A∞-operad
In the theory of operads in algebra and algebraic topology, an A_{∞}-operad is a parameter space for a multiplication map that is homotopy coherently associative. (An operad that describes a multiplication that is both homotopy coherently associative and homotopy coherently commutative is called an E_{∞}-operad.)
Definition
In the (usual) setting of operads with an action of the symmetric group on topological spaces, an operad A is said to be an A_{∞}-operad if all of its spaces A(n) are Σ_{n}-equivariantly homotopy equivalent to the discrete spaces Σ_{n} (the symmetric group) with its multiplication action (where n ∈ N). In the setting of non-Σ operads (also termed nonsymmetric operads, operads without permutation), an operad A is A_{∞}if all of its spaces A(n) are contractible. In other categories than topological spaces, the notions of homotopy and contractibility have to be replaced by suitable analogs, such as homology equivalences in the category of chain complexes.
A_{n}-operads
The letter A in the terminology stands for "associative", and the infinity symbols says that associativity is required up to "all" higher homotopies. More generally, there is a weaker notion of A_{n}-operad (n ∈ N), parametrizing multiplications that are associative only up to a certain level of homotopies. In particular,
- A_{1}-spaces are pointed spaces;
- A_{2}-spaces are H-spaces with no associativity conditions; and
- A_{3}-spaces are homotopy associative H-spaces.
A_{∞}-operads and single loop spaces
A space X is the loop space of some other space, denoted by BX, if and only if X is an algebra over an A_{∞}-operad and the monoid π_{0}(X) of its connected components is a group. An algebra over an A_{∞}-operad is referred to as an A_{∞}-space. There are three consequences of this characterization of loop spaces. First, a loop space is an A_{∞}-space. Second, a connected A_{∞}-space X is a loop space. Third, the group completion of a possibly disconnected A_{∞}-space is a loop space.
The importance of A_{∞}-operads in homotopy theory stems from this relationship between algebras over A_{∞}-operads and loop spaces.
A_{∞}-algebras
An algebra over the A_{∞} operad is called an A_{∞}-algebra. Examples feature the Fukaya category of a symplectic manifold, when it can be defined (see also pseudoholomorphic curve).
Examples
The most obvious, if not particularly useful, example of an A_{∞}-operad is the associative operad a given by a(n) = Σ_{n}. This operad describes strictly associative multiplications. By definition, any other A_{∞}-operad has a map to a which is a homotopy equivalence.
A geometric example of an A_{∞}-operad is given by the Stasheff polytopes or associahedra.
A less combinatorial example is the operad of little intervals: The space A(n) consists of all embeddings of n disjoint intervals into the unit interval.
See also
References
- Stasheff, Jim (June–July 2004). "What Is...an Operad?" (PDF). Notices of the American Mathematical Society. 51 (6): 630–631. Retrieved 2008-01-17.
- J. P. May (1972). The Geometry of Iterated Loop Spaces. Springer-Verlag.
- Martin Markl; Steve Shnider; Jim Stasheff (2002). Operads in Algebra, Topology and Physics. American Mathematical Society.
- Stasheff, James (1963). "Homotopy associativity of H-spaces. I, II.". Transactions of the American Mathematical Society. 108 (2): 275–292; 293–312. doi:10.2307/1993608. JSTOR 1993608.