nLab six operations






Special and general types

Special notions


Extra structure






What is known as (Grothendieck’s) six operations is a formalization of structure that

These are four operations and together with

form six operations.

(All this is usually interpreted as derived functors/(infinity,1)-functors so that for instance in the usual application to derived categories of abelian sheaves the last two operations are really Tor and Ext.)

With a list of compatibility conditions between these (for instance (Cisinski-Déglise 09, p. x) this is a structure of Grothendieck’s six operations.

These consistency conditions include the following:

  1. The adjunctions are functorial, hence form 2-functors ff *f \mapsto f_*, ff !f \mapsto f_!:

  2. There is a natural transformation f !f *f_! \to f_* which is a natural equivalence when ff is a proper map.

  3. Beck-Chevalley condition (base change formulas): given a (homotopy) pullback diagram

    Q 1×XQ 2 p 1 p 2 Q 1 Q 2 f g X \array{ && Q_1 \underset{X}{\times} Q_2 \\ & {}^{\mathllap{p_1}}\swarrow && \searrow^{\mathrlap{p_2}} \\ Q_1 && && Q_2 \\ & {}_{\mathllap{f}}\searrow && \swarrow_{\mathrlap{g}} \\ && X }

    such that ff is a separated morphism, then there are natural equivalences

    g *f !(p 2) !(p 1) * g^\ast \circ f_! \simeq (p_2)_! \circ (p_1)^\ast
    f !g *(p 1) *(p 2) !. f^! \circ g_\ast \simeq (p_1)_\ast\circ (p_2)^! \,.

(Cisinski-Déglise 09, p. x)

Morover one imposes a formalization of Verdier duality with dualizing object

(Cisinski-Déglise 09, p. xi)


Often specializations of the general concept play a role:


Relation to motivic homotopy theory

The initial object in the (infinity,2)-category of functors to stable (infinity,1)-categories which satisfy the six operations formalism (and a bit more, such that A1-homotopy invariance) is stable motivic homotopy theory. See there for more.

twisted generalized cohomology theory is conjecturally ∞-categorical semantics of linear homotopy type theory:

linear homotopy type theorygeneralized cohomology theoryquantum theory
linear type(module-)spectrum
multiplicative conjunctionsmash product of spectracomposite system
dependent linear typemodule spectrum bundle
Frobenius reciprocitysix operation yoga in Wirthmüller context
dual type (linear negation)Spanier-Whitehead duality
invertible typetwistprequantum line bundle
dependent sumgeneralized homology spectrumspace of quantum states (“bra”)
dual of dependent sumgeneralized cohomology spectrumspace of quantum states (“ket”)
linear implicationbivariant cohomologyquantum operators
exponential modalityFock space
dependent sum over finite homotopy type (of twist)suspension spectrum (Thom spectrum)
dualizable dependent sum over finite homotopy typeAtiyah duality between Thom spectrum and suspension spectrum
(twisted) self-dual typePoincaré dualityinner product
dependent sum coinciding with dependent productambidexterity, semiadditivity
dependent sum coinciding with dependent product up to invertible typeWirthmüller isomorphism
( ff *)(\sum_f \dashv f^\ast)-counitpushforward in generalized homology
(twisted-)self-duality-induced dagger of this counit(twisted-)Umkehr map/fiber integration
linear polynomial functorcorrespondencespace of trajectories
linear polynomial functor with linear implicationintegral kernel (pure motive)prequantized Lagrangian correspondence/action functional
composite of this linear implication with daggered-counit followed by unitintegral transformmotivic/cohomological path integral
traceEuler characteristicpartition function


General abstract discussion is in

An approach to six functor formalism as a bifibered multicategory (multiderivator, when appropriate) over correspondences is in

  • Fritz Hörmann, Fibered derivators, (co)homological descent, and Grothendieck’s six functors pdf; Fibered Multiderivators and (co)homological descent, arxiv./1505.00974; Six Functor Formalisms and Fibered Multiderivators arXiv:1603.02146; Derivator Six Functor Formalisms — Definition and Construction I arXiv:1701.02152

The traditional applications (quasicoherent sheaves of modules) are discussed in

  • Joseph Lipman, Notes on derived functors and Grothendieck duality, in Foundations of Grothendieck Duality for Diagrams of Schemes,

    Lecture Notes in Math., no. 1960, Springer-Verlag, New York, 2009, 1–259. (pdf)

  • Yves Laszlo, Martin Olsson, The six operations for sheaves on Artin stacks I: Finite Coefficients (arXiv:math/0512097)

An enhanced version of the six operations formalism for etale cohomology of Artin stacks (and higher Artin stacks?), using the language of stable (infinity,1)-categories is developed in

  • Yifeng Liu, Weizhe Zheng, Enhanced six operations and base change theorem for Artin stacks, arXiv.

The six functor formalism for motivic homotopy theory was developed in

  • Joseph Ayoub, Les six opérations de Grothendieck et le formalisme des cycles évanescants dans le monde motivique PhD thesis, Paris (pdf)

Discussion for pull-push of (holonomic) D-modules is in

reviewed for instance in

A quick list of the axioms with a Grothendieck’s six operations with an eye towards the definition of motives is in section A.5 of

The six operations for derived categories of quasi-coherent sheaves, ind-coherent sheaves, and D-modules on derived stacks are developed in

Six operations in the setup of o-minimal structures is discussed in

  • Mario J. Edmundo, Luca Prelli, The six Grothendieck operations on o-minimal sheaves, Comptes Rendus Mathematique 352:6 (2014) 455-458 arxiv/1401.0846 doi

Grothendieck six operations formalism using diagrams of topoi

Last revised on January 3, 2021 at 15:02:01. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.