# nLab T-Grothendieck construction

## Idea

The T-Grothendieck construction generalizes the displayed category construction to models of an algebraic theory T. The ordinary displayed category construction is the instance when T is the theory of categories. This construction forms an equivalence between models of T in the category of indexed sets, and models of T in the arrow category of Set. The T-Grothendieck construction answers the following question: which objects classify morphisms of the models of an algebraic theory T?

## Definition

The T-Grothendieck construction relies on internalizing models of $T$ in the category of indexed sets and the arrow category of $Set$.

###### Definition

An indexed set is a function $f: X \to Set$. The set $X$ is called the indexing set, and the set $f(x)$ for $x \in X$ is called the fiber over $x$.

###### Definition

Let $IndSet$ be the category whose objects are functions $a: X \to Set$ and a morphism from $a$ to $b: Y \to Set$ is a function $f: X \to Y$ and an $X$-indexed family of functions $\alpha_x: a(x) \to b(f(x))$. Let $Set^{\to}$ be the arrow category of Set.

The T-Grothendieck construction is the forward direction of the following equivalence:

###### Theorem

There is an equivalence of categories

$\int_T : [T,IndSet] \cong [T,Set^{\to}]$

###### Proof

There is an equivalence of categories

$IndSet \cong Set^{\to}$

An indexed set $f : X \to Set$ is sent to the function $p: \int f \to X$ where $\int f = \{ (x,a) | a \in f(x) \}$ and $p$ is the projection onto the first coordinate. The inverse mapping of this equivalence sends a function $f: Y \to X$ to its preimage mapping $f^{-1}: X \to Set$. The functor category is a 2-functor

$[T,-] : Cat \to Cat$

sending a category $C$ to the functor category $[T,C]$, sending a functor $F: C \to D$ to the functor from $[T,F]:[T,C]\to [T,D]$ given by composition with $F$, and sending a natural transformation $\alpha : F \Rightarrow G$ to the natural transformation $[T,\alpha]: [T,F] \Rightarrow [T,G]$ given by whiskering the functors in the image of $[T,F]$ by $\alpha$. Because every 2-functor preserves equivalences, the equivalence $IndSet \cong Set^{\to}$ is sent to the desired one.

## Examples

• When T is the theory of categories we recover the displayed category construction. This relies on an equivalence
$[Th(Cat),IndSet] \cong Cat/Span_{lax}$

where the latter category is the category of displayed categories i.e.\ lax functors into the bicategory of spans and functional natural transformations between them.

• When T is the theory of graphs, we get an equivalence
$Grph/USpan \cong Grph^{\to}$

between the category of graph morphisms with codomain $USpan$, the graph whose vertices are sets and whose edges are spans and the arrow category of $Grph$. This example is like the previous example but with less structure.

• When T is the theory of monoids we get an equivalence
$[Th(Mon),IndSet] \cong Mon^{\to}$

which unpacks morphisms of monoids into “indexed monoids” i.e.\ indexing monoids $M$ equipped with fiberwise monoids whose operations are coherent with the operations of $M$.

Created on January 15, 2023 at 12:57:46. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.