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86
votes
5answers
5k 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 ...
23
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 ...
17
votes
2answers
425 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
127 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
134 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
4answers
202 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
244 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
409 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
156 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
152 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
275 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
213 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
1answer
199 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
114 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
79 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
189 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
211 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
78 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
115 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
111 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
46 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
479 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
271 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
96 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
39 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
47 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
76 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
161 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
2answers
142 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
73 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
65 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
1answer
181 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
2answers
230 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
0answers
58 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
3answers
319 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
124 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
3answers
155 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
227 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
84 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
40 views

Confirmation needed of the fact that subcategory $\mathbf{Lat}$ is not full in $\mathbf{Pos}$

If you are familiar with this stuff then you probably don't need the information I have added. So let me start with the question: Can you prove that category $\mathbf{Lat}$ is not a full ...
3
votes
2answers
58 views

Why are the algebras of the associative operad unital?

According to the n-lab page: The associative operad Assoc is an operad which is generated by a binary operation $\Theta$ satisfying $$\Theta\circ(\Theta,1)=\Theta\circ(1,\Theta)$$ It then ...
3
votes
1answer
148 views

Do filters on a Boolean algebra also make a Boolean algebra?

Let $\mathfrak{B}=(B,\bot,\top,\lnot,\wedge,\vee)$ be a boolean algebra. $B_F$ be the set of all filters on $\mathfrak B$. And for all filter $F$, $G$, $F \wedge_{B_F} G \colon= \mathbf C(F \cup G)$ ...
3
votes
1answer
36 views

Elementary equivalence of models

I'm quite new to model theory, so please correct me if I'm using wrong terminology. I need help with an exercise from Smirnov's book "Varieties of algebras" (In Russian). Problem: Assume that a ...
3
votes
1answer
48 views

Help defining the $\mathrm{supp}$ function on free algebraic structures.

Given an algebraic structure $F(K)$ freely generated by a set $K$ with underlying set $U(F(K))$, I'm trying to define a "support" map $\mathrm{supp} : U(F(K)) \rightarrow \mathcal{P}_\mathrm{fin}(K).$ ...
3
votes
1answer
52 views

Can a quasi-identity express that a function $f$ is surjective? And if not, can this be explained by duality?

Consider a first-order theory having a unary function symbol $f$. Then the following quasi-identity expresses that $f$ is injective. $$\forall xy : f(x)=f(y) \rightarrow x=y$$ Alternatively, we can ...
3
votes
2answers
86 views

For what categories do category algebras exist?

The monoid algebra $R[M]$, for a commutative ring $R$ and a monoid $M$, can be described as the free $R$-algebra on $M$. We think of $R[M]$ as the set of finite formal sums of elements of $M$ with ...
3
votes
2answers
83 views

Categories without identities

What's the name of "categories without identities", i.e. of digraphs with just an associative binary operation on its "matching" arrows (disregarding identities)?
3
votes
1answer
130 views

$M_3$ is a simple lattice

I'd like to prove (exercise 9.5 in Roman's Lattices and Ordered Sets, p.203) that the lattice $M_3$ is simple, meaning that the only congruences on $M_3$ are the trivial ones (the 'equality' ...
3
votes
1answer
112 views

Is the rank of a relatively free group… ill-defined in general?

A relatively free algebra $F$ has a free generating set (basis) $X$ such that any map $f : X \to F$ can be extended to an endomorphism of $F$. It is known that, in general the notion of rank of $F$ ...