Direct limit

Last updated

In mathematics, a direct limit is a way to construct a (typically large) object from many (typically smaller) objects that are put together in a specific way. These objects may be groups, rings, vector spaces or in general objects from any category. The way they are put together is specified by a system of homomorphisms (group homomorphism, ring homomorphism, or in general morphisms in the category) between those smaller objects. The direct limit of the objects , where ranges over some directed set , is denoted by . (This is a slight abuse of notation as it suppresses the system of homomorphisms that is crucial for the structure of the limit.)

Contents

Direct limits are a special case of the concept of colimit in category theory. Direct limits are dual to inverse limits which are also a special case of limits in category theory.

Formal definition

We will first give the definition for algebraic structures like groups and modules, and then the general definition, which can be used in any category.

Direct limits of algebraic objects

In this section objects are understood to consist of underlying sets with a given algebraic structure, such as groups, rings, modules (over a fixed ring), algebras (over a fixed field), etc. With this in mind, homomorphisms are understood in the corresponding setting (group homomorphisms, etc.).

Let be a directed set. Let be a family of objects indexed by and be a homomorphism for all with the following properties:

  1. is the identity of , and
  2. for all .

Then the pair is called a direct system over .

The direct limit of the direct system is denoted by and is defined as follows. Its underlying set is the disjoint union of the 's modulo a certain equivalence relation :

Here, if and , then iff there is some with and and such that . Heuristically, two elements in the disjoint union are equivalent if and only if they "eventually become equal" in the direct system. An equivalent formulation that highlights the duality to the inverse limit is that an element is equivalent to all its images under the maps of the direct system, i.e. whenever .

One naturally obtains from this definition canonical functions sending each element to its equivalence class. The algebraic operations on are defined such that these maps become homomorphisms. Formally, the direct limit of the direct system consists of the object together with the canonical homomorphisms .

Direct limits in an arbitrary category

The direct limit can be defined in an arbitrary category by means of a universal property. Let be a direct system of objects and morphisms in (as defined above). A target is a pair where is an object in and are morphisms for each such that whenever . A direct limit of the direct system is a universally repelling target in the sense that is a target and for each target , there is a unique morphism such that for each i. The following diagram

Direct limit category.svg

will then commute for all i, j.

The direct limit is often denoted

with the direct system and the canonical morphisms being understood.

Unlike for algebraic objects, not every direct system in an arbitrary category has a direct limit. If it does, however, the direct limit is unique in a strong sense: given another direct limit X′ there exists a unique isomorphism X′ → X that commutes with the canonical morphisms.

Examples

Properties

Direct limits are linked to inverse limits via

An important property is that taking direct limits in the category of modules is an exact functor. This means that if you start with a directed system of short exact sequences and form direct limits, you obtain a short exact sequence .

We note that a direct system in a category admits an alternative description in terms of functors. Any directed set can be considered as a small category whose objects are the elements and there is a morphisms if and only if . A direct system over is then the same as a covariant functor . The colimit of this functor is the same as the direct limit of the original direct system.

A notion closely related to direct limits are the filtered colimits. Here we start with a covariant functor from a filtered category to some category and form the colimit of this functor. One can show that a category has all directed limits if and only if it has all filtered colimits, and a functor defined on such a category commutes with all direct limits if and only if it commutes with all filtered colimits. [1]

Given an arbitrary category , there may be direct systems in which don't have a direct limit in (consider for example the category of finite sets, or the category of finitely generated abelian groups). In this case, we can always embed into a category in which all direct limits exist; the objects of are called ind-objects of .

The categorical dual of the direct limit is called the inverse limit. As above, inverse limits can be viewed as limits of certain functors and are closely related to limits over cofiltered categories.

Terminology

In the literature, one finds the terms "directed limit", "direct inductive limit", "directed colimit", "direct colimit" and "inductive limit" for the concept of direct limit defined above. The term "inductive limit" is ambiguous however, as some authors use it for the general concept of colimit.

See also

Notes

  1. Adamek, J.; Rosicky, J. (1994). Locally Presentable and Accessible Categories. Cambridge University Press. p. 15.

Related Research Articles

In mathematics, specifically category theory, a functor is a mapping between categories. Functors were first considered in algebraic topology, where algebraic objects are associated to topological spaces, and maps between these algebraic objects are associated to continuous maps between spaces. Nowadays, functors are used throughout modern mathematics to relate various categories. Thus, functors are important in all areas within mathematics to which category theory is applied.

In mathematics, the inverse limit is a construction that allows one to "glue together" several related objects, the precise manner of the gluing process being specified by morphisms between the objects. Inverse limits can be defined in any category, and they are a special case of the concept of a limit in category theory.

In category theory, a branch of mathematics, the abstract notion of a limit captures the essential properties of universal constructions such as products, pullbacks and inverse limits. The dual notion of a colimit generalizes constructions such as disjoint unions, direct sums, coproducts, pushouts and direct limits.

Distributions, also known as Schwartz distributions or generalized functions, are objects that generalize the classical notion of functions in mathematical analysis. Distributions make it possible to differentiate functions whose derivatives do not exist in the classical sense. In particular, any locally integrable function has a distributional derivative. Distributions are widely used in the theory of partial differential equations, where it may be easier to establish the existence of distributional solutions than classical solutions, or appropriate classical solutions may not exist. Distributions are also important in physics and engineering where many problems naturally lead to differential equations whose solutions or initial conditions are distributions, such as the Dirac delta function.

In mathematics, specifically category theory, adjunction is a relationship that two functors may have. Two functors that stand in this relationship are known as adjoint functors, one being the left adjoint and the other the right adjoint. Pairs of adjoint functors are ubiquitous in mathematics and often arise from constructions of "optimal solutions" to certain problems, such as the construction of a free group on a set in algebra, or the construction of the Stone–Čech compactification of a topological space in topology.

In mathematics, specifically in category theory, a pre-abelian category is an additive category that has all kernels and cokernels.

In mathematics, a comma category is a construction in category theory. It provides another way of looking at morphisms: instead of simply relating objects of a category to one another, morphisms become objects in their own right. This notion was introduced in 1963 by F. W. Lawvere, although the technique did not become generally known until many years later. Several mathematical concepts can be treated as comma categories. Comma categories also guarantee the existence of some limits and colimits. The name comes from the notation originally used by Lawvere, which involved the comma punctuation mark. The name persists even though standard notation has changed, since the use of a comma as an operator is potentially confusing, and even Lawvere dislikes the uninformative term "comma category".

In mathematics, particularly category theory, a representable functor is a certain functor from an arbitrary category into the category of sets. Such functors give representations of an abstract category in terms of known structures allowing one to utilize, as much as possible, knowledge about the category of sets in other settings.

In mathematics, the derived categoryD(A) of an abelian category A is a construction of homological algebra introduced to refine and in a certain sense to simplify the theory of derived functors defined on A. The construction proceeds on the basis that the objects of D(A) should be chain complexes in A, with two such chain complexes considered isomorphic when there is a chain map that induces an isomorphism on the level of homology of the chain complexes. Derived functors can then be defined for chain complexes, refining the concept of hypercohomology. The definitions lead to a significant simplification of formulas otherwise described by complicated spectral sequences.

This is a glossary of properties and concepts in category theory in mathematics.

In category theory, monoidal functors are functors between monoidal categories which preserve the monoidal structure. More specifically, a monoidal functor between two monoidal categories consists of a functor between the categories, along with two coherence maps—a natural transformation and a morphism that preserve monoidal multiplication and unit, respectively. Mathematicians require these coherence maps to satisfy additional properties depending on how strictly they want to preserve the monoidal structure; each of these properties gives rise to a slightly different definition of monoidal functors

In category theory, a branch of mathematics, the diagonal functor is given by , which maps objects as well as morphisms. This functor can be employed to give a succinct alternate description of the product of objects within the category : a product is a universal arrow from to . The arrow comprises the projection maps.

In category theory, a branch of mathematics, a presheaf on a category is a functor . If is the poset of open sets in a topological space, interpreted as a category, then one recovers the usual notion of presheaf on a topological space.

In mathematics, specifically in algebraic topology and algebraic geometry, an inverse image functor is a contravariant construction of sheaves; here “contravariant” in the sense given a map , the inverse image functor is a functor from the category of sheaves on Y to the category of sheaves on X. The direct image functor is the primary operation on sheaves, with the simplest definition. The inverse image exhibits some relatively subtle features.

In category theory, a span, roof or correspondence is a generalization of the notion of relation between two objects of a category. When the category has all pullbacks, spans can be considered as morphisms in a category of fractions.

The Grothendieck construction is a construction used in the mathematical field of category theory.

In mathematics, an approximately finite-dimensional (AF) C*-algebra is a C*-algebra that is the inductive limit of a sequence of finite-dimensional C*-algebras. Approximate finite-dimensionality was first defined and described combinatorially by Ola Bratteli. Later, George A. Elliott gave a complete classification of AF algebras using the K0 functor whose range consists of ordered abelian groups with sufficiently nice order structure.

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 Category theory and related fields of mathematics, an envelope is a construction that generalizes the operations of "exterior completion", like completion of a locally convex space, or Stone–Čech compactification of a topological space. A dual construction is called refinement.

In mathematics, the ind-completion or ind-construction is the process of freely adding filtered colimits to a given category C. The objects in this ind-completed category, denoted Ind(C), are known as direct systems, they are functors from a small filtered category I to C.

References