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101
votes
5answers
6k views

In (relatively) simple words: What is an inverse limit?

I am a set theorist in my orientation, and while I did take a few courses that brushed upon categorical and algebraic constructions, one has always eluded me. The inverse limit. I tried to ask one of ...
25
votes
4answers
2k views

Simple explanation of a monad

I have been learning some functional programming recently and I so I have come across monads. I understand what they are in programming terms, but I would like to understand what they are ...
18
votes
2answers
456 views

A structural proof that $ax=xa$ forms a monoid

During the discussion on this problem I found the following simple observation: If $M$ is a monoid and $a \in M$ then $\{x: ax = xa\}$ is a submonoid. This is trivial to prove by checking ...
15
votes
4answers
263 views

Why are particular combinations of algebraic properties “better” (richer and more pervasive) than others?

I am a second-year graduate student of pure mathematics. Like most graduate students, I have been exposed to many types of algebraic structures, and it seems standard for the major emphasis, if not ...
12
votes
3answers
145 views

Embeddings $A → B → A$, but $A \not\cong B$?

Are there any nice examples of structures (groups, modules, rings, fields) $A$ and $B$ such that there are embeddings $A → B → A$ while $A \not\cong B$? I would especially like to see an example for ...
11
votes
2answers
145 views

Is there a concept of a “free Hilbert space on a set”?

I am looking for a "good" definition of a Hilbert space with a distinct orthonormal basis (in the Hilbert space sense) such that each basis element corresponds to an element of a given set $X$. Before ...
11
votes
1answer
270 views

Why do free monoids have a “trivial” automorphism group and free groups don't?

Let $X$ be a set and $M$ the free monoid over $X$. Then an automorphism $f$ of $M$ satisfies $f(X)=X$ and so $\text{Aut}(M)$ is canonically isomorphic to $\mathfrak{S}_X$. My Proof: For every word ...
10
votes
4answers
416 views

Are isomorphic structures really indistinguishable?

I always believed that in two isomorphic structures what you could tell for the one you would tell for the other... is this true? I mean, I've heard about structures that are isomorphic but different ...
10
votes
2answers
193 views

Suggestions for a learning roadmap for universal algebra?

I think a useful combination of resources for universal algebra would ideally, when taken together: Provide ample motivation behind the various developments in the field. Either provide powerful ...
9
votes
2answers
188 views

What kind of object is the kernel of a ring homomorphism?

The category $\mathbf{Grp}$ of groups has a zero object, namely the trivial group $1$. Since $\mathbf{Grp}$ is furthermore complete, we have the notion of a kernel of a group homomorphism. The kernel ...
8
votes
1answer
277 views

Combinatorics of term algebras

My question is about the number of terms of size $n$ in term algebras for an arbitrary (finite) signature. A signature is a map $\Sigma : S \rightarrow \mathbb{N}$ from a set $S$ of symbols. We ...
8
votes
1answer
223 views

An exercise in infinite combinatorics from Burris and Sankappanavar

Exercise 6.7 in chapter IV of Burris and Sankappanavar's A Course in Universal Algebra starts as follows: Show that for $I$ countably infinite there is a subset $S$ of the set of functions from ...
7
votes
2answers
331 views

Different ways of constructing the free group over a set.

This could be too broad if we're not careful. I'm sorry if it ends up that way. Let's put together a list of different constructions of the free group $F_X$ over a given set $X$. It seems to be ...
7
votes
1answer
209 views

Software for some universal algebra issues

I am looking for some mathematical software that can help me with a very common task in the realm of universal algebra (as far as I know programs like prover9/mace4 and uacalc do not help with this ...
6
votes
2answers
149 views

In a slice category C/A of a category C over a given object A, What is the role of the identity morphism of A in C with respect to C/A

In a slice category $C/A$ of a category $C$ over a given object $A$, what is the role of the $C$ identity morphism, $A\to A$ ($1_A$), in $C/A$, particularly with respect to composition? I ...
6
votes
1answer
124 views

Using the compactness theorem to disprove axiomatizability

Another model-theoretic exercise from Smirnov's book. Problem: Construct infinite family of varieties such that their union is not axiomatizable. My solution: Denote by $\mathcal{A}_n$ the variety ...
6
votes
4answers
215 views

Any commutative associative operation can be extended to a function on nonempty finite sets

This is a fact we use very frequently in general mathematics when we write such notations as $1+2+3+4$: since we know that $+$ is commutative and associative, we can just "drop the parentheses" and ...
6
votes
1answer
237 views

Lattices are congruence-distributive

$\newcommand{\r}[1]{\mathrel{#1}}$ First, a few definitions. Given a lattice $L$, a congruence on $L$ is an equivalence relation $\theta$, compatible with the lattice operations, i.e. if ...
6
votes
1answer
80 views

Obtaining a binary operation on $X \rightarrow Y$ from a binary operation on $Y$. What, if anything, to make of this observation?

Let $X$ and $Y$ denote sets. Then if $+$ is a binary operation on $Y$, then we can obtain a new binary operation $+'$ on $Y^X$ in a canonical way as follows. $$(f+' g)(x) = f(x)+g(x)$$ Question. The ...
6
votes
1answer
119 views

What is a simple axiomatisation of groups using division?

I recall from an old exercise I did as an undergrad that groups can be axiomatised using division rather than multiplication: A group is a non-empty set equipped with a binary division operator / ...
5
votes
1answer
151 views

What is the most expressive logic such that presentations of algebraic structures “work”?

I feel like this is one of the best questions I've asked in a while. Hope you enjoy it. In my opinion, one of the most important ideas in modern algebra is the idea that we can present algebraic ...
5
votes
1answer
124 views

$\mathbf{N}_5$ as a congruence lattice

A finite lattice is said to be representable if there exists a finite algebra whose congruence lattice is isomorphic to that lattice. As I was reading a paper, I came across the line: "The reader can ...
5
votes
0answers
47 views

Is there a name for the algebra of substructures?

Let $X$ denote an entropic algebra (see here), which just means that all the operations of $X$ are homomorphisms $X^n \rightarrow X.$ Abelian groups are the classic example. Then for any operation of ...
4
votes
4answers
484 views

A doubt in Bergman's notes

On pg. 8 of these notes, Bergman says that a group $G$ contains an inverse operation $i:G\to G$, along with $\mu:G\times G\to G$ and a "neutral element" $e$. Hence, a group should be referred to as ...
4
votes
2answers
287 views

Variety generated by finite fields

Let $K_1,\dotsc,K_n$ be finite fields and let $V$ be the variety of rings, generated by the $K_i$ (rings aren't necessarily unital). I want to figure out what $V$ looks like. By a theorem of Tarski, ...
4
votes
1answer
101 views

How does this definition capture the intuitive notion of an algebra?

On page 15 of this document, the author writes: Definition 1.1.1. Let $\mathcal{E}$ be any category. Given an endofunctor $\Gamma : \mathcal{E} \rightarrow \mathcal{E}$, a $\Gamma$-algebra ...
4
votes
1answer
46 views

In general algebra, is every generating set equipotent to a finite basis itself a basis?

Question. Let $T$ denote an algebraic theory, and suppose $X$ is the $T$-algebra freely generated by a finite set $F \subseteq X$. Suppose $G \subseteq X$ also generates $X$ and that $|G|=|F|$. ...
4
votes
1answer
50 views

Is the existence of finite biproducts a strengthening of commutativity?

Let $T$ denote a monosorted Lawvere theory (call its distinguished object $G$) equipped with a distinguished constant $0 : G \leftarrow 1$ that is "idempotent" in the following sense: for all arrows ...
4
votes
1answer
48 views

Which sentences survive the passage from $X$ to the set of all functions $I \rightarrow X$?

Suppose $X$ is a mathematical structure with a single underlying set which we will also denote $X$, equipped with some functions and relations. Letting $I$ denote an arbitrary non-empty set, we see ...
4
votes
1answer
117 views

Difference between abstract algebra and universal algebra

Wikipedia give this answer "Universal algebra (sometimes called general algebra) is the field of mathematics that studies algebraic structures themselves, not examples ("models") of algebraic ...
4
votes
2answers
177 views

Stone duality for ideals and filters (exercise)

In A Course in Universal Algebra (Burris, Sankapannavar), the exercise 4.4.7-8, p.158, says: Let $A$ be a Boolean algebra. Denote $A^\ast:=\{\text{ultrafilters of }A\}$, and give $A^\ast$ the ...
4
votes
1answer
195 views

Introductory universal algebra question

I've just started reading about universal algebra, and have already hit a problem (see the two bullet points at the bottom). My book gives the following definitions (paraphrased): An operational ...
4
votes
1answer
79 views

The function $f(x)=(x\vee a)\wedge b$ in a lattice.

Is there an algebraic modular lattice $(X,\vee,\wedge)$ and $a,b\in X$ with $a\le b$ such that the function $$f:X\to X$$ $$f(x)=(x\vee a)\wedge b$$ is not $\vee$-homomorphism?
4
votes
1answer
68 views

Associativity, Jacobi, and self-action representations

About a year and a half ago, I was at a talk by Martin Hyland where he suggested that the Jacobi identity is to the associative law as the anticommutative law is to the commutative law. I think this ...
4
votes
2answers
242 views

What is the smallest variety of algebras containing all fields?

A field is a ring whose nonzero elements form a commutative group under multiplication. A field is also a commutative inverse semigroup with respect to multiplication. The unique multiplicative ...
4
votes
1answer
86 views

Reference for understanding coalgebra

I am trying to read this paper, but I have no knowledge of coalgebra and have just started to learn Category Theory so I am struggling to understand it. Are there any references that can explain ...
4
votes
0answers
80 views

Functorial approach to Ideals and Quotients, Multiplicative Sets and Localizations

I have been playing with substructures of commutative rings today and noticed that there is a strong analogy between the formation of quotients and kernels with the formation of localizations with ...
4
votes
1answer
77 views

The “closed” subspaces of topological algebraic structures

Every set-theoretic model of an algebraic theory gives rise to notion of (algebraically) "closed subset" in a canonical fashion; namely, the closed subsets are those that cannot be escaped via the ...
3
votes
4answers
391 views

why is a nullary operation a special element, usually 0 or 1?

Does a nullary operation mean an operation not taking any argument? Then why is a nullary operation a special element, usually 0 or 1, in an algebraic structure? Thanks!
3
votes
3answers
323 views

New kind of identities?

I found a new kind of identities which are half logic and half algebraic while working on a proof of NP-completeness. They are like this: $$ \frac{a+mb}{n+m} < \frac{a}{n} \iff b < ...
3
votes
2answers
126 views

Algebraic Structures: Does Order Matter?

(I want to link to similar question with a very good answer: Question about Algebraic structure?) An algebraic structure is an ordered tuple of sets. One of these is called the underlying set, and ...
3
votes
4answers
235 views

Preserving structures

Category theory abstracts the notion of the preservation of structure by means of morphisms. Is there a description of what it means to preserve structure of different types of mathematical structures ...
3
votes
4answers
159 views

Which texts do you recommend to study universal algebra and lattice theory?

As I'm planning to study some algebraic logic (a lot of!), I found that some knowledge of universal algebra, lattice theory and boolean algebras is a must. I wonder if you have any recommendation to ...
3
votes
2answers
125 views

Should axioms be viewed as part of the signature?

I included category theory in the tags in order to get feedback from the categorial logic community. It goes without saying that this isn't really category theory. A semigroup can be defined as a ...
3
votes
2answers
68 views

Are varieties cocomplete?

Consider a variety $\mathcal{V}$ in a sense of universal algebra, i.e. algebras of some fixed signatures described by a set of identities. Then $\mathcal{V}$ can be thought of as a category with ...
3
votes
3answers
163 views

Free object is a coproduct: $F_{A\cup B}\cong F_A \coprod F_B$

Let $A,B$ be sets, and $A\sqcup B$ the disjoint union. Suppose that in a (concrete) category, the free objects $F_A,F_B,F_{A\sqcup B}$ exist, and that the coproduct $F_A \coprod F_B$ exists. How can I ...
3
votes
2answers
241 views

What is the name of the structure Z4 under subtraction?

If we consider $\mathbb{Z_4}$ under addition, then it forms a cyclic group of order 4. However if we change the binary operation to subtraction on $\mathbb{Z_4}$, we get a different structure $J$ with ...
3
votes
2answers
67 views

Are $e : 1 \rightarrow X$ and $\mathrm{id}_X : X \rightarrow X$ the only operations of $\mathsf{Grp}$ that are homomorphisms?

Let $\mathsf{Grp}$ denote the Lawvere theory of groups. (For concreteness, let us say that $\mathsf{Grp}$ is presented by the generators $c : X \times X \rightarrow X$ $e : 1 \rightarrow X$ $i : X ...
3
votes
1answer
115 views

Can I define a category as a monoid with partially defined multiplication?

A groupoid can either be thought of as a category whose morphisms are isomorphisms, or as a generalization of a group whose multiplication is only partially defined. Can I do a similar thing with ...
3
votes
2answers
90 views

Examples of Stone algebras which are not Boolean algebras

Grätzer, in his Lattice Theory: Foundation, describes a Stone algebra as a distributive lattice with pseudocomplementation $L$ which satisfies the Stone identity: for every $a \in L$, $\neg a \vee ...