## Homology

Today we can define homology before I head up to the Baltimore/DC area for the weekend. Anyone near DC who wants to hear about anafunctors can show up at George Washington University’s topology seminar on Friday.

As a preliminary, we need to know what quotients in an abelian category are. In we think of an abelian group and a subgroup and consider two elements of to be equivalent if they differ by an element of . This causes problems for us because we don’t have any elements to work with.

Instead, remember that comes with an “inclusion” arrow , and that the quotient has a projection arrow . The inclusion arrow is monic, the projection is epic, and an element of the quotient is zero if and only if it comes from an element of that is actually in . That is, we have a short exact sequence . But we know in any abelian category that this short exact sequence means that the projection is the cokernel of the inclusion. So in general if we have a monic we define .

Now we define a chain complex in an abelian category to be a sequence with arrows so that . In particular, an exact sequence is a chain, since the composition of two arrows in the sequence is the zero homomorphism. But a chain complex is not in general exact. Homology will be the tool to measure exactly how the chain complex fails to be exact.

So let’s consider the following diagram

where . We can factor as for an epic and a monic . We can also construct the kernel of . Now , so because is epic. This means that factors through , and the arrow must be monic.

Now, if the sequence were exact then would be the same as , and the arrow we just constructed would be an isomorphism. But in general it’s just a monic, and so we can construct the quotient . When the sequence is exact this quotient is just the trivial object , so the failure of exactness is measured by this quotient.

In the case of a chain complex we consider the above situation with and , so they connect through . We define and , which are both subobjects of . Then the “homology object” is the quotient . We can string these together to form a new chain complex where all the arrows are zero. This makes sense because if we think of the case of abelian groups, consists of equivalence classes of elements of , and when we hit any element of by we get . Thus the residual arrows when we pass from the original chain complex to its homology are all zero morphisms.

Yay! Now we’re talking! 🙂

Seriously, reading these posts of yours makes me think about whether it’d be reasonably easy to feed this kind of homological algebra into Coq, or even, possibly, automate diagram chasing proofs with proof assistants.

Comment by Mikael Johansson | October 4, 2007 |

[…] a couple weeks ago I defined a chain complex to be a sequence with the property that . The maps are called the “differentials” of […]

Pingback by Chain maps « The Unapologetic Mathematician | October 16, 2007 |

[…] We’ve defined chain complexes in an abelian category, and chain maps between them, to form an -category . Today, we define chain […]

Pingback by Chain Homotopies « The Unapologetic Mathematician | October 17, 2007 |

[…] out the sequence with — the trivial space — in either direction. This is just like a chain complex, except the arrows go backwards! Instead of the indices counting down, they count up. We can deal […]

Pingback by De Rham Cohomology « The Unapologetic Mathematician | July 20, 2011 |

[…] Cartan’s formula in hand we can show that the Lie derivative is a chain map . That is, it commutes with the exterior derivative. And indeed, it’s easy to […]

Pingback by The Lie Derivative on Cohomology « The Unapologetic Mathematician | July 28, 2011 |

[…] armed with chains — formal sums — of singular cubes we can use them to come up with a homology theory. Since we will use singular cubes to build it, we call it “cubic singular […]

Pingback by Cubic Singular Homology « The Unapologetic Mathematician | August 9, 2011 |

[…] homology we’ve constructed is actually a functor. That is, given a smooth map we want a chain map , which then will induce a map on homology: […]

Pingback by Functoriality of Cubic Singular Homology « The Unapologetic Mathematician | August 10, 2011 |

[…] The algebra of differential forms — together with the exterior derivative — gives us a chain complex. Since pullbacks of differential forms commute with the exterior derivative, they define a chain […]

Pingback by The Poincaré Lemma (setup) « The Unapologetic Mathematician | December 2, 2011 |