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49
votes
6answers
13k views

What are Jacob Lurie's key insights?

This question is inspired by this Tim Gowers blogpost. I have some familiarity with the work of Jacob Lurie, which contains ideas which are simply astounding; but what I don't understand is which key ...
44
votes
7answers
3k views

Are higher categories useful?

Of course, personally, I think the answer is a big Yes! However once, a while ago, while giving a talk about higher category theory, I was asked a question about whether higher category theory was ...
32
votes
4answers
4k views

Do we still need model categories?

One modern POV on model categories is that they are presentations of $(\infty, 1)$-categories (namely, given a model category, you obtain an $\infty$-category by localizing at the category of weak ...
32
votes
4answers
1k views

Is there an accepted definition of $(\infty,\infty)$ category?

For probably twenty years, category theorists have known of some objects in the Platonic universe called "(weak) $\infty$-categories", in which there are $k$-morphisms for all $k\in \mathbb N$, with ...
32
votes
7answers
9k views

Is Mac Lane still the best place to learn category theory?

For a student embarking on a study of algebraic topology, requiring a knowledge of basic category theory, with a long-term view toward higher/stable/derived category theory, ... Is Mac Lane still ...
30
votes
6answers
3k views

Non-examples of model structures, that fail for subtle/surprising reasons?

An often-cited principle of good mathematical exposition is that a definition should always come with a few examples and a few non-examples to help the learner get an intuition for where the concept's ...
24
votes
4answers
2k views

Invertible matrices of natural numbers are permutations… why?

I have heard the following statement several times and I suspect that there is an easy and elegant proof of this fact which I am just not seeing. Question: Why is it true that an invertible nxn ...
24
votes
1answer
712 views

n-categorical description of Chern classes

The Chern classes of a rank $n$ vector bundle on $X$ are obtained from composing the associated classifying map in $[X, BU(n)]$ with the maps $BU(n) \to B^{2i} \mathbb{Z}$ corresponding to the ...
22
votes
2answers
552 views

How do you define (infinity,1) categories in Homotopy Type Theory?

One of the major motivations of Homotopy Type Theory is that it naturally builds in higher coherences from the beginning. One important setting where higher coherence requirements get annoying is ...
21
votes
2answers
1k views

generalisations of the Seifert-van Kampen Theorem?

I have been reading Jacob Lurie's book "Higher Algebra", version May 8, 2011. One is grateful to him for covering such a lot of ground and for making it all so readily available. My attention was ...
20
votes
4answers
1k views

What is an $(\infty,1)$-topos, and why is this a good setting for doing differential geometry?

In this post on the n-Category Café, Urs Schreiber says that, "The theory of G-principal bundles makes sense in any $(\infty,1)$-topos." I followed the link to the nLab and tried to chase definitions, ...
20
votes
2answers
2k views

What's the current state of the classification of not-fully-extended TQFTs?

Recall that a $(k,k+1,\dots,k+n)$-TQFT is (supposed to be) a functor from the $n$-category whose $j$-morphisms are (isomorphism classes of) compact $(k+j)$-dimensional manifolds with boundary to some ...
20
votes
1answer
664 views

Can equivalences be strictified to isomorphisms?

In category theory there are lots of examples of isomorphisms that cannot be strictified to become identities. For instance, every monoidal category is equivalent to a strict monoidal category, where ...
19
votes
6answers
2k views

Concrete example of $\infty$-categories.

I've seen many different notion of $\infty$-categories, actual I've seen the operadic-globular ones of Batanin and Leinster and the opetopic too and eventually I'll see the simplicial ones too. ...
19
votes
1answer
888 views

t-structures and higher categories?

I'm curious to find out where the viewpoint of higher categories may be useful so here is a somewhat vague question (which may or may not have a reasonable answer). Given a triangulated category, one ...
18
votes
2answers
809 views

Homotopy groups of spheres in a $(\infty, 1)$-topos

Let $H$ be an $(\infty,1)$-topos (seen as a generalization of the homotopy category of spaces). You can define the suspension of an object $X$ as the (homotopy) pushout of $*\leftarrow X \to *$, ...
17
votes
2answers
1k views

Why do my quantum group books avoid homotopical language?

I am sitting on my carpet surrounded by books about quantum groups, and the only categorical concept they discuss are the representation categories of quantum groups. Many notes closer to "Kontsevich ...
17
votes
2answers
527 views

Limitations on model-categorical presentations

In higher category theory, it is common that a weak structure cannot be strictified in all directions simultaneously. For instance, a monoidal category is not (in general) equivalent to one that is ...
17
votes
0answers
466 views

categorical characterization of large cardinals

Question 1. Is there a categorical representation of Kunen's inconsistency result? Question 2. Is there a categorical characterization of very large cardinals (in particular for strong and ...
16
votes
2answers
436 views

Homotopy-theoretic derived Morita equivalences

Recall that two $k$-algebras $A, B$ are Morita equivalent iff their categories of left modules are equivalent. However, this relation turns out to be rather fine and one introduces a coarser ...
16
votes
1answer
2k views

Is Lemma A.1.5.7 in Higher Topos Theory correct?

Hello to everyone, I am studying the properties of combinatorial model categories, following the exposition given by Jacob Lurie in Higher Topos Theory ([HTT] from now on), in section A.2.6. At some ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

Derived Algebraic Geometry and Chow Rings/Chow Motives

I recently heard a talk about Chow motives and also read Milne's exposition on motives. If I understand it correctly, the naive definition of the Chow ring would be that it simply consists of all ...
16
votes
3answers
974 views

What do whitehead towers have to do with physics?

First let me say something that I don't completely understand, since I do not know enough physics. If I say anything wrong, someone please tell me: For the spinning particle, there is a sigma-model, ...
15
votes
2answers
672 views

Internal categories in simplicial sets

Is there a model structure (or more generally a homotopy theory) on the category of internal categories in simplicial sets, which presents the theory of $(\infty,1)$-categories? Note that this ...
14
votes
6answers
1k views

Simplicial homotopy book suggestion for HTT computations

I'm struggling through Lurie's Higher Topos Theory, since it appears that someone reading through the book is expected to be somewhat comfortable with simplicial homotopy theory. The main trouble ...
14
votes
2answers
577 views

What is Chern-Simons theory expected to assign to a point?

Let $G$ be a compact, connected, (simply connected?) Lie group and let $k \in H^4(BG, \mathbb{Z})$ be a cohomology class. Witten showed, at a physical level of rigor, that this data determines a ...
14
votes
1answer
437 views

Is there a good notion of “induction” for representations of 2-categories?

One of the most important observations in the representation theory of algebras is that if one has a subalgebra $A\subset B$, then these is a functor $B\otimes_A -\colon A\operatorname{-pmod}\to ...
14
votes
2answers
922 views

What's an example of an “adjunction up to adjunction”?

(There are several dialects of 2-categorical language. Mine is the one where everything is weak by default. You might need to insert the word "weak" or "pseudo" (or even "strong", if your default is ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

Homology theory constructed in a homotopy-invariant way

Singular homology sends homotopic morphisms on equal morphisms and weakly equivalent spaces on isomorphic objects. So singular homology is in fact defined on the homotopy category of topological ...
13
votes
2answers
631 views

Are the axioms for higher category-theory effectively computable?

I ask this, although I don't conduct any research in the area, or even plan to. -- There seems to be general agreement that the axioms for higher categories grow very rapidly in complexity as the ...
13
votes
1answer
376 views

Skeleton category of the category of skeleton categories?

A category is a skeleton if, roughly speaking, no two distinct objects within the category are isomorphic. To every category is associated a skeleton, and two categories are categorically "equivalent" ...
12
votes
3answers
940 views

Complicating an Example by Toen (motivations for DAG)

I'm trying to read (the introduction of) a survey by Toen on Derived Algebraic Geometry, specifically the "Simplicial Presheaves and Derived Algebraic Geometry" one. He motivates the introduction of ...
12
votes
2answers
941 views

Lax Functors and Equivalence of Bicategories?

Lax functors of bicategories were introduced at the very inception of bicategories, and I'm trying to get a better feel for them. They are the same as ordinary 2-functors, but you only require the ...
12
votes
3answers
505 views

Is there a tricategory of bicategories and biprofunctors?

Background There is a bicategory where the objects are categories, the 1-morphisms are profunctors, and the 2-morphisms are morphisms of profunctors. The non-obvious part of this assertion is that ...
12
votes
1answer
559 views

compact objects in model categories and $(\infty,1)$-categories

In an ordinary category $C$, one says that an object $X$ is $\kappa$-compact if the representable functor $Hom(X,-)\colon C \to Set$ preserves $\kappa$-filtered colimits. We say $C$ is locally ...
12
votes
2answers
514 views

Homotopy Fixed Points of SO(2) on Fully Dualizable Algebras

Note: by fixed points, I always mean homotopy fixed points. As explained in Jacob Lurie's paper on the cobordism hypothesis, we have an action of O(2) on the $\infty $-groupoid $X$ given by ...
12
votes
1answer
737 views

A Model Category of Segal Spaces?

So in Julie Bergner's work on (infty, 1)-categories arXiv:0610239, she considers several model categories which model (infty, 1)-categories, which are known to be equivalent. I'm guessing that there ...
12
votes
0answers
413 views

What are some examples of weak ω-categories?

As is usual, let's say an (n, k)-category is something with objects, morphisms, 2-morphisms, ..., n-morphisms, such that all j-morphisms for j > k are invertible, everything meant in the weak sense. ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

The space of framed functions

Framed functions arose in the work of K. Igusa defining cohomology invariants for smooth manifold bundles (Igusa-Klein torsion). In the late 80's, he proved a strong connectivity result about the ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

What is a symmetric monoidal $(\infty,n)$-category?

This question arose from reading Jacob Lurie's "Classification of topological field theories" paper. In that paper, he uses complete $n$-fold Segal spaces as a model for $(\infty,n)$-categories, but ...
11
votes
4answers
379 views

What properties should a good definition of (weak) $n$-category satisfy?

My (perhaps inaccurate) impression is there are many competing definitions of the notion of a (weak) $n$-category, none of which are generally accepted. I've run across several properties such ...
11
votes
1answer
295 views

Model for the (infinity,1)-category of (homotopy-)limit preserving functors

I've got a simplicial model category $M.$ I'd like to get my hands on the (infinity,1) category of homotopy limit preserving functors from M to Spaces in order to compare it to another simplicial ...
11
votes
2answers
446 views

What are the higher morphisms between enriched higher categories?

This question is about $n$-categories, or perhaps $(\infty,n)$-categories, or ... My guess is that the answer will not depend sensitively on the model of higher categories, so rather than have me ...
11
votes
1answer
848 views

Pseudofunctors out of the lax Gray tensor product

I feel like I should know the answer to this, but I don't think I do. The Gray tensor product of 2-categories $C$ and $D$ is a "fattening up" of the cartesian product $C\times D$ in which the ...
10
votes
5answers
1k views

Computations in $\infty$-categories

Direct to the point. Since now I've looked a lot of presentations of $\infty$-categories, but it seems that the only way to do explicit computations on these objects is via model categories. Is that ...
10
votes
4answers
551 views

What is the relation between the Lie bracket on $TX$ as commutator and that coming from the Atiyah class?

Let X be a complex manifold and $TX$ its tangent bundle. The Atiyah class $\alpha(E)\in \text{Ext}^1(E\otimes TX, E)$ for a vector bundle $E$ is defined to be the obstruction of the global existence ...
10
votes
1answer
815 views

How much do universes matter in topos theory?

Suppose we fix two Grothendieck universes $\mathcal{U} \in \mathcal{V}.$ Then one has that $\mathcal{U}$-$\mathbf{Set},$ the category of $\mathcal{U}$-small sets, is a locally $\mathcal{U}$-small, ...
10
votes
2answers
445 views

What do decategorification and “compactification on a circle” have to do with each other?

Some physicists have told me that if you think about an extended n-dimensional TQFT $F$, then the decategorification is given by $F'(X)=F(X\times S^1)$, which I believe they call "compactification on ...
10
votes
2answers
358 views

What is the Q-construction, metaphysically?

An exact (small) category $P$ is an environment in which we make sense of the "put-together"-edness of objects via (short) exact sequences. It seems like the K-theory of an exact category encodes the ...
10
votes
1answer
507 views

Is the first differential Pontryagin class a morphism of stacks?

In Cech Cocycles for Characteristic Classes, Jean-Luc Brylinski and Dennis McLaughlin provide explicit formulas for Cech cocycles for characteristic classes of real and complex vector bundles, and ...