nLab ordinary homology



Homological algebra

homological algebra

(also nonabelian homological algebra)



Basic definitions

Stable homotopy theory notions



diagram chasing

Schanuel's lemma

Homology theories




Ordinary homology is generalized homology with respect to an Eilenberg-MacLane spectrum HAH A, and often understood over HH \mathbb{Z}.

Equivalently this is computed by singular homology with coefficients in AA.


Relation to homotopy groups

Ordinary homology with coefficients in \mathbb{Z} of a topological space XX serves to approximate the homotopy groups of XX.

See for instance at Hurewicz theorem

Description in terms of higher linear algebra

We discuss (twisted) ordinary homology and ordinary cohomology in terms of sections of (∞,1)-module bundles over the Eilenberg-MacLane spectrum.

Let kk be a commutative ring. Write

HkCRing H k \in CRing_\infty

for the Eilenberg-MacLane spectrum of kk, canonically regarded as an E-∞ ring. Write

(Hk)Mod(,1)Cat (H k) Mod \in (\infty,1)Cat

for the (∞,1)-category of (∞,1)-modules over HkH k.


There is an equivalence of (∞,1)-categories

(Hk)ModL qiCh (kMod) (H k)Mod \simeq L_{qi} Ch_\bullet(k Mod)

between the (∞,1)-category of (∞,1)-modules over the Eilenberg-MacLane spectrum HkH k and the simplicial localization of the category of unbounded chain complexes of ordinary (1-categorical) kk-modules.

This is the statement of the stable Dold-Kan correspondence, see at (∞,1)-category of (∞,1)-modules – Properties – Stable Dold-Kan correspondence.


Let XX be a topological space and write Π(X)\Pi(X) \in ∞Grpd for its underlying homotopy type (its fundamental ∞-groupoid). Then we say that an (∞,1)-functor

Π(X)(Hk)Mod \Pi(X) \to (H k) Mod

is (the higher parallel transport) a flat (∞,1)-module bundle over XX, or a local system of HkH k-(∞,1)-modules over XX.


(Riemann-Hilbert correspondence)

If XX is an oriented closed manifold, then there is an equivalence of (∞,1)-categories

[Π(X),(Hk)Mod](TX)Mod [\Pi(X), (H k)Mod] \simeq (T X)Mod

between flat (∞,1)-module bundles/local systems and L-∞ algebroid representations of the tangent Lie algebroid of XX. From right to left the equivalece is established by sending an L-∞ algebroid representation given (as discussed there) by a flat \mathbb{Z}-graded connection on bundles of chain complexes (via prop. ), to its higher holonomy defined in terms of iterated integrals.

This is the main theorem in (Block-Smith 09).



Γlim:[Π(X),(Hk)Mod](Hk)Mod \Gamma \;\coloneqq\; \underset{\to}{\lim} \;\colon\; [\Pi(X), (H k)Mod] \to (H k) Mod

for the (∞,1)-colimit functor.


We may think of Γ\Gamma equivalently as



𝕀 X Hk:Π(X)(Kk)Mod \mathbb{I}_X^{H k} \;\colon\; \Pi(X) \to (K k)Mod

for the flat (∞,1)-module bundle which is constant on the chain complex concentrated on kk in degree 0, the tensor unit in [Π(X),(Hk)Mod][Π(X),L qiCh (kMod)][\Pi(X), (H k)Mod] \simeq [\Pi(X), L_{qi}Ch_\bullet(k Mod)].


For XX a topological space, we have a natural equivalence (with the identification of prop. understood) of the form

Γ(𝕀 X Hk)C (X,k), \Gamma(\mathbb{I}_X^{H k}) \simeq C_\bullet(X,k) \,,

between the (Hk)(H k)-(∞,1)-module of sections of the trivial (Hk)(H k)-(∞,1)-module bundle 𝕀 X Hk\mathbb{I}_X^{H k} and the singular chain complex of XX for ordinary homology with coefficients in kk.


This is a classical basic (maybe folklore) statement. Here is one way to see it in full detail.

First notice that the (∞,1)-colimit of functors out of ∞-groupoids and constant on the tensor unit in (Hk)Mod(H k)Mod is by definition the (∞,1)-tensoring operation of (Hk)Mod(H k)Mod over ∞Grpd. Now if we find a presentation of (Hk)Mod(H k)Mod by a simplicial model category the by the dicussion at (∞,1)-colomit – Tensoring and cotensoring – Models this (∞,1)-tensoring is given by the left derived functor of the sSet-tensoring in that simplicial model category.

To obtain this, use prop. and then the discussion at model structure on chain complexes in the section Projective model structure on unbounded chain complexes which says that there is a simplicial model category structure on the category of simplicial objects in the category of unbounded chain complexes which models L qiCh (kMod)L_{qi} Ch_\bullet(k Mod), and whose weak equivalences are those morphisms that produce quasi-isomorphism under the total chain complex functor.

In summary it follows that with any simplicial set (Π(X)) inL whesSet(\Pi(X))_\bullet in L_{whe} sSet representing Π(X)\Pi(X) (under the homotopy hypothesis-theorem) we have

lim(𝕀 X Hk) [n]Δ(Π(X)) n𝕀, \underset{\to}{\lim} (\mathbb{I}_X^{H k}) \simeq \int_{[n] \in \Delta} (\Pi(X))_n \cdot \mathbb{I} \,,

where on the right we have the coend over the simplex category of the tensoring (of simplicial sets with simplicial objects in the category of unbounded chain complexes) of the standard cosimplicial simplex with the simplicial diagram constant on the tensor unit chain complex.

The result on the right is manifestly, by the very definition of singular homology, under the ordinary Dold-Kan correspondence the chain complex of singular simplices:

[n]Δ(Π(X)) n𝕀Π(X)kC (X,k). \int_{[n] \in \Delta} (\Pi(X))_n \cdot \mathbb{I} \simeq \Pi(X) \otimes k \simeq C_\bullet(X,k) \,.

If XL wheTopX \in L_{whe} Top is a Poincaré duality space of dimension nn, then Γ(𝕀 X HA)(HA)Mod\Gamma(\mathbb{I}_X^{H A}) \in (H A) Mod is a dualizable object which is almost self-dual except for a degree twist of (itself) degree 0:

(Γ(𝕀 X HA)) Σ n(Γ(𝕀 X HA)). \left( \Gamma\left(\mathbb{I}_X^{H A}\right) \right)^\vee \simeq \Sigma^{-n} \left( \Gamma\left(\mathbb{I}_X^{H A}\right) \right) \,.

Under the identifications of prop. and prop. this is the theorem discussed at Poincaré duality in the section Poincaré duality – Refinement to homotopy theory.

See also at Dold-Thom theorem.

Ordinary homology spectra split

see at ordinary homology spectra split


A classical account:

  • Robert Switzer, chapter 10 of: Algebraic Topology - Homotopy and Homology, Die Grundlehren der Mathematischen Wissenschaften in Einzeldarstellungen, Vol. 212, Springer-Verlag, New York, N. Y., 1975.

In terms of currents:

Comprehensive monograph:

With an eye towards application in mathematical physics:

The Riemann-Hilbert correspondence/de Rham theorem for HAH A-modules is established in

Last revised on January 20, 2024 at 08:45:48. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.