**50**

votes

**9**answers

4k views

### What are the uses of the homotopy groups of spheres?

Pete Clark threw down the challenge in his comment to my answer on Why the heck are the homotopy groups of the sphere so damn complicated?:
Have the homotopy groups of spheres ever been applied to ...

**100**

votes

**10**answers

6k views

### What non-categorical applications are there of homotopical algebra?

(To be honest, I actually mean something more general than 'homotopical algebra' - topos theory, $\infty$-categories, operads, anything that sounds like its natural home would be on the nLab.)
More ...

**68**

votes

**6**answers

3k views

### What properties make $[0,1]$ a good candidate for defining fundamental groups?

The title essentially says it all. Consider the category $\mathfrak{Top}_2$ of triples $(J,e_0,e_1)$ where $J$ is a topological space, and $e_i \in J$. There is an obvious generalization of the ...

**24**

votes

**1**answer

2k views

### What is so “spectral” about spectra?

What is the background of the terminology of spectra in homotopy theory? In what extend does the name "spectrum" fit to the definition and the properties? Also, are there relations to other spectra in ...

**28**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### Integral cohomology (stable) operations

There have been a couple questions on MO, and elsewhere, that have made me curious about integral or rational cohomology operations. I feel pretty familiar with the classical Steenrod algebra and its ...

**6**

votes

**1**answer

902 views

### Homotopy pullbacks of simplicial spaces, and Bousfield-Friedlander

Let $X_\bullet \longrightarrow Y_\bullet \longleftarrow Z_\bullet$ be a diagram of simplicial spaces (=bisimplicial sets, if you like).
On p. 14-9 of these notes there is an example which shows that ...

**4**

votes

**2**answers

477 views

### A fibrant-objects structure on Top

(Sorry for the crossposting, but I'm really interested in this question).
One can define (Paragraph 1.5, page 10) a fibrant-object structure on a suitable cartesian closed category of topological ...

**17**

votes

**7**answers

2k views

### Whitehead for maps

I made the following claim over at the Secret Blogging Seminar, and now I'm not sure it's true:
Let $f: X \to Y$ and $g: X \to Y$ be two maps between finite CW complexes. If f and g induce the same ...

**15**

votes

**2**answers

791 views

### Is homology finitely generated as an algebra?

If a differential graded algebra is finitely generated as an algebra, is its homology finitely generated as an algebra?
Is it easier if we impose any of the three conditions: characteristic zero; ...

**5**

votes

**2**answers

350 views

### A general theory of quasi-functors, generalizing from dg-categories to $\mathcal V$-categories, with $\mathcal V$ monoidal model category

I employ the vast majority of the post to develop the notion of quasi-functor between dg-categories: I think it is important to get the idea.
Let $k$ be a field, and let $\mathcal V =\mathbf C(k)$ ...

**5**

votes

**1**answer

715 views

### A problem on infinite dimensional metric space

Let $(X_{n},d_{n})_{n \in \mathbb{N}}$ be a sequence of complete geodesic metric spaces such that:
$X_{n}$ is a regular$^1$ CW-complex of constant local dimension$^3$ $n$, it is of finite ...

**6**

votes

**2**answers

474 views

### Homotopy problem for infinite dimensional topological space II

This post here is a specification of this post.
Let $(X_{n},d_{n})_{n \in \mathbb{N}}$ be a sequence of intrinsic metric spaces verifying :
$X_{n}$ have topological dimension $n$.
$X_{n+1}$ is ...

**4**

votes

**3**answers

643 views

### Uniquely geodesic and CAT(0) spaces?

Improvement after J-M Schlenker's comment below :
This post has been divided into two parts, the second part is here.
Question : Is a finite dimensional metric space, uniquely geodesic if and only ...

**4**

votes

**1**answer

433 views

### Is there a standard name for a 2-category which has an object z such that, for every object x, the category Hom(x,z) has a terminal object?

Motivation
In Pursuing Stacks, Grothendieck defines what he calls a basic localizer, which is, to put it roughly, a class of functors between small categories with which one can make homotopy in ...

**2**

votes

**0**answers

214 views

### A topos-theoretic thickening of the nerve functor

Let $\Delta$ be the standard cosimplicial space sending $[n]\mapsto \Delta^n\subset \mathbb R^{n+1}$.
Then the correspondence $\delta\colon [n]\mapsto {\rm Sh}(\Delta^n)$ defines a cosimplicial ...

**77**

votes

**4**answers

3k views

### What do the stable homotopy groups of spheres say about the combinatorics of finite sets?

The Barratt-Priddy-Quillen(-Segal) theorem says that the following spaces are homotopy equivalent in an (essentially) canonical way:
$\Omega^\infty S^\infty:=\varinjlim~ \Omega^nS^n$
...

**45**

votes

**6**answers

5k views

### third stable homotopy group of spheres via geometry?

It is ''well-known'' that the third stable homotopy group of spheres is cyclic of order $24$. It is also ''well-known'' that the quaternionic Hopf map $\nu:S^7 \to S^4$, an $S^3$-bundle, suspends to a ...

**34**

votes

**4**answers

6k 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 ...

**22**

votes

**8**answers

3k views

### triangulated vs. dg/A-infinity

Someone recently said "derived/triangulated categories are an abomination that should struck from the earth and replaced with dg/A-infinity versions".
I have a rough idea why this is true ("don't ...

**26**

votes

**3**answers

4k views

### What is the “intuition” behind “brave new algebra”?

Y.I. Manin mentions in a recent interview
the need for a “codification of efficient new intuitive tools, such as … the “brave new algebra” of homotopy theorists”. This makes me puzzle, because I ...

**28**

votes

**4**answers

4k views

### Definition of an E-infinity algebra

Can anyone give me a plain-and-simple
definition of an E-infinity algebra without using
the words "operad," "ring spectrum," or
"stable homotopy"?
Sorry, but I honestly couldn't find it using
all ...

**35**

votes

**9**answers

2k views

### Homotopy as a general organizing principle

One of the realizations that led to the development of Homotopy Type Theory (HoTT) is that the ideas of homotopy theory have very broad applicability in mathematics. Indeed, Quillen model categories ...

**21**

votes

**6**answers

2k views

### Failure of smoothing theory for topological 4-manifolds

Smoothing theory fails for topological 4-manifolds, in that a smooth structure on a topological 4-manifold $M$ is not equivalent to a vector bundle structure on the tangent microbundle of $M$. Is ...

**29**

votes

**3**answers

4k views

### Spaces with same homotopy and homology groups that are not homotopy equivalent?

A common caution about Whitehead's theorem is that you need the map between the spaces; it's easy to give examples of spaces with isomorphic homotopy groups that are not homotopy equivalent. (See Are ...

**22**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Modern Source for Spectra (including Ring Spectra)

I am looking for a modern introduction to Spectra that improves on the treatment by Adams in his "Stable Homotopy and Generalized Homology" notes (by improves I mean taking into account what has been ...

**30**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Are there pairs of highly connected finite CW-complexes with the same homotopy groups?

Fix an integer n. Can you find two finite CW-complexes X and Y which
* are both n connected,
* are not homotopy equivalent, yet
* $\pi_q X \approx \pi_q Y$ for all $q$.
In Are there two ...

**29**

votes

**0**answers

810 views

### Functor that maps to both $KO^n$ and $KO^{-n}$

(my question is also meaningful for complex K-theory, but since Kn(X) is always isomorphic to K-n(X), it's less interesting)
I start by recalling the analytic definition of KO-theory:
The following ...

**17**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### Computing homotopies

Oftentimes, in the standard algebraic topology books (May, Switzer, Whithead, for instance), there are tricky little proofs that depend on proving that two maps are homotopic. This is comparable to ...

**17**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### Classifying Space of a Group Extension

Consider a short exact sequence of Abelian groups -- I'm happy to assume they're finite as a toy example:
$$
0 \to H \to G \to G/H \to 0\ .
$$
I want to understand the classifying space of $G$. Since ...

**16**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### A homotopy commutative diagram that cannot be strictified

By a "homotopy commutative diagram," I mean a functor $F: \mathcal{I} \to \mathrm{Ho}(\mathrm{Top})$ to the homotopy category of spaces. By a "strictification," I mean a lifting of such a functor to ...

**14**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### What determines a model structure?

It is easy to prove that a model structure is determined by the following classes of maps (determined = two model structures with the mentioned classes in common are equal).
cofibrations and weak ...

**24**

votes

**1**answer

2k views

### Are there any “homotopical spaces” ?

This is a somewhat vague question; I don't know how "soft" it is, and even if it makes sense.
[Edit: in the light of the comments, we can state my question in a formally precise way, that is: "Is ...

**17**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Conjectures in Grothendieck's “Pursuing stacks”

I read on the nLab that in "Pursuing stacks" Grothendieck made several interesting conjectures, some of which have been proved since then. For example, as David Roberts wrote in answer to this ...

**16**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Different way to view action of fundamental group on higher homotopy groups

There are a couple of ways to define an action of $\pi_1(X)$ on $\pi_n(X)$. When $n = 1$, there is the natural action via conjugation of loops. However, the picture seems to blur a bit when looking at ...

**14**

votes

**8**answers

2k views

### References for homotopy colimit

(1) What are some good references for homotopy colimits?
(2) Where can I find a reference for the following concrete construction of a homotopy colimit? Start with a partial ordering, which I will ...

**10**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### Why does homotopy behave well with respect to fibrations and homology with respect to cofibrations?

(I apologize that this is a vague question).
I seems to me somehow that homotopy groups behave well with respect to (Serre)-fibrations. For example you get a long exact sequence of homotopy groups ...

**21**

votes

**0**answers

634 views

### Is there a (discrete) monoid M injecting into its group completion G for which BM is not homotopy equivalent to BG?

For a (discrete) monoid $M$, the classifying space $BM$ is the
geometric realization of the nerve of the one object category whose
hom-set is $M$. (This definition gives the usual classfiying space
...

**10**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### Are there two non-homotopy equivalent spaces with equal homotopy groups?

Could someone show an example of two spaces $X$ and $Y$ which are not of the same homotopy type, but nevertheless $\pi_q(X)=\pi_q(Y)$ for every $q$? Is there an example in the CW complex or smooth ...

**33**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### Why the “W” in CGWH (compactly generated weakly Hausdorff spaces)?

In his 1967 paper A convenient category of topological spaces,
Norman Steenrod introduced the category CGH of compactly generated Hausdorff spaces
as a good replacement of the catgory Top topological ...

**12**

votes

**2**answers

972 views

### homotopy type of embeddings versus diffeomorphisms

Previously, I asked a question on mathoverflow comparing smooth embeddings and diffeomorphisms, which received a very interesting and somewhat unexpected answer by Agol. I now ask a further question ...

**5**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Grothendieck spectral sequence and Mayer-Vietoris sequence

Suppose $U'\cup U''=X$ is an open cover $U$ of a topological space $X$ and $F$ is a sheaf on $X$ with values in abelian groups. There is a special instance of the Grothendieck spectral sequence ...

**18**

votes

**3**answers

2k 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

**2**answers

3k views

### Group completion theorem

Let $M$ be a topological monoid. How does the homology-formulation of the group completion theorem, namely (see McDuff, Segal: Homology Fibrations and the "Group-Completion" Theorem)
If $\pi_0$ is ...

**11**

votes

**2**answers

577 views

### Difficulties with the mod 2 Moore Spectrum

I have been informed that there is a reference out there which specifically details what goes wrong with the mod 2 Moore spectrum, i.e. why it is not $A_\infty$ or something? I do not know the ...

**10**

votes

**2**answers

545 views

### What is a Homotopy between $L_\infty$-algebra morphisms

A $L_\infty$-algebra can be defined in many different ways. One common way, that
gives the 'right' kind of morphisms, is that a $L_\infty$-algebra is a graded cocommutative and coassociative ...

**10**

votes

**3**answers

839 views

### What are the fibrant objects in the injective model structure?

If C is a small category, we can consider the category of simplicial presheaves on C. This is a model category in two natural ways which are compatible with the usual model structure on simplicial ...

**5**

votes

**3**answers

899 views

### categorical homotopy colimits

let $hTop_*$ denote the homotopy category of pointed spaces. I believe that it has no pushouts, in general. the reason is that you can't expect the involved homotopies to be compatible. can anyone ...

**33**

votes

**0**answers

858 views

### Homotopy type of TOP(4)/PL(4)

It is known (e.g. the Kirby-Siebenmann book) that $\mathrm{TOP}(n)/\mathrm{PL}(n)\simeq K({\mathbb Z}/2,3)$ for $n>4$. I believe it is also known (Freedman-Quinn) that ...

**17**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### The cell structure of Thom spectra

I would like to understand the cell structure of integrally oriented Thom spectra. A Thom spectrum over a space $X$ is something you can build from a stable spherical bundle, which is classified by a ...

**16**

votes

**1**answer

458 views

### Does the holonomy map define a homomorphism $\pi_k(X)\to\pi_{k-1}(Hol(\nabla))$?

Consider a vector bundle $V\to E\to X$ with fiber $V$, with structure group $G$, and $X$ path-connected. Consider a connection $\nabla$ on $E$. Then for any loop $L$ in $X$, based at $p$, we have a ...