dendroidal set


Higher algebra

Homotopy theory

homotopy theory, (∞,1)-category theory, homotopy type theory

flavors: stable, equivariant, rational, p-adic, proper, geometric, cohesive, directed

models: topological, simplicial, localic, …

see also algebraic topology



Paths and cylinders

Homotopy groups

Basic facts




Dendroidal sets are a geometric model for higher operads (precisely: multi-coloured symmetric operads / symmetric multicategories). They are to operads and to (∞,1)-operads as simplicial sets are to categories and (∞,1)-categories.

A dendroidal set is something that consists of trees or “dendrices” in the way that a simplicial set consists of simplices: the trees represent the free Set-operads over them, and so a dendroidal set is a structure defined as having consistent probes by free SetSet-operads.

More precisely, the category dSetdSet of dendroidal sets serves to complete the following commuting diagram of functors

Cat Operad N N d sSet dSet, \array{ Cat &\hookrightarrow& Operad \\ {}^{\mathllap{N}}\downarrow && {}^{\mathllap{N_d}}\downarrow \\ sSet &\hookrightarrow& dSet } \,,

where the left vertical functor is the nerve N:N : Cat \to sSet, and where the top horizontal functor includes categories into Set-enriched operads as those operads with only unary operations. Moreover, dSetdSet completes this diagram even as a diagram of most of the evident pairs of adjoint functors. For details see The full diagram of relations below.

Finally, there is a model structure on dendroidal sets which is the operadic analog of the model structure for quasi-categories.


Dendroidal sets


Write Operad for the category of operads, specifically for

operads, also known as symmetric multicategories.


The symmetric tree category is the full subcategory

ΩOperad \Omega \hookrightarrow Operad

of Operad on those symmetric operads that are free on finite rooted non-planar trees.

See (below) for details on the trees appearing here.


A dendroidal set is a presheaf on the tree category Ω\Omega.

The category of dendroidal sets is the functor category

dSet=[Ω op,Set]. dSet = [\Omega^{op}, Set] \,.

Some terminology and notation:

  • For TΩT \in \Omega a tree, write Ω[T]:=Ω(,T)\Omega[T] := \Omega(-,T) for the dendroidal set that it represents.

  • For XX a dendroidal set and TT a tree, the set dSet(Ω[T],X)X(T)dSet(\Omega[T],X) \simeq X(T) (using the Yoneda lemma) is the set of TT-shaped dendrices in XX. One of its elements is called a TT-shaped dendrex, analogous to a simplex in a simplicial set.

Trees and their free operads

We expand on the notion of symmetric/non-planar trees used in definition 3 of dendroidal sets (see for instance (Weiss, section 2.1)).


A finite symmetric rooted tree – or just tree for short, in the following – is a finite poset (T,)(T, \leq) such that

  • it has a bottom element;

  • for each element eTe \in T the set {yT|Te}\{y \in T | T \leq e\} is a linear order under \leq;

and equipped with a subset Lmax(T)L \subset max(T) of the maximal elements of TT.

One has the following terminology


Let ((T,),L)((T, \leq), L) be a tree.

  • An element eTe \in T is called an edge of the tree.

  • The bottom element is called the root of the tree.

  • An edge in LTL \subset T is a leaf of the tree.

  • An edge which is either a leaf or the root is called an outer edge.

  • An edge which is neither a leaf nor the root is called an inner edge.

  • Given a non-leaf edge ee, another edge ee' is called an incoming edge of ee if it is a direct succesor of ee, hence if

    1. eee \leq e';

    2. for any eTe \in T with exee \leq x \leq e' either x=ex = e or x=ex = e'.

    Write in(e)in(e) for the set of incoming edges of ee.

  • For ee a non-leaf edge, the subset v e:={e}in(e)v_e := \{e\} \cup in(e) is called a vertex of (T,)(T, \leq). ee is called the outgoing edge of vv, and the ingoing edges of ee are also called ingoing edges of v ev_e, in(v e):=in(e)in(v_e) := in(e).

  • The valence of a vertex vv is the cardinality |in(v)|{\vert in(v)\vert}.


A typical tree as above is

{ e f v b c u d w r}, \left\{ \array{ {}_{\mathllap{e}}\searrow && \swarrow_{\mathrlap{f}} \\ & \bullet_v \\ && {}_{\mathllap{b}}\searrow && \swarrow_{\mathrlap{c}} \\ & && \bullet_u & \stackrel{d}{\leftarrow} & \bullet_w \\ & && \downarrow^{\mathrlap{r}} } \right\} \,,


  • the arrows depict the edges;

  • the bullets depict vertices;

  • the arrows not starting at a bullet depict leaf edges.

  • the arrow not ending at a bullet depicts the root edge.

The set of incoming edges of vv is {e,f}\{e,f\}, the outgoing edge of vv is bb. The set of incoming edges of uu is {b,c,d}\{b,c,d\}, its outgoing edge is the root edge rr. The set of ingoing edges of ee is the empty set, its outgoing edge is dd.

The valence of vv is 2, that of uu is 3 and that of ww is 0.

Notice that there is no order on the incoming edges of any vertex implied, the fact that there is one in the above picture is an artefact of being a planar diagram for visualization purposes. As a tree, the above is equal to, for instance

{ f e v b c u d w r}, \left\{ \array{ {}_{\mathllap{f}}\searrow && \swarrow_{\mathrlap{e}} \\ & \bullet_v \\ && {}_{\mathllap{b}}\searrow && \swarrow_{\mathrlap{c}} \\ & && \bullet_u & \stackrel{d}{\leftarrow} & \bullet_w \\ & && \downarrow^{\mathrlap{r}} } \right\} \,,

For ((T,),L)((T, \leq ), L) a tree, the corresponding symmetric operad over Set is the one

  • whose set of colours is is TT (the set of edges);

  • whose operations are freely generated from the set of vertices of TT, where the generating operation corresponding to a vertex vv goes from in(v)in(v) to the outgoing edge cc of vv.

More precisely, for every vertex vv and every choice of order (c 1,,c n)(c_1, \cdots, c_n) on in(v)in(v) there is a generating operation

(c 1,,c n)c (c_1, \cdots, c_n) \to c

and the action of an element of the symmetric group σS n\sigma \in S_n takes this to the generator

(c σ(1),,c σ(n))c. (c_{\sigma(1)}, \cdots, c_{\sigma(n)}) \to c \,.

The operad corresponding to the tree from example 1

  • has six colours;

  • has precisely six non-identity operations:

    • the generators vv, uu, ww;

    • the composites u(v,id c,id d)u \circ (v, id_c, id_d) and u(id b,id c,w)u \circ (id_b, id_c, w) and u(v,id c,w)u \circ (v, id_c, w).

The inclusion Ω\Omega \hookrightarrow Operad is the full subcategory on those operads that arise from trees in this way.

Some non-typical trees of importance are the following.


For every nn \in \mathbb{N} there is the linear tree

L n:={ 0 01 1 02 n} L_n := \left\{ \array{ \downarrow^{0} \\ \bullet_{01} \\ \downarrow^{1} \\ \bullet_{02} \\ \vdots \\ \downarrow^{n} } \right\}

with (n+1)(n+1) colors and only unary operations.

The map that sends the simplicial simplex Δ n\Delta^n to L nL_n extends to a functor

ΔΩ \Delta \hookrightarrow \Omega

which exhibits the simplex category as a full subcategory of the tree category.


For each nn \in \mathbb{N} there is the corolla tree

C n:={ l 1 l n } C_n := \left\{ \array{ {}_{\mathrlap{l_1}}\searrow & \cdots & \swarrow_{\mathrlap{l_n}} \\ & \bullet \\ & \downarrow } \right\}

with nn leaves and precisely one vertex.


The trees L 0L_0 and C 0C_0 differ. L 0L_0 is the tree

{} \left\{ \downarrow \right\}

with no vertex, while C 0C_0 is the tree

{ } \left\{ \array{ \bullet \\ \downarrow } \right\}

with a single vertex, which has valence 0.

Operations – Faces and horns of trees

A dendroidal set encodes composition of operations in analogy to how a simplicial set encodes composition of edges: by way of horn extensions. In order to formalize this one uses the dendroidal analog of faces of a simplex, generalized from the simplex category to the tree category.

To motivate the definition of dendroidal face maps, first consider the reformulation of simplicial faces under the map i !:sSetdSeti_! : sSet \to dSet.

Under this embedding the nn-simplex Δ[n]\Delta[n] becomes the operad corresponding to the linear tree L nL_n, example 3

a 01b 02c (n1)n \stackrel{a}{\to} \bullet_{01} \stackrel{b}{\to} \bullet_{02} \stackrel{c}{\to} \cdots \to \bullet_{(n-1) n} \to

with unary operations i(i+1)\bullet_{i (i+1)}.

The face inclusion δ i:Δ[n1]Δ[n]\delta_i : \Delta[n-1] \to \Delta[n] which simplicially omits the iith vertex, operadically contracts away the iith color, i.e it is the morphism of operads that sends the unary operation (i1)i\bullet_{(i-1)i} to the unary operation

i(i+1) (i1)i \bullet_{i (i+1)} \circ \bullet_{(i-1) i }

and sends all other generating unary operation to generating unary operations.

From this it is clear that for any tree the map that exhibits the contraction of one edge should be a dendroidal face map. However, there are also some more cases to be taken care of. One has

  1. inner face maps – obtained by contracting an inner edge

  2. outer face maps – obtained by

    1. removing an outer input vertex

    2. removing a vertex whose output is the root and which has precisely one inner incoming edge (which becomes the new root)

    3. a corolla face – any one of the inclusions of the tree with no vertex into a tree with precisely one vertex


For TΩT \in \Omega a tree and ee an inner edge , write T/eT/e for the tree obtained by contracting/discarding this inner edge. There is a canonical inclusion

e:T/eT \partial_e : T/e \to T

in Ω\Omega.

This is called an inner face map of TT.



T={ v e } T = \left\{ \array{ \searrow && \swarrow \\ & v \\ \searrow & & \searrow^e \\ & \bullet &\to& \bullet &\to& \\ \nearrow } \right\}


T/e={ } T/e = \left\{ \array{ \searrow && \searrow& & \swarrow \\ & \bullet &\to& \bullet &\to& \\ \nearrow } \right\}

and the inclusion T/eTT/e \to T is the operad morphism that is the identity on the operation \array{ \searrow \\ & \bullet & \to \\ \nearrow } and which sends the trinary operation \array{ \searrow && \swarrow \\ \to & \bullet & \to } to the composite trinary operation e \array{ \searrow && \swarrow \\ & \bullet \\ & & \searrow^e \\ & &\to& \bullet &\to& \\ }

In contrast to that, outer edges are always removed together:


If vv is a vertex of TT such that all but one edge incident on it are outer, then denote by T/vT/v the tree obtained by discarding vv and all the outer edges indicent on it. There is then again a canonical inclusion

v:T/vT. \partial_v : T/v \to T \,.

This is called an outer face map.


With TT as from example 5, we have

T/v={ e }. T/v = \left\{ \array{ \searrow & & \searrow^e \\ & \bullet &\to& \bullet &\to& \\ \nearrow } \right\} \,.

Let TT be a corolla tree, example 4. There are n+1n+1 injections of the tree L 0L_0 with no vertex || into the corolla with nn inputs.

| . | \hookrightarrow \array{ \searrow &\cdots & \swarrow \\ & \bullet \\ & \downarrow } \,.

These are called corolla face maps and counted as outer face maps.

In terms of these face maps there is now a notion of boundary and horn of a tree in direct analogy to the notion of boundary of a simplex and horn in a simplex.


Let TT be a tree and let Faces(T)Ω /TFaces(T) \subset \Omega_{/T} be the set of all its face maps αΩ[T]Ω[T]\partial_\alpha \Omega[T] \to \Omega[T] , as defined above. The boundary of TT is the dendroidal set

Ω[T]:= αFaces(T) αΩ[T] \partial \Omega[T] := \coprod_{\alpha \in Faces(T)} \partial_\alpha \Omega[T]

given by the union of all these faces in Ω[T]\Omega[T].

For given αFaces(T)\alpha \in Faces(T), the α\alpha-horn Λ α[T]dSet\Lambda^\alpha[T] \in dSet of TT is the union of all faces except this one:

Λ α[T]:= (βα)Faces(T) βΩ[T]. \Lambda^\alpha[T] := \coprod_{(\beta \neq \alpha) \in Faces(T)} \partial_\beta \Omega[T] \,.

A horn is called an outer horn or an inner horn depending on whether the omitted face is outer or inner, respectively.

The inner horn corresponding to the inner face map given by contraction an edge ee is canonically denoted Λ aΩ[T]\Lambda^a \Omega[T].

These definitions are due to (Weiss (thesis)) and (MoerdijkWeiss).


This is a genuine generalization of the notion of horns and boundaries of simplices. The outer/inner horns of the nn-simplex Δ[n]\Delta[n] are taken by i !:sSetdSeti_! : sSet \to dSet precisely to the outer/inner hors of the linear tree L n=i !(Δ n)L_n = i_!(\Delta^n).


For Λ αΩ[T]Ω[T]\Lambda^\alpha \Omega[T] \to \Omega[T] a horn inclusion and for XdSetX \in dSet a dendroidal set, an α\alpha-horn in XX is a morphism of simplicial set

Λ αΩ[T]X. \Lambda^\alpha \Omega[T] \to X \,.

A filler of this horn in XX is an extension σ\sigma in

Λ αΩ[T] X Ω[T]. \array{ \Lambda^\alpha \Omega[T] &\to& X \\ \downarrow & \nearrow \\ \Omega[T] } \,.

Choices of dendroidal inner horn fillers correspond to choices of composites of operations.

A dendrex Ω[T]X\Omega[T] \to X encodes a collection of operations and choices of theor composite in XX.

An inner horn Λ eΩ[T]X\Lambda^e \Omega[T] \to X encodes a choice of operations in XX and their composites except a choice for the composition of operations along ee. Picking a filler for this inner horn is picking such a choice.

The outer horn fillers have different interpretation. They correspond to choices of a) inverses of linear operations 2) invertible elements of nn-ary operation.

For more on this see model structure on dendroidal sets.

Skeletal filtration


For XdSetX \in dSet a dendroidal set and nn \in \mathbb{N}, write Sk n(X)dSetSk_n(X) \in dSet for the dendroidal set which is generated from the non-degenerate TT-dendrices for |T|n{\vert T\vert} \leq n.

The sequence of inclusions

Sk 0(X)Sk 1(X)Sk 2(X)X Sk_0(X) \hookrightarrow Sk_1(X) \hookrightarrow Sk_2(X) \hookrightarrow \cdots \hookrightarrow X

is called the skeletal filtration of XX.

Normal monomorphisms and normal dendroidal sets

A key fact in the theory of simplicial sets is that the monomorphisms there are generated under pushout, transfinite composition and retracts from the boundary inclusions (indeed the model structure on simplicial sets is a cofibrantly generated model category with generating cofibrations the boundary inclusions).

For dendroidal sets the boundary inclusions turn out not to generate all monomorphisms, but just a subclass called the normal monomorphisms. We discuss now the definition and some basic propoerties of normal monomorphisms. Most of these are a specialization of the general notion of normal morphisms over a generalized Reedy category to the generalized Reedy category Ω\Omega.

Lemma (face maps are the monomorphisms)

The inner and outer face morphisms e\partial_e and v\partial_v are precisely the monomorphisms in the tree category Ω\Omega.


Lemma 3.1 in MoeWei07.

The boundary of a tree is the union of all its face dendroidal sets

Ω[T]= eEdges(T)Ω[ eT] vVertices(T)Ω[ vT]. \partial \Omega[T] = \cup_{e \in Edges(T)} \Omega[\partial_e T] \cup_{v \in Vertices(T)} \Omega[\partial_v T] \,.

Compare to boundary of a simplex.

Analogously then to the notion of horn of a simplex, for dd an edge of TT the union

Λ eΩ[T]= edEdges(T)Ω[ eT] vVertices(T)Ω[ vT] \Lambda^e \Omega[T] = \cup_{e \neq d \in Edges(T)} \Omega[\partial_e T] \cup_{v \in Vertices(T)} \Omega[\partial_v T]

of dendroidal sets is the inner horn of TT at ee, and for ww an outer face the union

Λ wΩ[T]= edEdges(T)Ω[ eT] vwVertices(T)Ω[ vT] \Lambda^w \Omega[T] = \cup_{e \neq d \in Edges(T)} \Omega[\partial_e T] \cup_{v \neq w \in Vertices(T)} \Omega[\partial_v T]

is the outer horn at ww.

We have the canonical boundary inclusions

Ω[T]Ω[T] \partial \Omega[T] \to \Omega[T]

and horn inclusions

Λ αΩ[T]Ω[T]. \Lambda^\alpha \Omega[T] \to \Omega[T] \,.

A monomorphism XYX \to Y of dendroidal sets is called normal if for any tree TT, any non-degenerate dendrex yY(T)y \in Y(T) which does not belong to the image of X(T)X(T) has a trivial stabilizer subgroup Aut(T) yAut(T)Aut(T)_y \subset Aut(T) of the automorphism group of TT.

A dendroidal set XX is called normal if X\emptyset \hookrightarrow X is a normal monomorphism.


This is unrelated to the notion of normal monomorphism in a context with zero morphisms.

Here are some equivalent characterizations of normality.


A dendroidal set XX is normal precisely if for every nn \in \mathbb{N} the canonical commuting diagram

[Ω[T]ndX]Ω[T] Sk n(X) [Ω[T]ndX]Ω[T] Sk n+1(X) \array{ \coprod_{[\Omega[T] \stackrel{nd}{\to} X]} \partial \Omega[T] &\to& Sk_n(X) \\ \downarrow && \downarrow \\ \coprod_{[\Omega[T] \stackrel{nd}{\to} X]} \Omega[T] &\to& Sk_{n+1}(X) }

is a pushout diagram, where {Sk n(X)}\{Sk_n(X)\} is the skeletal filtration, def. 12 and where the coproduct is over isomorphism classes of non-degenerate dendrices.


A monomorphism f:XYf : X \to Y in dSetdSet is normal precisely if for every TΩT \in \Omega the action of the automorphism group Aut(T)Aut(T) on Y(T)X(T)Y(T)-X(T) is a free action.

Accordingly, a dendroidal set YY is normal precisely if for every TΩT \in \Omega the action of Aut(T)Aut(T) on Y(T)Y(T) is free.

This is (CisMoer09, prop 1.5).


For f:XYf : X \to Y any morphism between dendroidal sets, then

  • if YY is normal, then XX is normal;

  • if YY is normal and ff is monic, then ff is normal.

  • For every tree TT, the dendroidal set Ω[T]\Omega[T] is normal.

  • For every simplicial set, the dendroidal set i !(X)i_!(X) is normal.


The class of normal morphisms in dSetdSet is generated from the boundary inclusions under

In particular it is closed under these operations.

This is (CisMoer09, prop 1.4).

Boardman-Vogt tensor product

As any category of presheaves, dSetdSet is a cartesian monoidal category. However, the cartesian tensor product is not the natural one with respect to the inclusion of operads into dendroidal sets. The natural monoidal structure on Operad is rather a generalization of the Boardman-Vogt tensor product.



N d():Ω×ΩOperad×OperadOperadN ddSet N_d(-\otimes -) : \Omega \times \Omega \hookrightarrow Operad \times Operad \hookrightarrow Operad \stackrel{N_d}{\to} dSet

for the functor that forms the Boardman-Vogt tensor product of the free operads given by two trees, and then regards the result as a dendroidal set by the dendroidal nerve, def. 15.

The tensor product of dendroidal sets is the Yoneda extension

:dSet×dSetdSet -\otimes - : dSet \times dSet \to dSet

of this functor, hence the unique such functor which preserves colimits in both variables and coincides with the BV-tensor product of operads on Ω\Omega.

With respect to this tensor product is dSetdSet a closed monoidal category. This is discussed below.


For ABA \to B and XYX \to Y in dSetdSet two normal monomorphisms, def. 13, the canonical morphism out of their pushout product

(AY) AX(BX)BY (A \otimes Y) \coprod_{A \otimes X} (B \otimes X) \to B \otimes Y

is also normal.

This is (CisMoer09, prop 1.9).


Relation to simplicial sets

Write 00 for the tree consisting of a single edge. Let Ω/0\Omega/0 be the over category. By inspection one sees that


There is an equivalence of categories

Ω/0Δ \Omega/0 \simeq \Delta

of the slice with the simplex category.

Moreover, the over-category of all dendroidal sets over η:=Ω[0]\eta := \Omega[0] is the category sSet of simplicial sets

dSet/Ω[0]sSet. dSet/\Omega[0] \simeq sSet \,.

By general properties of Kan extension we have the following


The corresponding canonical forgetful functor

i:ΔΩ/0Ω i : \Delta \stackrel{\simeq}{\to} \Omega/0 \to \Omega


  1. a full and faithful functor;

  2. a sieve.


The functor i:ΔΩi : \Delta \to \Omega induces an adjoint triple

(i !i *i *):sSeti *i *i !dSet, (i_! \dashv i^* \dashv i_*) : sSet \stackrel{ \overset{i_!}{\hookrightarrow} }{ \stackrel{\overset{i^*}{\leftarrow}}{\underset{i_*}{\hookrightarrow}} } dSet \,,


  • i *i^* is given by precomposition with ii;

  • i !i_! is a full and faithful functor defined equivalently as

    • the left adjoint to i *i^*;

    • the left Kan extension of ii;

    • the canonical functor sSetdSet/Ω[0]dSetsSet \stackrel{\simeq}{\to} dSet/\Omega[0] \to dSet;

    • the functor that sends XsSetX \in sSet to

      i !(X):T{X n ifTislinearwithnvertices; otherwise. i_!(X) : T \mapsto \left\{ \array{ X_n & if\,T\,is\,linear\,with\,n\,vertices; \\ \emptyset & otherwise } \right. \,.

Hence i !i_! is a full and faithful functor, and hence (see the discussion at adjoint triple) so is i *i_*.

Accordingly, i:sSetdSeti : sSet \hookrightarrow dSet is an open geometric embedding of presheaf toposes.


The dendroidal set i !([n])i_!([n]) that corresponds to the nn-simplex is the linear tree; example 3, with (n+1)(n+1)-edges:

i([n])=(012n). i([n]) = \left( \stackrel{0}{\to} \bullet \stackrel{1}{\to} \bullet \stackrel{2}{\to} \cdots \bullet \stackrel{n}{\to} \right) \,.

We think of each bullet as a unary operation – an ordinary morphismnn+1\stackrel{n}{\to}\bullet \stackrel{n+1}{\to} from the object nn to the object (n+1)(n+1).

Notice that this is hence Poincaré-dual to how one tends to visualize [n][n] itself

[n]=(012n) [n] = (0 \to 1 \to 2 \to \cdots \to n)

and how one tends to visualize morphisms n(n+1)n \to (n+1).

The embedding of simplicial sets into dendroidal sets compatibly relates the Cartesian monoidal structure (sSet,×)(sSet, \times) with the Boradman-Vogt monoidal structure (dSet, BV)(dSet, \otimes_{BV})


The functor

i !:(sSet,×)(dSet, BV) i_! : (sSet, \times) \to (dSet, \otimes_{BV})

is a strong monoidal functor, in that for all X,YsSetX, Y \in sSet there is a natural isomorphism

i !(X×Y)i !(Y) BVi !(Y) i_!(X \times Y) \simeq i_!(Y) \otimes_{BV} i_!(Y)

in dSetdSet.

Moreover, (i !i *)(i_! \dashv i^*) respects the internal hom of dendroidal sets, prop. \ref{TheClosedMonoidalStructure}, in that for all X,YsSetX,Y \in sSet and DdSetD \in dSet

  • i *[i !(X),D] BV[X,i *(D)]i^* [i_!(X), D]_{BV} \simeq [X, i^*(D)];

and hence in particular

  • i *[i !(X),i !(Y)] BV[X,Y]i^* [i_!(X), i_!(Y)]_{BV} \simeq [X, Y].

This appears as (Moerdijk-Weiss, prop. 5.3).

Relation to SetSet-operads – dendroidal nerve

By the general notion of nerve and realization, the inclusion ΩOperad\Omega \hookrightarrow Operad from def. 2 induces a nerve operation on operads with values in simplicial sets.


For OOperadO \in Operad an operad, its dendroidal nerve is the dendroidal set given by

N d(O):THom Operad(T,O). N_d(O) : T \mapsto Hom_{Operad}(T, O) \,.

This extends to a functor

N d:OperaddSet. N_d : Operad \to dSet \,.

By general properties of nerve and realization we have:


The dendroidal nerve has the following properties.

See for instance (Moerdijk-Weiss, section 4).

For XX a dendroidal set, τ d(X)\tau_d(X) is also called the operad generated by XX.

In conclusion we find reflective subcategory

(τ dN d):OperadN dτ ddSet. (\tau_d \dashv N_d) : Operad \stackrel{\overset{\tau_d}{\leftarrow}}{\underset{N_d}{\hookrightarrow}} dSet \,.

This is compatible with the Boardman-Vogt tensor product as defined above:


The functor τ d:(dSet,)(Operad, BV)\tau_d : (dSet, \otimes) \to (Operad, \otimes_{BV}) is a strong monoidal functor, in that for all X,YdSetX, Y \in dSet there is a natural isomorphism

τ d(XY)τ d(X) BVτ d(Y). \tau_d(X \otimes Y ) \simeq \tau_d(X) \otimes_{BV} \tau_d(Y) \,.

This appears as (Moerdijk-Weiss, prop. 5.2).


Since τ dN did\tau_d N_d \simeq id in particular we have for all P,QOperadP, Q \in Operad an isomorphism

τ d(N d(P)N d(Q))P BVQ. \tau_d (N_d(P) \otimes N_d(Q)) \simeq P \otimes_{BV} Q \,.

Relation to sSetsSet-operads – homotopy coherent dendroidal nerve

The dendroidal nerve of Set-operads discussed above is important for setting up the model of dendroidal sets. But the usefulness of the model comes from its relation to sSet/Top-enriched operads (topological operads) via an operadic generalization of the homotopy coherent nerve that sends sSet-enriched categories to simplicial sets.

Write Operad sSetOperad_sSet for the category of sSet-enriched operads (simplicial operads). Write

W H:Operad sSetOperad sSet W_H : Operad_sSet \to Operad_sSet

for the Boardman-Vogt resolution functor.

The restriction of this along the inclusion of free Set-operads

ΩOperadOperad sSetW HOperad sSet, \Omega \hookrightarrow Operad \hookrightarrow Operad_{sSet} \stackrel{W_H}{\to} Operad_{sSet} \,,

which will also be denoted just W HW_H in the following, canonically induces nerve and realization functors:


The dendroidal homotopy coherent nerve of a simplicial operad PP is the dendroidal set hcN d(P)hcN_d(P) given by

hcN d(P):THom Operad sSet(W H(T),P). hcN_d(P) : T \mapsto Hom_{Operad_{sSet}}(W_H(T), P) \,.

This extends to a functor

hcN d:Operad sSetdSet. hcN_d : Operad_{sSet} \to dSet \,.

We write

|| H:dSetOperad sSet {\vert -\vert}_H : dSet \to Operad_{sSet}

(or W !W_! as here) for the corresponding left adjoint realization.

Via this adjunction

(|| HhcN d):Operad sSetdSet ({\vert -\vert}_H \dashv hcN_d) : Operad_{sSet} \to dSet

we may understand generally the theory of dendroidal sets as being about BV-resolutions of simplicial operads.


Let POperad sSetP \in Operad_{sSet}.

There is an isomorphism of simplicial operads

W H(P)|hcN dP| H W_H(P) \stackrel{\simeq}{\to} {\vert hcN_d P \vert}_H

between the Boardman-Vogt resolution W H(P)W_H(P) of PP and the homotopy-realization of its homotopy-coherent dendroidal nerve.

All of this is an operadic generalization of the relation between quasi-categories and simplicial categories.

The full diagram of relations

The above functors between dendroidal sets and simplicial sets (here) and operads (here) arrange into the following diagram

sSet i *i ! dSet τ N τ d N d Cat j *j ! Operad, \array{ sSet &\stackrel{\overset{i_!}{\to}}{\underset{i^*}{\leftarrow}}& dSet \\ {}^\mathllap{\tau} \downarrow \uparrow^{\mathrlap{N}} && {}^{\mathllap{\tau_d}} \downarrow \uparrow^{N_d} \\ Cat & \stackrel{\overset{j_!}{\to}}{\underset{j^*}{\leftarrow}} & Operad } \,,

where functors on the left and on top are left adjoints to those on the right and on the bottom, respectively.

This commutes in three of four possible ways, up to natural isomorphism in that

  1. j !ττ di !j_! \tau \simeq \tau_d i_!;

  2. Nj *i *N dN j^* \simeq i^* N_d;

  3. i !NN dj !i_! N \simeq N_d j_!.

There is also a natural transformation

τi *j *τ d, \tau i^* \Rightarrow j^* \tau_d \,,

but not all of its components are isomorphisms.

Moreover, N,N dN, N_d,i !,j !i_!, j_! are full and faithful functors and hence (see the properties of adjoint functors)

  1. τNid\tau N \simeq id;

  2. τ dN did\tau_d N_d \simeq id;

  3. i *i !idi^* i_! \simeq id;

  4. j *j !idj^* j_! \simeq id.

Structure on dSetdSet

Homotopical monoidal structure

Heuts-Hinich-Moerdijk 13, section 6.3

sSetsSet-enriched structure

Using the fact that dSetdSet is a closed monoidal category with internal hom dendroidal sets [C,D][C,D] for dendroidal sets CC and DD, and using the functor i *:dSetSSeti^* : dSet \to SSet we obtain canonically the structure of an simplicially enriched category / sSet-enriched category on dSetdSet with the hom-simplicial set between CC and DD being i *[C,D]i^*[C,D].

Model category structure

The category dSetdSet carries the Cisinski-Moerdijk model structure on dendroidal sets. With this model structure it forms a monoidal model category.

Together with the fact that i *:dSetsSeti^*: dSet \to sSet is a right Quillen functor (with respect to the model structure for quasi-categories) this imples that dSetdSet is an sSet JoyalsSet_{Joyal}-enriched model category (but not, without further work, an sSet QuillensSet_{Quillen}-enriched model category!).


Surveys of the theory as developed currently include:

Dendroidal sets were introduced in

A discussion of dendroidal inner Kan complexes (see also at model structure on dendroidal sets) appeared in

The thesis

contains essentially the material of these two articles, together with a discussion of broad posets.

The model structure for dendroidal complete Segal spaces and the model structure for Segal operads was constructed in

Normal morphisms of dendroidal sets are discussed for instance around prop. 1.4 of

See also

  • Gijs Heuts, Vladimir Hinich, Ieke Moerdijk, On the equivalence between Lurie’s model and the dendroidal model for infinity-operads(arXiv:1305.3658)

Revised on November 3, 2017 17:14:03 by Urs Schreiber (