University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Logic and Semantics Seminar (Computer Laboratory) > String diagrams for semistrict n-categories

String diagrams for semistrict n-categories

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  • UserManuel Araujo, University of Cambridge
  • ClockFriday 02 December 2022, 14:00-15:00
  • HouseSS03.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Jamie Vicary.

String diagrams are a powerful computational tool, most commonly used in the context of monoidal categories and bicategories. I will talk about extending this to higher dimensions. The natural setting for n-dimensional string diagrams should be some form of semistrict n-category, where composition operations, corresponding to stacking of diagrams, are strictly associative and unital, but the interchange laws hold only up to coherent equivalence. The idea is to define a semistrict n-category as something which admits composites for labeled string diagrams. The first step is to develop a theory of n-sesquicategories. These encode only the compositional structure of string diagrams, without interchange laws. I will explain how to define these as algebras over a monad whose operations are simple string diagrams and how a theory of normal forms for the terms of the associated computads leads to a proof that the category of computads is a presheaf category. The second step, which is still work in progress, is to add operations implementing weak versions of the interchange laws, obtaining the desired notion of semistrict n-category. In dimension 3, this recovers the notion of Gray 3-category.

This talk is part of the Logic and Semantics Seminar (Computer Laboratory) series.

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