The study of algebraic structures and properties applying to large classes of such structures. For example, ideas from group theory and ring theory are extended and considered for structures with other signatures (systems of basic or fundamental operations).

learn more… | top users | synonyms

131
votes
6answers
9k 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 ...
31
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
19
votes
2answers
491 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 ...
18
votes
4answers
346 views

Why are particular combinations of algebraic properties “richer” than others?

Pedagogically, when students are exposed to algebraic structures it seems standard for the major emphasis, if not all the emphasis, to be on groups, rings, R-modules, and categories. These are rich ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

Category Theory vs. Universal Algebra - Any References?

After seeing the answer to the question Category theory, a branch of abstract algebra, I would like to ask Are there literature discussing the difference/indifference/comparison between category ...
13
votes
3answers
164 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
313 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
75 views

Aside from the obvious stuff, do the partial functions that solve the quadratic equation have any interesting properties?

Let us define partial functions $$f_+,f_- : \mathbb{R} \leftarrow \mathbb{R} \times \mathbb{R} \times \mathbb{R}$$ so as to return the zeros of the quadratic $ax^2+bx+c$ whenever they exist, such ...
11
votes
2answers
192 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
457 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
277 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
284 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
299 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 ...
9
votes
0answers
77 views

In which algebraic theories do 'free' and 'projective' coincide?

Free models of algebraic theories are always projective objects in the category of models, but the converse is not always true. For instance, some (actually, all) projective modules are direct ...
8
votes
2answers
417 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
236 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
117 views

What equational properties of a group only need to be checked on a generating set?

Let $G$ be a group and $S\subset G$ a generating set. Let $P$ (short for $P(x_1,\dots,x_n) = 1$) be an equational property that may or may not be satisfied by all $n$-tuples of elements of $G$. My ...
7
votes
2answers
286 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
269 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
127 views

Distributor? Distributive analog of commutator and associator?

Motivation: "the commutator gives an indication of the extent to which a certain binary operation fails to be commutative" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commutator). For example (courtesy of ...
7
votes
1answer
83 views

This is just the Eilenberg-Moore category, right?

Let $F$ denote a monad on $\mathbf{Set}$. Write $\mathbf{Set}_F$ for the corresponding Kleisli category and $\mathbf{Set}^F$ for the Eilenberg-Moore category. On the train home today, it occured to me ...
7
votes
1answer
166 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
230 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
1answer
114 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
180 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
263 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
87 views

Is it possible to delete undesired identifications in algebraic structures?

In algebraic topology, there is a notion of covering space, which essentially "de-identifies" points that look the same but which for certain purposes really shouldn't be considered the same. I was ...
6
votes
1answer
330 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
83 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
58 views

Are pseudoheaps and heaps the same thing?

An exercise in a category textbook asked me to show that the category of pointed heaps and the category of groups are isomorphic. But my proof somehow didn't use the most unintuitive of the defining ...
6
votes
1answer
66 views

Binomial rings closed under colimits?

A binomial ring is a ring (for the purposes of this question all rings are commutative and unital) which is torsion-free and has, for each $n$, a binomial function $\binom{x}{n}$ satisfying ...
6
votes
0answers
69 views

cofree coalgebra: explicit description from its universal property

Let $k$ be a commutative ring. There is a forgetful functor $$U : \mathsf{Coalg}_k \to \mathsf{Mod}_k$$ from $k$-coalgebras to $k$-modules. This has a right adjoint $R : \mathsf{Mod}_k \to ...
6
votes
0answers
79 views

Do torsionfree abelian groups form a (possibly many-sorted) algebraic category?

By "(possibly many-sorted) algebraic category", I mean "category of models of a (possibly many sorted) Lawvere theory. I have arguments for both affirmative and negative answers, and I can't find a ...
6
votes
1answer
126 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
2answers
110 views

Classification of Finite Topologies

Does there exist a classification of finite topologies? I define a finite topology as a finite Set $T$ of Sets which respects the following properties: $\forall a,b \in T: a \cap b \in T$, ...
5
votes
1answer
54 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
169 views

What can we actually do with congruence relations, specifically?

Let $T$ denote a Lawvere theory and $X$ denote a $T$-algebra. Under my preferred definitions: A subalgebra of $X$ consists of a $T$-algebra $Y$ together with an injective homomorphism $Y ...
5
votes
1answer
179 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
2answers
228 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
80 views

Does a power-complete finite pasture exist?

Suppose we define a pasture to be an algebraic structure $\langle M, 0, +, \times, \wedge \rangle$ where $\langle M, 0, +, \times \rangle$ is a ring (not necessarily commutative or unital) $\wedge$ ...
5
votes
1answer
81 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?
5
votes
0answers
99 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 ...
5
votes
0answers
51 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
902 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!
4
votes
4answers
490 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
1answer
987 views

Modus Ponens: implication versus entailment

Would it be inconsistent to write Modus Ponens using only implication, not entailment? $(p \wedge (p \to q)) \to q$ The way I understand is that implication ($ \to$) is an operator that yields a new ...
4
votes
4answers
380 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
627 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
311 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
114 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 ...