What “locally looks like” means depends on what sort of structure we are considering a Cartesian space to embody. At one extreme, we can think of as merely a topological space. Or, may be considered as carrying more rigid types of structure, such as -differential structure, smooth structure, piecewise-linear (PL) structure, real analytic structure, affine structure, hyperbolic structure, foliated structure, etc., etc. Accordingly we have notions of topological manifold, differential manifold, smooth manifold, etc. By default these are modeled on finite dimensional spaces, but most notions have generalizations to a corresponding notion of infinite dimensional manifold.
graphics grabbed from Frankel
In any case, the type of geometry embodied in a particular flavor of manifold is controlled by a particular groupoid or, more generally, category of transformations which preserves whatever geometric features one is interested in; cf. Felix Klein’s Erlanger Programm.
We will present two possible definitions. The first, via pseudogroups, has a simpler definition, but has two (rather serious) drawbacks:
The second definition via cartologies was proposed by Todd Trimble to solve the above two problems.
The setting is a topological space together with a pseudogroup on . For the sake of concreteness, the reader may as well focus on the case and is the groupoid of diffeomorphisms between open subsets of .
Two charts and are compatible if
belongs to .
Note that the definition of a chart per se does not involve . The pseudogroup is involved only when we have to decide whether two charts are compatible.
This means that we can think of a -manifold as a space which is locally modeled on according to the geometry .
Usually, in the definition of manifold it is understood that the underlying topological space
Often it is also assumed that the topology has a countable basis as well.
An atlas is not considered an essential part of the structure of a manifold: two different atlases may yield the same manifold structure. This is encoded by the following definition 4 of isomorphisms between manifolds.
If the term “manifold” appears without further qualification, what is usually meant is a smooth -manifold of some natural number dimension : a -manifold where is the pseudogroup of invertible maps between open sets of . Replacing here by a half-space , one obtains the notion of smooth manifold with boundary. Or, replacing here by the -cube , one obtains the notion of (smooth) -manifold with (cubical) corners. Morphisms of manifolds are here called smooth maps, and isomorphisms are called diffeomorphisms. (In manifold theory, one usually reserves the term smooth function for smooth maps to .)
A topological -manifold is a manifold with respect to the pseudogroup of homeomorphisms between open sets of . Any continuous function between topological manifolds is a morphisms, and any homeomorphism is an isomorphism. A piecewise-linear (PL) -manifold is where the pseudogroup consists of piecewise-linear homeomorphisms between such open sets; morphisms are called piecewise-linear (PL) maps.
One can go on to define, in a straighforward way, real analytic manifolds, complex analytic manifolds, elliptic manifolds, hyperbolic manifolds, and so on, using the general notion of pseudogroup.
Any space can always be turned into a manifold modelled on itself, using any pseudogroup . Simply take the inclusions of open sets as charts.
If and are two -manifold structures on the same topological space , then and are considered equal as -manifolds if is an isomorphism from to (and hence also from to ).
Alternatively, atlases are ordered by inclusion, and two atlases define the same manifold structure on if they have a common upper bound. Equivalently, two atlases define the same manifold structure if each chart of one is compatible with each chart of the other. Or, one could extend any atlas to the (unique) maximal atlas containing it, which consists of all charts compatible with each of the charts in the original atlas, and simply identify a manifold structure with a maximal atlas.
Rafael: Can one define a manifold object in a category C as a G-manifold with G related to C? What would the relation between G and C be to obtain G-manifolds in C as manifold objects?
Toby: Yes, I think that this would make perfect sense; I think that we'd want to be an internal groupoid in . Note that defining things like ‘smooth manifold’ in might still be difficult, but we've reduced it to internalising Cart Sp in . (There's also the matter that the above definition takes a notion of space for granted, so you'd have to internalise that into too, but I'm not sure how important that really is, when I think about how the topology on a smooth manifold can be recovered from the smooth structure.)
Rafael: Can someone that knows more than me about this add the result of this question to this article so nobody have to ask again.
Toby: I'd rather not, since it's all ‘I think’ and ‘might be difficult’; it's better as a query box, moved to the bottom if necessary. But if Todd agrees with me, then maybe he'll add it.
Note: the following is tentative “original research”. It is prompted by the desire to extend the pseudogroup approach for defining general notions of manifold, so as to cover also an appropriate general notion of “map”. Comments, improvements, and corrections are encouraged – Todd.
I've read through it once, and it makes sense. I'll read through it again more carefully later. —Toby
We begin by defining the 2-poset (i.e., locally preordered bicategory) of regions, denoted . The objects are topological spaces (or locales if you prefer); the morphisms are partial functions with open domain, that is spans
where is continuous and is an open embedding. The spans are locally (that is, for fixed and ) ordered by inclusion.
These local posets are not cocomplete, but they admit certain obvious joins: given a family of regional maps
the join exists iff we have local compatibility:
for all . Notice that composition on either side with a -cell preserves any local joins which exist.
Every coreflexive morphism in splits: there is a map in ,
whose opposite also belongs to (that is, is an open embedding), and the equations
hold. The object may be called the extension of . This splitting is a kind of comprehension principle familiar from the theory of allegories, among other things.
A cartology is a (locally full) subbicategory such that
Intended examples include the case where the objects of are Euclidean spaces , and morphisms are spans
where is smooth.
Given a cartology , a morphism in is pseudo-invertible if there exists such that and .
In a cartology, the pseudo-invertible morphisms from an object to itself form a pseudogroup (as defined earlier).
The notion of a -manifold modeled on an object of is defined just as before, using the pseudogroup on implied by the previous lemma. In particular, we have -charts of an atlas structure on , which are morphisms in
satisfying the expected properties. We can thus speak of -manifolds (or -manifolds if we want to make explicit the modeling space ).
Now, given a cartology , we define the category of -manifolds. Let be a -manifold and a -manifold. Then, a -morphism from to is a continuous map such that the -composite
belongs to , for every pair of charts and .
These definitions need to be carefully checked against known examples (e.g., the categories , , and , among others).