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Publication# Categorical Foundations for K-theory

Résumé

K-Theory was originally defined by Grothendieck as a contravariant functor from a subcategory of schemes to abelian groups, known today as K0. The same kind of construction was then applied to other fields of mathematics, like spaces and (not necessarily commutative) rings. In all these cases, it consists of some process applied, not directly to the object one wants to study, but to some category related to it: the category of vector bundles over a space, of finitely generated projective modules over a ring, of locally free modules over a scheme, for instance. Later, Quillen extracted axioms that all these categories satisfy and that allow the Grothendieck construction of K0. The categorical structure he discovered is called today a Quillen-exact category. It led him not only to broaden the domain of application of K-theory, but also to define a whole K-theory spectrum associated to such a category. Waldhausen next generalized Quillen's notion of an exact category by introducing categories with weak equivalences and cofibrations, which one nowadays calls Waldhausen categories. K-theory has since been studied as a functor from the category of suitably structured (Quillen-exact, Waldhausen, symmetric monoidal) small categories to some category of spectra1. This has given rise to a huge field of research, so much so that there is a whole journal devoted to the subject. In this thesis, we want to take advantage of these tools to begin studying K-theory from another perspective. Indeed, we have the impression that, in the generalization of topological and algebraic K-theory that has been started by Quillen, something important has been left aside. K-theory was initiated as a (contravariant) functor from the various categories of spaces, rings, schemes, …, not from the category of Waldhausen small categories. Of course, one obtains information about a ring by studying its Quillen-exact category of (finitely generated projective) modules, but still, the final goal is the study of the ring, and, more globally, of the category of rings. Thus, in a general theory, one should describe a way to associate not only a spectrum to a structured category, but also a structured category to an object. Moreover, this process should take the morphisms of these objects into account. This gives rise to two fundamental questions. What kind of mathematical objects should K-theory be applied to? Given such an object, what category "over it" should one consider and how does it vary over morphisms? Considering examples, we have made the following observations. Suppose C is the category that is to be investigated by means of K-theory, like the category of topological spaces or of schemes, for instance. The category associated to an object of C is a sub-category of the category of modules over some monoid in a monoidal category with additional structure (topological, symmetric, abelian, model). The situation is highly "fibred": not only morphisms of C induce (structured) functors between these sub-categories of modules, but the monoidal category in which theses modules take place might vary from one object of C to another. In important cases, the sub-categories of modules considered are full sub-categories of "locally trivial" modules with respect to some (possibly weakened notion of) Grothendieck topology on C . That is, there are some specific modules that are considered sufficiently simple to be called trivial and locally trivial modules are those that are, locally over a covering of the Grothendieck topology, isomorphic to these. In this thesis, we explore, with K-theory in view, a categorical framework that encodes these kind of data. We also study these structures for their own sake, and give examples in other fields. We do not mention in this abstract set-theoretical issues, but they are handled with care in the discussion. Moreover, an appendix is devoted to the subject. After recalling classical facts of Grothendieck fibrations (and their associated indexed categories), we provide new insights into the concept of a bifibration. We prove that there is a 2-equivalence between the 2-category of bifibrations over a category ℬ and a 2-category of pseudo double functors from ℬ into the double category of adjunctions in CAT. We next turn our attention to composable pairs of fibrations , as they happen to be fundamental objects of the theory. We give a characterization of these objects in terms of pseudo-functors ℬop → FIBc into the 2-category of fibrations and Cartesian functors. We next turn to a short survey about Grothendieck (pre-)topologies. We start with the basic notion of covering function, that associate to each object of a category a family of coverings of the object. We study separately the saturation of a covering function with respect to sieves and to refinements. The Grothendieck topology generated by a pretopology is shown to be the result of these two steps. We define then, inspired by Street [89], the notion of (locally) trivial objects in a fibred category P : ℰ → ℬ equipped with some notion of covering of objects of the base ℬ. The trivial objects are objects chosen in some fibres. An object E in the fibre over B ∈ ℬ is locally trivial if there exists a covering {fi : Bi → B}i ∈ I such the inverse image of E along fi is isomorphic to a trivial object. Among examples are torsors, principal bundles, vector bundles, schemes, locally constant sheaves, quasi-coherent and locally free sheaves of modules, finitely generated projective modules over commutative rings, topological manifolds, … We give conditions under which locally trivial objects form a subfibration of P and describe the relationship between locally trivial objects with respect to subordinated covering functions. We then go into the algebraic part of the theory. We give a definition of monoidal fibred categories and show a 2-equivalence with monoidal indexed categories. We develop algebra (monoids and modules) in these two settings. Modules and monoids in a monoidal fibred category ℰ → ℬ happen to form a pair of fibrations . We end this thesis by explaining how to apply this categorical framework to K-theory and by proposing some prospects of research. ______________________________ 1 Works of Lurie, Toën and Vezzosi have shown that K-theory really depends on the (∞, 1)-category associated to a Waldhausen category [94]. Moreover, topological K-theory of spaces and Banach algebras takes the fact that the Waldhausen category is topological in account [62, 70].

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The starting point for this project is the article of Kathryn Hess [11]. In this article, a homotopic version of monadic descent is developed. In the classical setting, one constructs a category D(𝕋) of coalgebras in the Eilenberg-Moore category of algebras D𝕋 for a given monad 𝕋 on a category D. There is a canonical functor Can𝕃𝕋 from D to D(𝕋), and if Can𝕃𝕋 is fully faithful, then 𝕋 satisfies descent, while if Can𝕃𝕋 is an equivalence of categories, then 𝕋 satisfies effective descent [19]. In [11], these two conditions are replaced by a weaker one, that these hold only up to homotopy. This is achieved by working with model categories that are enriched over simplicial sets. Homotopic descent is then defined by demanding that each component in (Can𝕃𝕋)A,B : MapD(A,B) → MapD(𝕋) (Can𝕃𝕋(A), Can𝕃𝕋 (B)) be a weak equivalence of simplicial sets. A similar but stronger condition involving the path components in D(𝕋) expresses effective homotopic descent. The first goal of this project is to develop a framework of homotopic descent for model categories that are enriched over model categories other than simplicial sets. The most important examples we have in mind are chain complexes and spectra. In order to achieve this goal, we tried to determine the most general conditions that are sufficient and necessary to make the theory work. To ease the formulation, let us say that we are working with a model category D that is enriched over a monoidal model category V. The crucial constructions we need are realization, respectively totalization, of (co)simplicial objects in D. These functors have to be Quillen functors to ensure that they have the correct homotopical behaviour. This implies that there must exist a Quillen adjunction between V and simplicial sets. Furthermore, we need to be able to transfer the enrichment and (co)tensoring over V to an enrichment and (co)tensoring over simplicial sets. This forces the Quillen adjunction to be monoidal. Another main point that has to be adressed is the question, of whether the enrichment of D carries over to an enrichment of D𝕋 and D(𝕋) and how this enrichment behaves. It turns out that this works well under mild assumptions on V. This leads then to the definition of homotopic descent by requiring that each component in (Can𝕃𝕋)A,B : MapD(A,B) → MapD(𝕋) (Can𝕃𝕋(A), Can𝕃𝕋 (B)) be a weak equivalence in M and similarly for effective homotopic descent. Using this definition, the theorems in [11] carry over to this more general context. Although the conditions on V are rather constraining regarding the relation with simplicial sets, the cases of chain complexes and spectra are included. For the time being we do not see how the constraints on V could be weakened. The second goal of this project is to apply the theory of homotopic descent to concrete examples. A good source of examples is homotopic Grothendieck descent in the category of spectra, i.e., S-modules. Classical Grothendieck descent deals with the adjunction induced by a morphism φ : B → A of monoids in a monoidal category (M,Λ, S), – BΛ A : ModB ⇄ ModA : φ*, which in turn induces a monad 𝕋φ := φ*(– ΛB A) on ModB. We consider in particular the case when the morphism in question is the unit of an S-algebra E, η : S → E There is a close relationship between comodules over a Hopf algebroid and objects in D(𝕋η). Associated to η we have the canonical co-ring Wη := E ΛS E and an isomorphism between D(𝕋η) and the category of comodules over Wη in the category of S-modules. This relationship is explored in an analysis of the stable Adams spectral sequence, the construction of which heavily relies on the monadic properties of the functor η*(E ΛS –) and can therefore be expressed in terms of D(𝕋η). We construct a spectral sequence that generalizes the stable Adams spectral sequence to any stable pointed model category such as unbounded chain complexes. One can give a description of the E2-term as an Ext in D(𝕋η), E2s,t = ExtD(𝕋η) (Can(A), Can(B)). If the spectral sequences converges, it abuts to π⁎MapD(A,B η^), where Bη^ is the derived 𝕋η-completion of B, which agrees with the usual derived completion in well-known special cases. Furthermore, Bη^ := Tot B^•, and B^• is kind of a fibrant cosimplicial resolution of B. Furthermore, the language of relative homological algebra for modules and comodules generalizes to definitions for algebras in D𝕋η and coalgebras in D(𝕋η). This shows that the construction of the Adams spectral sequence works in a more general setting, where one applies a functor to an abelian category, for example π⁎, only at the end, to be able to do computations in homological algebra. This general Adams spectral sequence is closely related to the descent spectral sequence of [11], and we have clarified this relationship.

Kan spectra provide a combinatorial model for the stable homotopy category. They were introduced by Dan Kan in 1963 under the name semisimplicial spectra. A Kan spectrum is similar to a pointed simplicial set, but it has simplices in negative degrees as well and all its simplices have infinitely many faces and degeneracies. In the first part of this thesis, we define a functor from the category of Gamma-spaces to the category of Kan spectra without passing through any other category of spectra. We show that the resulting Kan spectrum of a Gamma-space A agrees with the usual object associated to A in the stable homotopy category by comparing it to Bousfield-Friedlander's spectrum construction. In particular, applying our construction to the Gamma-space associated to a symmetric monoidal category provides a combinatorial model of its algebraic K-theory spectrum. For the Gamma-space associated to an abelian group, this yields via the stable Dold-Kan correspondence the unbounded chain complex with the abelian group concentrated in degree zero. The second part of this work concerns group spectra and twisting structures. Group spectra are the group objects in the category of Kan spectra. They provide an algebraic, combinatorial model for the stable homotopy category. We transfer Brown's model structure from the category of Kan spectra to a Quillen equivalent model structure on the category of group spectra. We then construct the analogues of Kan's loop group functor and its right adjoint Wbar together with corresponding classifying bundles, so that the category of Kan spectra becomes a twisted homotopical category in the sense of Farjoun and Hess.

In homological algebra, to understand commutative rings R, one studies R-modules, chain complexes of R-modules and their monoids, the differential graded R-algebras. The category of R-modules has a rich structure, but too rigid to efficiently work with homological invariants and homotopy invariant properties. It appears more appropriate to operate in the derived category D(R), which is the homotopy category of differential graded R-modules. Algebra of symmetric spectra offers a generalization of homological algebra. In this frame, spectra are objects that take the place of abelian groups; in particular, the analogue of the initial ring Z is the sphere spectrum S. Tensoring over S endows the category of spectra with a symmetric monoidal smash product, analogous to the tensor product of abelian groups. Thus, spectra are S-modules, and ring spectra, which extend the notion of rings, are the S-algebras. To any discrete ring R, one can associate the Eilenberg-Mac Lane ring spectrum HR, which is commutative if R is.

2010