In mathematics, an abelian category is a category in which morphisms and objects can be added and in which kernels and cokernels exist and have desirable properties. The motivating prototypical example of an abelian category is the category of abelian groups, Ab. The theory originated in an effort to unify several cohomology theories by Alexander Grothendieck and independently in the slightly earlier work of David Buchsbaum. Abelian categories are very stable categories; for example they are regular and they satisfy the snake lemma. The class of abelian categories is closed under several categorical constructions, for example, the category of chain complexes of an abelian category, or the category of functors from a small category to an abelian category are abelian as well. These stability properties make them inevitable in homological algebra and beyond; the theory has major applications in algebraic geometry, cohomology and pure category theory. Abelian categories are named after Niels Henrik Abel.
A category is abelian if it is preadditive and
This definition is equivalentto the following "piecemeal" definition:
Note that the enriched structure on hom-sets is a consequence of the first three axioms of the first definition. This highlights the foundational relevance of the category of Abelian groups in the theory and its canonical nature.
The concept of exact sequence arises naturally in this setting, and it turns out that exact functors, i.e. the functors preserving exact sequences in various senses, are the relevant functors between abelian categories. This exactness concept has been axiomatized in the theory of exact categories, forming a very special case of regular categories.
In his Tōhoku article, Grothendieck listed four additional axioms (and their duals) that an abelian category A might satisfy. These axioms are still in common use to this day. They are the following:
and their duals
Axioms AB1) and AB2) were also given. They are what make an additive category abelian. Specifically:
Grothendieck also gave axioms AB6) and AB6*).
Given any pair A, B of objects in an abelian category, there is a special zero morphism from A to B. This can be defined as the zero element of the hom-set Hom(A,B), since this is an abelian group. Alternatively, it can be defined as the unique composition A → 0 → B, where 0 is the zero object of the abelian category.
In an abelian category, every morphism f can be written as the composition of an epimorphism followed by a monomorphism. This epimorphism is called the coimage of f, while the monomorphism is called the image of f.
Subobjects and quotient objects are well-behaved in abelian categories. For example, the poset of subobjects of any given object A is a bounded lattice.
Every abelian category A is a module over the monoidal category of finitely generated abelian groups; that is, we can form a tensor product of a finitely generated abelian group G and any object A of A. The abelian category is also a comodule; Hom(G,A) can be interpreted as an object of A. If A is complete, then we can remove the requirement that G be finitely generated; most generally, we can form finitary enriched limits in A.
Abelian categories are the most general setting for homological algebra. All of the constructions used in that field are relevant, such as exact sequences, and especially short exact sequences, and derived functors. Important theorems that apply in all abelian categories include the five lemma (and the short five lemma as a special case), as well as the snake lemma (and the nine lemma as a special case).
An abelian category is called semi-simple if there is a collection of objects called simple objects (meaning the only sub-objects of any are the zero object and itself) such that an object can be decomposed as a direct sum (denoting the coproduct of the abelian category)
This technical condition is rather strong and excludes many natural examples of abelian categories found in nature. For example, most module categories over a ring are not semi-simple; in fact, this is the case if and only if is a semisimple ring.
Some Abelian categories found in nature are semi-simple, such as
There do exist some natural counter-examples of abelian categories which are not semi-simple, such as certain categories of representations. For example, the category of representations of the Lie group has the representation
which only has one subrepresentation of dimension . In fact, this is true for any unipotent group pg 112.
There are numerous types of (full, additive) subcategories of abelian categories that occur in nature, as well as some conflicting terminology.
Let A be an abelian category, C a full, additive subcategory, and I the inclusion functor.
Here is an explicit example of a full, additive subcategory of an abelian category that is itself abelian but the inclusion functor is not exact. Let k be a field, the algebra of upper-triangular matrices over k, and the category of finite-dimensional -modules. Then each is an abelian category and we have an inclusion functor identifying the simple projective, simple injective and indecomposable projective-injective modules. The essential image of I is a full, additive subcategory, but I is not exact.
Abelian categories were introduced by Buchsbaum (1955) (under the name of "exact category") and Grothendieck (1957) in order to unify various cohomology theories. At the time, there was a cohomology theory for sheaves, and a cohomology theory for groups. The two were defined differently, but they had similar properties. In fact, much of category theory was developed as a language to study these similarities. Grothendieck unified the two theories: they both arise as derived functors on abelian categories; the abelian category of sheaves of abelian groups on a topological space, and the abelian category of G-modules for a given group G.
In mathematics, the inverse limit is a construction that allows one to "glue together" several related objects, the precise gluing process being specified by morphisms between the objects. Thus, inverse limits can be defined in any category although their existence depends of the category that is considered. They are a special case of the concept of limit in category theory.
In mathematics, a category is a collection of "objects" that are linked by "arrows". A category has two basic properties: the ability to compose the arrows associatively and the existence of an identity arrow for each object. A simple example is the category of sets, whose objects are sets and whose arrows are functions.
In mathematics, specifically in category theory, a preadditive category is another name for an Ab-category, i.e., a category that is enriched over the category of abelian groups, Ab. That is, an Ab-categoryC is a category such that every hom-set Hom(A,B) in C has the structure of an abelian group, and composition of morphisms is bilinear, in the sense that composition of morphisms distributes over the group operation. In formulas:
In mathematics, specifically in category theory, an additive category is a preadditive category C admitting all finitary biproducts.
In mathematics, specifically in category theory, a pre-abelian category is an additive category that has all kernels and cokernels.
An exact sequence is a sequence of morphisms between objects such that the image of one morphism equals the kernel of the next.
Homological algebra is the branch of mathematics that studies homology in a general algebraic setting. It is a relatively young discipline, whose origins can be traced to investigations in combinatorial topology and abstract algebra at the end of the 19th century, chiefly by Henri Poincaré and David Hilbert.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and guide to category theory, the area of study in mathematics that examines in an abstract way the properties of particular mathematical concepts, by formalising them as collections of objects and arrows, where these collections satisfy certain basic conditions. Many significant areas of mathematics can be formalised as categories, and the use of category theory allows many intricate and subtle mathematical results in these fields to be stated, and proved, in a much simpler way than without the use of categories.
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Mitchell's embedding theorem, also known as the Freyd–Mitchell theorem or the full embedding theorem, is a result about abelian categories; it essentially states that these categories, while rather abstractly defined, are in fact concrete categories of modules. This allows one to use element-wise diagram chasing proofs in these categories. The theorem is named after Barry Mitchell and Peter Freyd.
In mathematics, particularly homological algebra, an exact functor is a functor that preserves short exact sequences. Exact functors are convenient for algebraic calculations because they can be directly applied to presentations of objects. Much of the work in homological algebra is designed to cope with functors that fail to be exact, but in ways that can still be controlled.
In mathematics, the category Ab has the abelian groups as objects and group homomorphisms as morphisms. This is the prototype of an abelian category: indeed, every small abelian category can be embedded in Ab.
In mathematics, especially in the field of category theory, the concept of injective object is a generalization of the concept of injective module. This concept is important in cohomology, in homotopy theory and in the theory of model categories. The dual notion is that of a projective object.
In mathematics, the category Grp has the class of all groups for objects and group homomorphisms for morphisms. As such, it is a concrete category. The study of this category is known as group theory.
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In category theory, a regular category is a category with finite limits and coequalizers of a pair of morphisms called kernel pairs, satisfying certain exactness conditions. In that way, regular categories recapture many properties of abelian categories, like the existence of images, without requiring additivity. At the same time, regular categories provide a foundation for the study of a fragment of first-order logic, known as regular logic.
In mathematics, an exact category is a concept of category theory due to Daniel Quillen which is designed to encapsulate the properties of short exact sequences in abelian categories without requiring that morphisms actually possess kernels and cokernels, which is necessary for the usual definition of such a sequence.
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In mathematics, a Grothendieck category is a certain kind of abelian category, introduced in Alexander Grothendieck's Tôhoku paper of 1957 in order to develop the machinery of homological algebra for modules and for sheaves in a unified manner. The theory of these categories was further developed in Pierre Gabriel's seminal thesis in 1962.
In mathematics, the Gabriel–Popescu theorem is an embedding theorem for certain abelian categories, introduced by Pierre Gabriel and Nicolae Popescu (1964). It characterizes certain abelian categories as quotients of module categories.