The second condition says manifestly that a quasi-category is a simplicial set in which composition of any two composable edges is defined up to a contractible space of choices. This is the coherence law on composition.
An algebraic quasi-category is a quasi-category equipped with a choice of inner horn fillers.
While quasi-categories provide a geometric definition of higher categories, algebraic quasi-categories provide an algebraic definition of higher categories. For more details on this see model structure on algebraic fibrant objects.
In older literature, such as The Joy of Cats, the term “quasicategory” was sometimes used for a “very large” category whose objects are large categories or otherwise built out of proper classes, but nowadays this usage is fairly archaic. See also metacategory
While the geometric definition of (∞,1)-category in terms of quasi-categories elegantly captures all the higher categorical data automatically, it may be of interest in applications to explicitly extract the associators and higher associators encoded by this structure, that would show up in any algebraic definition of the same categorical structure, such as algebraic quasi-categories.
For a discussion of this see
The two basic examples for quasi-categories are
Analogously, every directed topological space has naturally a fundamental (∞,1)-category given by a quasi-category whose -cells are maps that map the 1-skeleton of the topological simplex in an order-preserving way to directed paths in .
The directed homotopy theory that would state that this or a similar construction exhausts all quasicategories up to equivalence, does not quite exist yet.
The point of quasi-categories is that they are supposed to provide a fully homotopy-theoretic refinement of the ordinary notion of category. In particular, all the familiar constructions of category theory have natural analogs in the context of quasi-categories. See for instance
Quasi-categories were originally defined in
They occured as weak Kan complexes in
Vogt’s main theorem involved a category of homotopy coherent diagrams defined on a topologically enriched category and showed it was equivalent to a quotient category of the category of (commutative) diagrams on the same category.
it was shown that this homotopy coherent nerve was a quasi-category if the simplicial enrichment was by Kan complexes.
A systematic study of SSet-enriched categories in this context is in
For several years Joyal has been preparing a textbook on the subject. This still doesn’t quite exist, but an extensive writeup of lecture notes does:
and more recently, with more details
Meanwhile Jacob Lurie, building on Joyal’s work, has considerably pushed the theory further. A comprehensive discussion of the theory of -categories in terms of the models quasi-category and simplicially enriched category is in
Related reviews includes
A previous version of this entry led to the following discussion.
Stephen Gaito: If we want to weaken this even further to provide a simplicial model of, for example, a (∞,2)-category, how would we do this?
Would we apply the lifting condition on all but three of the indices… and if so which three? (The first, last and ????)