read somewhere around nlab that Milnor advocated that spaces homotopy equivalent to CW complexes are nice, so I wanted to know if the cofibrant objects in this mixed model structure are exactly such, or a bit more general.

Thank you, Sasha

share|cite|improve this question
up vote 4 down vote accepted

They are exactly such. One point is that one can use classical cell complexes, stop at $\omega$ with no transfinite nonsense, in setting up the Quillen model structure: it is a compactly generated (as well as a cofibrantly generated) model category. The distinction and full details are in May and Ponto, "More concise algebraic topology", published Feb. 1 this year. Another is that classical cell complexes are homotopy equivalent to CW complexes, as one can see by approximating attaching maps by maps that land in the n-skeleton. Formally, one has two filtrations on cell complexes, one given by the order of construction, the other given by dimensions of cells. The distinction is familiar and essential when one goes stable and works with spectra rather than spaces. Milnor wrote a classical paper "On spaces of the homotopy type of CW complexes" not just advocating but proving the niceness of the category of CW homotopy types. It is a result of Cole "Mixing model structures" that this category is exactly the cofibrant objects in his mixed model structure.

share|cite|improve this answer
Thank you very much! A small question: "More concise algebraic topology" is not available online? – Sasha Apr 18 '12 at 19:35
"More Concise..." is a book that they published, not an article. So you should probably check the library rather than trying to find it online. – jd.r Apr 19 '12 at 1:27
Everything else I've published is on my web page. There are already pirated versions on line (the first one I saw classified the book as science fiction!), but please do not download one. Reputable publishers will go out of business if they do not have enough time to at least recoup costs of production and distribution before their books go on line. Therefore I have not put it on line yet. – Peter May Apr 19 '12 at 2:43
OK, Thank you. Then I guess I will have to wait until it will appear in my library. – Sasha Apr 19 '12 at 6:58

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.