# nLab groupoid cardinality

## Theorems

#### Higher category theory

higher category theory

# Contents

## Idea

The homotopy cardinality or $\infty$-groupoid cardinality of a (sufficiently “finite”) space or ∞-groupoid $X$ is an invariant of $X$ (a value assigned to its equivalence class) that generalizes the cardinality of a set (a 0-truncated $\infty$-groupoid).

Specifically, whereas cardinality counts elements in a set, the homotopy cardinality counts objects up to equivalences, up to 2-equivalences, up to 3-equivalence, and so on.

This is closely related to the notion of Euler characteristic of a space or $\infty$-groupoid. See there for more details.

## Definition

### Groupoid cardinality

The cardinality of a groupoid $X$ is the real number

$|X| = \sum_{[x] \in \pi_0(X)} \frac{1}{|Aut(x)|} \,,$

where the sum is over isomorphism classes of objects of $X$ and $|Aut(x)|$ is the cardinality of the automorphism group of an object $x$ in $X$.

If this sum diverges, we say $|X| = \infty$. If the sum converges, we say $X$ is tame. (See at homotopy type with finite homotopy groups).

### $\infty$-Groupoid cardinality

This is the special case of a more general definition:

The groupoid cardinality of an ∞-groupoid $X$ – equivalently the Euler characteristic of a topological space $X$ (that’s the same, due to the homotopy hypothesis) – is, if it converges, the alternating product of cardinalities of the (simplicial) homotopy groups

$|X| := \sum_{[x] \in \pi_0(X)}\prod_{k = 1}^\infty |\pi_k(X,x)|^{(-1)^k} = \sum_{[x]} \frac{1}{|\pi_1(X,x)|} |\pi_2(X,x)| \frac{1}{|\pi_3(X,x)|} |\pi_4(X,x)| \cdots \,.$

This corresponds to what is referred to as the total homotopy order of a space, introduced by Quinn in notes in 1995 on TQFTs (see reference list).

## Examples

• Let $X$ be a discrete groupoid on a finite set $S$ with $n$ elements. Then the groupoid cardinality of $X$ is just the ordinary cardinality of the set $S$

$|X| = n \,.$
• Let $\mathbf{B}G$ be the delooping of a finite group $G$ with $k$ elements. Then

$|\mathbf{B}G| = \frac{1}{k}$
• Let $A$ be an abelian group with $k$ elements. Then we can deloop arbitrarily often and obtain the Eilenberg–Mac Lane objects $\mathbf{B}^n A$ for all $n \in \mathbb{N}$. (Under the Dold–Kan correspondence $\mathbf{B}^n A$ is the chain complex $A[n]$ (or $A[-n]$ depending on notational convention) that is concentrated in degree $n$, where it is the group $A$). Then

$|\mathbf{B}^n A| = \left\{ \array{ k & if n is \; even \\ \frac{1}{k} & if n is \; odd } \right.$
• Let $E = core(FinSet)$ be the groupoid of finite sets and bijections – the core of FinSet. Its groupoid cardinality is the Euler number

$|E| = \sum_{n\in \mathbb{N}} \frac{1}{|S_n|} = \sum_{n\in \mathbb{N}} \frac{1}{n!} = e \,.$
• Let $E=(E_i)$ be a finite crossed complex, (i.e., an omega-groupoid; see the work of Brown and Higgins) such that for any object $v \in E_0$ of $E$ the cardinality of the set of $i$-cells with source $v$ is independent of the vertex $v$. Then the groupoid cardinality of $E$ can be calculated as $|E|=\displaystyle{\prod_{i} \#(E_i)^{(-1)^i}}$, much like a usual Euler characteristic. For the case when $F$ is a totally free crossed complex, this gives a very neat formula for the groupoid cardinality of the internal hom $HOM(F,E)$, in the category of omega-groupoids. Therefore the groupoid cardinality of the function spaces (represented themselves by internal homs) can easily be dealt with if the underlying target space is represented by a omega-groupoid, i.e., has trivial Whitehead products. (This is explored in the papers by Faria Martins and Porter mentioned in the reference list, below.)

## References

Revised on February 2, 2014 06:45:25 by Urs Schreiber (82.113.99.28)