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:

Mann’s approach

Mann (Mann22) has developed an abstract framework for a six-functor formalism that combines the approaches of Liu-Zheng and Gaitsgory-Rozenblyum and applies it to rigid analytic geometry, in particular in combination with condensed mathematics and almost mathematics to construct an \infty -category? of derived solid 𝒪 X +/π\mathcal{O}_{X}^{+}/\pi almost modules (see also Scholze22).


Let CC be an \infty-category admitting finite limits and let EE be a class of morphisms stable under pullback and composition, and including all isomorphisms. The symmetric monoidal \infty-category of correspondences Corr(C,E)\mathrm{Corr}(C,E) has as its objects the objects in CC, and has as its morphisms the correspondences in CC, i.e. for objects XX and YY of CC a morphism from XX to YY is given by an object WW of CC together with maps

W f g X Y \array{ && W \\ & \swarrow_{f} && \searrow_{g} \\ X &&&& Y }

where gEg\in E. The symmetric monoidal structure comes from the one on CC.


Let Cat \mathrm{Cat}_{\infty} be the \infty-category of \infty-categories. A 3-functor formalism is a lax symmetric monoidal functor

𝒟:Corr(C,E)Cat \mathcal{D}:\mathrm{Corr}(C,E)\to \mathrm{Cat}_{\infty}

The above definition formalizes three of the functors in the 6-functor formalism. The derived tensor product comes from the lax symmetric monoidal structure, f *f^{*} comes from the image of the correspondence YfX=XY\xleftarrow{f}X=X, and f !f_{!} comes from the image of the correspondence X=XfYX=X\xrightarrow{f}Y.


A 6-functor formalism is a 3-functor formalism for which A-\otimes A, f *f^{*}, and f !f_{!} admit right adjoints.


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:

Lecture notes:

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. 1960 Springer (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 (higher) Artin stacks, using the language of stable (infinity,1)-categories:

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

The six functor formalism for motivic homotopy theory:

and in the context of rigid analytic geometry:

Enhancement to equivariant motivic homotopy theory:

Discussion of six-functor formalism for abelian sheaves on manifolds/topological spaces:

See also:

  • Brad Drew, Martin Gallauer, The universal six-functor formalism [arXiv:2009.13610]

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

reviewed for instance in

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

Six operations formalism for rigid analytic geometry is in

  • Lucas Mann, A p-Adic 6-Functor Formalism in Rigid-Analytic Geometry (arXiv:2206.02022)

The abstract approach behind Mann’s work is the subject of Scholze (2022).

Last revised on March 19, 2024 at 06:18:50. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.