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In
mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and their changes (cal ...
, a category (sometimes called an abstract category to distinguish it from a
concrete category In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers ( and ), formulas and related structures (), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (), and quantities and their changes ( and ). There is no gener ...
) is a collection of "objects" that are linked by "arrows". A category has two basic properties: the ability to compose the arrows associatively and the existence of an identity arrow for each object. A simple example is the
category of sets In the mathematical Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities an ...
, whose objects are sets and whose arrows are
functions Function or functionality may refer to: Computing * Function key A function key is a key on a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern comp ...
. ''
Category theory Category theory formalizes mathematical structure In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and ...
'' is a branch of mathematics that seeks to generalize all of mathematics in terms of categories, independent of what their objects and arrows represent. Virtually every branch of modern mathematics can be described in terms of categories, and doing so often reveals deep insights and similarities between seemingly different areas of mathematics. As such, category theory provides an alternative foundation for mathematics to
set theory Set theory is the branch of mathematical logic that studies Set (mathematics), sets, which can be informally described as collections of objects. Although objects of any kind can be collected into a set, set theory, as a branch of mathematics, i ...
and other proposed axiomatic foundations. In general, the objects and arrows may be abstract entities of any kind, and the notion of category provides a fundamental and abstract way to describe mathematical entities and their relationships. In addition to formalizing mathematics, category theory is also used to formalize many other systems in computer science, such as the
semantics of programming languages In programming language theory Programming language theory (PLT) is a branch of computer science Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of information, algorithms and the architectures of its computation as well as pract ...
. Two categories are the same if they have the same collection of objects, the same collection of arrows, and the same associative method of composing any pair of arrows. Two ''different'' categories may also be considered "
equivalent Equivalence or Equivalent may refer to: Arts and entertainment *Album-equivalent unit, a measurement unit in the music industry *Equivalence class (music) *''Equivalent VIII'', or ''The Bricks'', a minimalist sculpture by Carl Andre *''Equivalent ...
" for purposes of category theory, even if they do not have precisely the same structure. Well-known categories are denoted by a short capitalized word or abbreviation in bold or italics: examples include Set, the category of sets and set functions; Ring, the category of
rings Ring most commonly refers either to a hollow circular shape or to a high-pitched sound. It thus may refer to: *Ring (jewellery), a circular, decorative or symbolic ornament worn on fingers, toes, arm or neck Ring may also refer to: Sounds * Ri ...
and
ring homomorphism In ring theory, a branch of abstract algebra, a ring homomorphism is a structure-preserving function (mathematics), function between two ring (algebra), rings. More explicitly, if ''R'' and ''S'' are rings, then a ring homomorphism is a function s ...
s; and
Top A spinning top, or simply a top, is a toy A toy is an item that is used primarily by children though may also be marketed to adults under certain circumstances. Playing with toys can be an enjoyable means of training young children for li ...
, the category of
topological space In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers ( and ), formulas and related structures (), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (), and quantities and their changes ( and ). There is no gener ...
s and
continuous map In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and ...
s. All of the preceding categories have the
identity map
identity map
as identity arrows and
composition Composition or Compositions may refer to: Arts * Composition (dance), practice and teaching of choreography * Composition (music), an original piece of music and its creation *Composition (visual arts) The term composition means "putting togethe ...
as the associative operation on arrows. The classic and still much used text on category theory is ''
Categories for the Working Mathematician ''Categories for the Working Mathematician'' (''CWM'') is a textbook in category theory Category theory formalizes mathematical structure In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as q ...
'' by
Saunders Mac Lane Saunders Mac Lane (4 August 1909 – 14 April 2005) was an American mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers ( and ...
. Other references are given in the
References Reference is a relationship between objects in which one object designates, or acts as a means by which to connect to or link to, another object. The first object in this relation is said to ''refer to'' the second object. It is called a ''name ...
below. The basic definitions in this article are contained within the first few chapters of any of these books. Any
monoid In abstract algebra In algebra, which is a broad division of mathematics, abstract algebra (occasionally called modern algebra) is the study of algebraic structures. Algebraic structures include group (mathematics), groups, ring (mathemati ...
can be understood as a special sort of category (with a single object whose self-morphisms are represented by the elements of the monoid), and so can any
preorder In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities a ...
.


Definition

There are many equivalent definitions of a category. One commonly used definition is as follows. A category ''C'' consists of * a
class Class or The Class may refer to: Common uses not otherwise categorized * Class (biology), a taxonomic rank * Class (knowledge representation), a collection of individuals or objects * Class (philosophy), an analytical concept used differently f ...
ob(''C'') of objects, * a class hom(''C'') of
morphism In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and th ...

morphism
s, or arrows, or maps between the objects, *a domain, or source object class function \mathrm\colon \mathrm(C)\rightarrow \mathrm(C) , *a codomain, or target object class function \mathrm\colon \mathrm(C)\rightarrow \mathrm(C) , * for every three objects ''a'', ''b'' and ''c'', a binary operation hom(''a'', ''b'') × hom(''b'', ''c'') → hom(''a'', ''c'') called ''composition of morphisms''; the composition of ''f'' : ''a'' → ''b'' and ''g'' : ''b'' → ''c'' is written as ''g'' ∘ ''f'' or ''gf''. (Some authors use "diagrammatic order", writing ''f;g'' or ''fg''). Note: Here hom(''a'', ''b'') denotes the subclass of morphisms ''f'' in hom(''C'') such that \mathrm(f) = a and \mathrm(f) = b. Such morphisms are often written as ''f'' : ''a'' → ''b''. such that the following axioms hold: * (
associativity In mathematics, the associative property is a property of some binary operations, which means that rearranging the parentheses in an expression will not change the result. In propositional logic, associativity is a Validity (logic), valid rule ...
) if ''f'' : ''a'' → ''b'', ''g'' : ''b'' → ''c'' and ''h'' : ''c'' → ''d'' then ''h'' ∘ (''g'' ∘ ''f'') = (''h'' ∘ ''g'') ∘ ''f'', and * (
identity Identity may refer to: Social sciences * Identity (social science), personhood or group affiliation in psychology and sociology Group expression and affiliation * Cultural identity, a person's self-affiliation (or categorization by others ...
) for every object ''x'', there exists a morphism 1''x'' : ''x'' → ''x'' (some authors write ''id''''x'') called the ''identity morphism for x'', such that every morphism ''f'' : ''a'' → ''x'' satisfies 1''x'' ∘ ''f'' = ''f'', and every morphism ''g'' : ''x'' → ''b'' satisfies ''g'' ∘ 1''x'' = ''g''. We write ''f'': ''a'' → ''b'', and we say "''f'' is a morphism from ''a'' to ''b''". We write hom(''a'', ''b'') (or hom''C''(''a'', ''b'') when there may be confusion about to which category hom(''a'', ''b'') refers) to denote the hom-class of all morphisms from ''a'' to ''b''.Some authors write Mor(''a'', ''b'') or simply ''C''(''a'', ''b'') instead. From these axioms, one can prove that there is exactly one identity morphism for every object. Some authors use a slight variation of the definition in which each object is identified with the corresponding identity morphism.


Small and large categories

A category ''C'' is called small if both ob(''C'') and hom(''C'') are actually sets and not
proper class Proper may refer to: Mathematics * Proper map In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers ( and ), formulas and related structures (), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (), and qu ...
es, and large otherwise. A locally small category is a category such that for all objects ''a'' and ''b'', the hom-class hom(''a'', ''b'') is a set, called a homset. Many important categories in mathematics (such as the category of sets), although not small, are at least locally small. Since, in small categories, the objects form a set, a small category can be viewed as an
algebraic structure In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and ...
similar to a
monoid In abstract algebra In algebra, which is a broad division of mathematics, abstract algebra (occasionally called modern algebra) is the study of algebraic structures. Algebraic structures include group (mathematics), groups, ring (mathemati ...
but without requiring closure properties. Large categories on the other hand can be used to create "structures" of algebraic structures.


Examples

The
class Class or The Class may refer to: Common uses not otherwise categorized * Class (biology), a taxonomic rank * Class (knowledge representation), a collection of individuals or objects * Class (philosophy), an analytical concept used differently f ...
of all sets (as objects) together with all
function Function or functionality may refer to: Computing * Function key A function key is a key on a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern comp ...
s between them (as morphisms), where the composition of morphisms is the usual
function composition In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities a ...
, forms a large category, Set. It is the most basic and the most commonly used category in mathematics. The category
Rel Rel or REL may mean: __NOTOC__ Science and technology * REL Rel or REL may mean: __NOTOC__ Science and technology * , a human gene * the rel descriptor of , see *REL (''Rassemblement Européen pour la Liberté''), , a defunct French far-right party ...
consists of all sets (as objects) with
binary relation Binary may refer to: Science and technology Mathematics * Binary number In mathematics and digital electronics Digital electronics is a field of electronics The field of electronics is a branch of physics and electrical engineeri ...
s between them (as morphisms). Abstracting from
relations Relation or relations may refer to: General uses *International relations, the study of interconnection of politics, economics, and law on a global level *Interpersonal relationship, association or acquaintance between two or more people *Public ...
instead of functions yields
allegories As a literary device, an allegory is a narrative in which a character, place, or event is used to deliver a broader message about real-world issues and occurrences. Authors have used allegory throughout history in all forms of art to illustrate ...
, a special class of categories. Any class can be viewed as a category whose only morphisms are the identity morphisms. Such categories are called
discrete Discrete in science is the opposite of :wikt:continuous, continuous: something that is separate; distinct; individual. Discrete may refer to: *Discrete particle or quantum in physics, for example in quantum theory *Discrete device, an electronic c ...

discrete
. For any given set ''I'', the ''discrete category on I'' is the small category that has the elements of ''I'' as objects and only the identity morphisms as morphisms. Discrete categories are the simplest kind of category. Any
preordered set In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). ...
(''P'', ≤) forms a small category, where the objects are the members of ''P'', the morphisms are arrows pointing from ''x'' to ''y'' when ''x'' ≤ ''y''. Furthermore, if ''≤'' is antisymmetric, there can be at most one morphism between any two objects. The existence of identity morphisms and the composability of the morphisms are guaranteed by the reflexivity and the transitivity of the preorder. By the same argument, any
partially ordered set In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and ...
and any
equivalence relation In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities a ...
can be seen as a small category. Any
ordinal number In set theory Set theory is the branch of that studies , which can be informally described as collections of objects. Although objects of any kind can be collected into a set, set theory, as a branch of , is mostly concerned with those that ...
can be seen as a category when viewed as an
ordered set In mathematics, especially order theory, a partially ordered set (also poset) formalizes and generalizes the intuitive concept of an ordering, sequencing, or arrangement of the elements of a Set (mathematics), set. A poset consists of a set toget ...
. Any
monoid In abstract algebra In algebra, which is a broad division of mathematics, abstract algebra (occasionally called modern algebra) is the study of algebraic structures. Algebraic structures include group (mathematics), groups, ring (mathemati ...
(any
algebraic structure In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and ...
with a single
associative In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). ...
binary operation In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and ...
and an
identity element In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and th ...
) forms a small category with a single object ''x''. (Here, ''x'' is any fixed set.) The morphisms from ''x'' to ''x'' are precisely the elements of the monoid, the identity morphism of ''x'' is the identity of the monoid, and the categorical composition of morphisms is given by the monoid operation. Several definitions and theorems about monoids may be generalized for categories. Similarly any
group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measure, and nominal number, label. The original examples are the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and so forth. Numbers can be represented in language with ...
can be seen as a category with a single object in which every morphism is ''invertible'', that is, for every morphism ''f'' there is a morphism ''g'' that is both left and right inverse to ''f'' under composition. A morphism that is invertible in this sense is called an
isomorphism In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and ...

isomorphism
. A
groupoid In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and ...
is a category in which every morphism is an isomorphism. Groupoids are generalizations of groups,
group action In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). ...
s and
equivalence relation In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities a ...
s. Actually, in the view of category the only difference between groupoid and group is that a groupoid may have more than one object but the group must have only one. Consider a topological space ''X'' and fix a base point x_0 of ''X'', then \pi_1(X,x_0) is the
fundamental group In the mathematical Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities ...

fundamental group
of the topological space ''X'' and the base point x_0, and as a set it has the structure of group; if then let the base point x_0 runs over all points of ''X'', and take the union of all \pi_1(X,x_0), then the set we get has only the structure of groupoid (which is called as the
fundamental groupoidIn algebraic topology 250px, A torus, one of the most frequently studied objects in algebraic topology Algebraic topology is a branch of mathematics that uses tools from abstract algebra to study topological spaces. The basic goal is to find algebr ...
of ''X''): two loops (under equivalence relation of homotopy) may not have the same base point so they cannot multiply with each other. In the language of category, this means here two morphisms may not have the same source object (or target object, because in this case for any morphism the source object and the target object are same: the base point) so they can not compose with each other. Any
directed graph In mathematics, and more specifically in graph theory, a directed graph (or digraph) is a Graph (discrete mathematics), graph that is made up of a set of Vertex (graph theory), vertices connected by directed Edge (graph theory), edges often called ...

directed graph
generates a small category: the objects are the vertices of the graph, and the morphisms are the paths in the graph (augmented with loops as needed) where composition of morphisms is concatenation of paths. Such a category is called the ''
free categoryIn mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). It ha ...
'' generated by the graph. The class of all preordered sets with
monotonic function In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities a ...
s as morphisms forms a category,
Ord Ord or ORD may refer to: Places * Ord of Caithness, landform in north-east Scotland * Ord, Nebraska, USA * Ord, Northumberland, England * Muir of Ord, village in Highland, Scotland * Ord, Skye, a place near Tarskavaig * Ord River, Western Austral ...
. It is a
concrete category In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers ( and ), formulas and related structures (), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (), and quantities and their changes ( and ). There is no gener ...
, i.e. a category obtained by adding some type of structure onto Set, and requiring that morphisms are functions that respect this added structure. The class of all groups with
group homomorphism In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and ...

group homomorphism
s as
morphism In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and th ...

morphism
s and
function composition In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities a ...
as the composition operation forms a large category, Grp. Like Ord, Grp is a concrete category. The category Ab, consisting of all
abelian group In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities an ...
s and their group homomorphisms, is a
full subcategory In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and ...
of Grp, and the prototype of an
abelian category In mathematics, an abelian category is a Category (mathematics), category in which morphisms and Object (category theory), objects can be added and in which Kernel (category theory), kernels and cokernels exist and have desirable properties. The mo ...
. Other examples of concrete categories are given by the following table.
Fiber bundle In mathematics, and particularly topology, a fiber bundle (or, in English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English: fibre bundle) is a Space (mathematics), space that is ''locally'' a product space, but ''globally'' may have a dif ...
s with
bundle map In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and th ...
s between them form a concrete category. The category
Cat The cat (''Felis catus'') is a domestic Domestic may refer to: In the home * Anything relating to the human home A home, or domicile, is a space used as a permanent or semi-permanent residence for an individual, group or famil ...
consists of all small categories, with
functor In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers ( and ), formulas and related structures (), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (), and quantities and their changes ( and ). There is no ge ...

functor
s between them as morphisms.


Construction of new categories


Dual category

Any category ''C'' can itself be considered as a new category in a different way: the objects are the same as those in the original category but the arrows are those of the original category reversed. This is called the ''dual'' or ''opposite category'' and is denoted ''C''op.


Product categories

If ''C'' and ''D'' are categories, one can form the ''product category'' ''C'' × ''D'': the objects are pairs consisting of one object from ''C'' and one from ''D'', and the morphisms are also pairs, consisting of one morphism in ''C'' and one in ''D''. Such pairs can be composed componentwise.


Types of morphisms

A
morphism In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and th ...

morphism
''f'' : ''a'' → ''b'' is called * a ''
monomorphism In the context of abstract algebra In algebra, which is a broad division of mathematics, abstract algebra (occasionally called modern algebra) is the study of algebraic structures. Algebraic structures include group (mathematics), groups, rin ...
'' (or ''monic'') if it is left-cancellable, i.e. ''fg1'' = ''fg2'' implies ''g1'' = ''g2'' for all morphisms ''g''1, ''g2'' : ''x'' → ''a''. * an ''
epimorphism 220px In category theory Category theory formalizes mathematical structure and its concepts in terms of a Graph labeling, labeled directed graph called a ''Category (mathematics), category'', whose nodes are called ''objects'', and whose labe ...
'' (or ''epic'') if it is right-cancellable, i.e. ''g1f'' = ''g2f'' implies ''g1'' = ''g2'' for all morphisms ''g1'', ''g2'' : ''b'' → ''x''. * a ''
bimorphism In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and th ...
'' if it is both a monomorphism and an epimorphism. * a ''
retraction In academic publishing Academic publishing is the subfield of publishing which distributes academic research and scholarship. Most academic work is published in academic journal articles, books or thesis' form. The part of academic written o ...
'' if it has a right inverse, i.e. if there exists a morphism ''g'' : ''b'' → ''a'' with ''fg'' = 1''b''. * a ''
section Section, Sectioning or Sectioned may refer to: Arts, entertainment and media * Section (music) AABA form) in the key of C. ">Thirty-two-bar_form.html" ;"title="Rhythm changes bridge (B section of an Thirty-two-bar form">AABA form) in the key ...
'' if it has a left inverse, i.e. if there exists a morphism ''g'' : ''b'' → ''a'' with ''gf'' = 1''a''. * an ''
isomorphism In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and ...

isomorphism
'' if it has an inverse, i.e. if there exists a morphism ''g'' : ''b'' → ''a'' with ''fg'' = 1''b'' and ''gf'' = 1''a''. * an ''
endomorphism In mathematics, an endomorphism is a morphism from a mathematical object to itself. An endomorphism that is also an isomorphism is an automorphism. For example, an endomorphism of a vector space is a linear map , and an endomorphism of a group ...
'' if ''a'' = ''b''. The class of endomorphisms of ''a'' is denoted end(''a''). * an ''
automorphism In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and t ...

automorphism
'' if ''f'' is both an endomorphism and an isomorphism. The class of automorphisms of ''a'' is denoted aut(''a''). Every retraction is an epimorphism. Every section is a monomorphism. The following three statements are equivalent: * ''f'' is a monomorphism and a retraction; * ''f'' is an epimorphism and a section; * ''f'' is an isomorphism. Relations among morphisms (such as ''fg'' = ''h'') can most conveniently be represented with
commutative diagram 350px, The commutative diagram used in the proof of the five lemma. In mathematics, and especially in category theory, a commutative diagram is a Diagram (category theory), diagram such that all directed paths in the diagram with the same start an ...

commutative diagram
s, where the objects are represented as points and the morphisms as arrows.


Types of categories

* In many categories, e.g. Ab or Vect''K'', the hom-sets hom(''a'', ''b'') are not just sets but actually
abelian group In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities an ...
s, and the composition of morphisms is compatible with these group structures; i.e. is bilinear. Such a category is called preadditive. If, furthermore, the category has all finite
products Product may refer to: Business * Product (business), an item that serves as a solution to a specific consumer problem. * Product (project management), a deliverable or set of deliverables that contribute to a business solution Mathematics * Produc ...
and
coproduct In category theory Category theory formalizes mathematical structure and its concepts in terms of a Graph labeling, labeled directed graph called a ''Category (mathematics), category'', whose nodes are called ''objects'', and whose labelled d ...
s, it is called an
additive category In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). It h ...
. If all morphisms have a
kernel Kernel may refer to: Computing * Kernel (operating system), the central component of most operating systems * Kernel (image processing), a matrix used for image convolution * Compute kernel, in GPGPU programming * Kernel method, in machine learnin ...
and a
cokernel The cokernel of a linear mapping In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change ...

cokernel
, and all epimorphisms are cokernels and all monomorphisms are kernels, then we speak of an
abelian category In mathematics, an abelian category is a Category (mathematics), category in which morphisms and Object (category theory), objects can be added and in which Kernel (category theory), kernels and cokernels exist and have desirable properties. The mo ...
. A typical example of an abelian category is the category of abelian groups. * A category is called complete if all small
limits Limit or Limits may refer to: Arts and media * Limit (music) In music theory, limit or harmonic limit is a way of characterizing the harmony found in a piece or genre (music), genre of music, or the harmonies that can be made using a particular ...
exist in it. The categories of sets, abelian groups and topological spaces are complete. * A category is called
cartesian closed In category theory Category theory formalizes mathematical structure and its concepts in terms of a Graph labeling, labeled directed graph called a ''Category (mathematics), category'', whose nodes are called ''objects'', and whose labelled dir ...
if it has finite direct products and a morphism defined on a finite product can always be represented by a morphism defined on just one of the factors. Examples include Set and CPO, the category of
complete partial orderIn mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). It ha ...
s with Scott-continuous functions. * A
topos In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and t ...

topos
is a certain type of cartesian closed category in which all of mathematics can be formulated (just like classically all of mathematics is formulated in the category of sets). A topos can also be used to represent a logical theory.


See also

*
Enriched categoryIn category theory Category theory formalizes mathematical structure and its concepts in terms of a Graph labeling, labeled directed graph called a ''Category (mathematics), category'', whose nodes are called ''objects'', and whose labelled dire ...
*
Higher category theory In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers ( and ), formulas and related structures (), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (), and quantities and their changes ( and ). There is no genera ...
* Quantaloid *
Table of mathematical symbols A mathematical symbol is a figure or a combination of figures that is used to represent a mathematical object A mathematical object is an abstract concept arising in mathematics. In the usual language of mathematics, an ''object'' is anything that ...


Notes


References

* (now free on-line edition,
GNU FDL The GNU Free Documentation License (GNU FDL or simply GFDL) is a copyleft license for free documentation, designed by the Free Software Foundation (FSF) for the GNU Project. It is similar to the GNU General Public License, giving readers the ri ...
). * . * . *. * . * * . * . * . * . * . * . * {{Authority control *