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Algebraic topology is a branch of
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 ...
that uses tools from
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 (mathematics), rings, field (mathema ...
to study
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. The basic goal is to find algebraic invariants that classify topological spaces
up to Two mathematical Mathematics (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is a ...
homeomorphism and a donut (torus In geometry, a torus (plural tori, colloquially donut) is a surface of revolution generated by revolving a circle in three-dimensional space about an axis that is coplanarity, coplanar with the circle. If the axis of ...
, though usually most classify up to
homotopy equivalence In topology, a branch of mathematics, two continuous function (topology), continuous functions from one topological space to another are called homotopic (from Ancient Greek, Greek ὁμός ''homós'' "same, similar" and τόπος ''tópos'' " ...
. Although algebraic topology primarily uses algebra to study topological problems, using topology to solve algebraic problems is sometimes also possible. Algebraic topology, for example, allows for a convenient proof that any
subgroup In group theory, a branch of mathematics, given a group (mathematics), group ''G'' under a binary operation ∗, a subset ''H'' of ''G'' is called a subgroup of ''G'' if ''H'' also forms a group under the operation ∗. More precisely ...
of a
free group for the free group on two generators would look like. Each vertex represents an element of the free group, and each edge represents multiplication by ''a'' or ''b''. In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the stud ...
is again a free group.


Main branches of algebraic topology

Below are some of the main areas studied in algebraic topology:


Homotopy groups

In mathematics, homotopy groups are used in algebraic topology to classify
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. The first and simplest homotopy group is the
fundamental group In the mathematical field of algebraic topology, the fundamental group of a topological space is the group of the equivalence class In mathematics, when the elements of some set (mathematics), set have a notion of equivalence (formalized ...

fundamental group
, which records information about loops in a space. Intuitively, homotopy groups record information about the basic shape, or holes, of a topological space.


Homology

In algebraic topology and
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 (mathematics), rings, field (mathema ...
, homology (in part from
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
ὁμός ''homos'' "identical") is a certain general procedure to associate a
sequence 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 ...

sequence
of
abelian group 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 g ...
s or
modules Broadly speaking, modularity is the degree to which a system's components may be separated and recombined, often with the benefit of flexibility and variety in use. The concept of modularity is used primarily to reduce complexity by breaking a syst ...
with a given mathematical object such as a
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 ...
or a
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 ...
.


Cohomology

In
homology theory 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 ...
and algebraic topology, cohomology is a general term for a
sequence 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 ...

sequence
of
abelian group 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 g ...
s defined from a co-chain complex. That is, cohomology is defined as the abstract study of cochains,
cocycle 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 ...
s, and coboundaries. Cohomology can be viewed as a method of assigning
algebraic invariant Invariant theory is a branch of abstract algebra dealing with actions of groups on algebraic varieties Algebraic varieties are the central objects of study in algebraic geometry Algebraic geometry is a branch of mathematics, classically st ...
s to a topological space that has a more refined
algebraic 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 calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). It ...
than does homology. Cohomology arises from the algebraic dualization of the construction of homology. In less abstract language, cochains in the fundamental sense should assign 'quantities' to the ''
chains A chain is a assembly of connected pieces, called links, typically made of metal, with an overall character similar to that of a in that it is flexible and d in but , rigid, and load-bearing in . A chain may consist of two or more links. C ...
'' of homology theory.


Manifolds

A manifold is a
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 ...
that near each point resembles
Euclidean space Euclidean space is the fundamental space of classical geometry. Originally, it was the three-dimensional space of Euclidean geometry, but in modern mathematics there are Euclidean spaces of any nonnegative integer dimension (mathematics), dimens ...
. Examples include the
plane Plane or planes may refer to: * Airplane An airplane or aeroplane (informally plane) is a fixed-wing aircraft A fixed-wing aircraft is a heavier-than-air flying machine Early flying machines include all forms of aircraft studied ...
, the
sphere A sphere (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appr ...

sphere
, and the
torus In geometry, a torus (plural tori, colloquially donut) is a surface of revolution generated by revolving a circle in three-dimensional space about an axis that is coplanarity, coplanar with the circle. If the axis of revolution does not to ...

torus
, which can all be realized in three dimensions, but also the
Klein bottle in three-dimensional space In topology, a branch of mathematics, the Klein bottle () is an example of a Orientability, non-orientable Surface (topology), surface; it is a two-dimensional manifold against which a system for determining a normal vec ...

Klein bottle
and
real projective plane 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 ...
which cannot be realized in three dimensions, but can be realized in four dimensions. Typically, results in algebraic topology focus on global, non-differentiable aspects of manifolds; for example
Poincaré duality In mathematics, the Poincaré duality theorem, named after Henri Poincaré, is a basic result on the structure of the homology (mathematics), homology and cohomology group (mathematics), groups of manifolds. It states that if ''M'' is an ''n''-dime ...
.


Knot theory

Knot theory is the study of mathematical knots. While inspired by knots that appear in daily life in shoelaces and rope, a mathematician's knot differs in that the ends are joined together so that it cannot be undone. In precise mathematical language, a knot is an
embedding 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 gen ...
of a
circle A circle is a shape A shape or figure is the form of an object or its external boundary, outline, or external surface File:Water droplet lying on a damask.jpg, Water droplet lying on a damask. Surface tension is high enough to preven ...

circle
in 3-dimensional
Euclidean space Euclidean space is the fundamental space of classical geometry. Originally, it was the three-dimensional space of Euclidean geometry, but in modern mathematics there are Euclidean spaces of any nonnegative integer dimension (mathematics), dimens ...
, \mathbb^3. Two mathematical knots are equivalent if one can be transformed into the other via a deformation of \mathbb^3 upon itself (known as an
ambient isotopy In the mathematical subject of topology s, which have only one surface and one edge, are a kind of object studied in topology. In mathematics, topology (from the Greek language, Greek words , and ) is concerned with the properties of a mathem ...
); these transformations correspond to manipulations of a knotted string that do not involve cutting the string or passing the string through itself.


Complexes

A simplicial complex is a
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 ...
of a certain kind, constructed by "gluing together"
point Point or points may refer to: Places * Point, LewisImage:Point Western Isles NASA World Wind.png, Satellite image of Point Point ( gd, An Rubha), also known as the Eye Peninsula, is a peninsula some 11 km long in the Outer Hebrides (or Western I ...
s,
line segment In geometry Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; ' "earth", ' "measurement") is, with , one of the oldest branches of . It is concerned with properties of space that are related with distance, shape, size, and relative position ...

line segment
s,
triangle A triangle is a polygon In geometry, a polygon () is a plane (mathematics), plane Shape, figure that is described by a finite number of straight line segments connected to form a closed ''polygonal chain'' (or ''polygonal circuit''). The ...

triangle
s, and their
''n''-dimensional counterparts
''n''-dimensional counterparts
(see illustration). Simplicial complexes should not be confused with the more abstract notion of a
simplicial setIn mathematics, a simplicial set is an object made up of "simplices" in a specific way. Simplicial sets are higher-dimensional generalizations of directed graphs, partially ordered sets and Category (mathematics), categories. Formally, a simplicial ...
appearing in modern simplicial homotopy theory. The purely combinatorial counterpart to a simplicial complex is an
abstract simplicial complex In combinatorics Combinatorics is an area of 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 ...
. A CW complex is a type of topological space introduced by J. H. C. Whitehead to meet the needs of
homotopy theoryIn 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 ...
. This class of spaces is broader and has some better categorical properties than
simplicial complex 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 ...
es, but still retains a combinatorial nature that allows for computation (often with a much smaller complex).


Method of algebraic invariants

An older name for the subject was
combinatorial topologyIn 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 ...
, implying an emphasis on how a space X was constructed from simpler ones (the modern standard tool for such construction is the
CW complex A CW complex is a kind of a 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 quantiti ...
). In the 1920s and 1930s, there was growing emphasis on investigating topological spaces by finding correspondences from them to algebraic
groups A group is a number of people or things that are located, gathered, or classed together. Groups of people * Cultural group, a group whose members share the same cultural identity * Ethnic group, a group whose members share the same ethnic identi ...
, which led to the change of name to algebraic topology. The combinatorial topology name is still sometimes used to emphasize an algorithmic approach based on decomposition of spaces.. In the algebraic approach, one finds a correspondence between spaces and
groups A group is a number of people or things that are located, gathered, or classed together. Groups of people * Cultural group, a group whose members share the same cultural identity * Ethnic group, a group whose members share the same ethnic identi ...
that respects the relation of
homeomorphism and a donut (torus In geometry, a torus (plural tori, colloquially donut) is a surface of revolution generated by revolving a circle in three-dimensional space about an axis that is coplanarity, coplanar with the circle. If the axis of ...
(or more general
homotopy In topology s, which have only one surface and one edge, are a kind of object studied in topology. In mathematics, topology (from the Greek language, Greek words , and ) is concerned with the properties of a mathematical object, geometric o ...

homotopy
) of spaces. This allows one to recast statements about topological spaces into statements about groups, which have a great deal of manageable structure, often making these statement easier to prove. Two major ways in which this can be done are through
fundamental group In the mathematical field of algebraic topology, the fundamental group of a topological space is the group of the equivalence class In mathematics, when the elements of some set (mathematics), set have a notion of equivalence (formalized ...

fundamental group
s, or more generally
homotopy theoryIn 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 ...
, and through homology and
cohomology 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 ...
groups. The fundamental groups give us basic information about the structure of a topological space, but they are often nonabelian and can be difficult to work with. The fundamental group of a (finite)
simplicial complex 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 ...
does have a finite
presentation A presentation conveys information from a speaker to an audience An audience is a group of people who participate in a show or encounter a work of art A work of art, artwork, art piece, piece of art or art object is an a ...
. Homology and cohomology groups, on the other hand, are abelian and in many important cases finitely generated.
Finitely generated abelian group In abstract algebra, an abelian group (G,+) is called finitely generated if there exist finitely many elements x_1,\dots,x_s in G such that every x in G can be written in the form x = n_1x_1 + n_2x_2 + \cdots + n_sx_s for some integers n_1,\dots, n_ ...
s are completely classified and are particularly easy to work with.


Setting in category theory

In general, all constructions of algebraic topology are
functorial 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 ...
; the notions of
category Category, plural categories, may refer to: Philosophy and general uses *Categorization Categorization is the ability and activity to recognize shared features or similarities between the elements of the experience of the world (such as O ...
,
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
and
natural transformation 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 ...

natural transformation
originated here. Fundamental groups and homology and cohomology groups are not only ''invariants'' of the underlying topological space, in the sense that two topological spaces which are
homeomorphic In the mathematical Mathematics (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its populat ...
have the same associated groups, but their associated morphisms also correspond — a continuous mapping of spaces induces a
group homomorphism 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 ...

group homomorphism
on the associated groups, and these homomorphisms can be used to show non-existence (or, much more deeply, existence) of mappings. One of the first mathematicians to work with different types of cohomology was
Georges de Rham Georges de Rham (; 10 September 1903 – 9 October 1990) was a Switzerland, Swiss mathematician, known for his contributions to differential topology. Biography Georges de Rham was born on 10 September 1903 in Roche, Vaud, Roche, a small village ...

Georges de Rham
. One can use the differential structure of
smooth manifolds In mathematics, a differentiable manifold (also differential manifold) is a type of manifold that is locally similar enough to a linear space to allow one to do calculus. Any manifold can be described by a collection of charts, also known as an at ...
via de Rham cohomology, or Čech or
sheaf cohomologyIn mathematics, sheaf cohomology is the application of homological algebra to analyze the global sections of a sheaf (mathematics), sheaf on a topological space. Broadly speaking, sheaf cohomology describes the obstructions to solving a geometric pro ...
to investigate the solvability of
differential equation In mathematics, a differential equation is an equation 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 ( ...

differential equation
s defined on the manifold in question. De Rham showed that all of these approaches were interrelated and that, for a closed, oriented manifold, the Betti numbers derived through simplicial homology were the same Betti numbers as those derived through de Rham cohomology. This was extended in the 1950s, when
Samuel Eilenberg Samuel Eilenberg (September 30, 1913 – January 30, 1998) was a Polish-American mathematician who co-founded category theory Category theory formalizes mathematical structure and its concepts in terms of a Graph labeling, labeled directed graph ...
and
Norman Steenrod Norman Earl Steenrod (April 22, 1910October 14, 1971) was an American mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as q ...
generalized this approach. They defined homology and cohomology as
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 equipped with
natural transformation 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 ...

natural transformation
s subject to certain axioms (e.g., a weak equivalence of spaces passes to an isomorphism of homology groups), verified that all existing (co)homology theories satisfied these axioms, and then proved that such an axiomatization uniquely characterized the theory.


Applications of algebraic topology

Classic applications of algebraic topology include: * The
Brouwer fixed point theorem Brouwer's fixed-point theorem is a fixed-point theoremIn mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and c ...
: every
continuous Continuity or continuous may refer to: Mathematics * Continuity (mathematics), the opposing concept to discreteness; common examples include ** Continuous probability distribution or random variable in probability and statistics ** Continuous ga ...
map from the unit ''n''-disk to itself has a fixed point. * The free rank of the ''n''-th homology group of a
simplicial complex 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 ...
is the ''n''-th
Betti number In algebraic topology, the Betti numbers are used to distinguish topological spaces based on the connectivity of ''n''-dimensional simplicial complexes. For the most reasonable finite-dimensional spaces (such as compact manifolds, finite simpl ...
, which allows one to calculate the Euler–Poincaré characteristic. * One can use the differential structure of
smooth manifolds In mathematics, a differentiable manifold (also differential manifold) is a type of manifold that is locally similar enough to a linear space to allow one to do calculus. Any manifold can be described by a collection of charts, also known as an at ...
via de Rham cohomology, or Čech or
sheaf cohomologyIn mathematics, sheaf cohomology is the application of homological algebra to analyze the global sections of a sheaf (mathematics), sheaf on a topological space. Broadly speaking, sheaf cohomology describes the obstructions to solving a geometric pro ...
to investigate the solvability of
differential equation In mathematics, a differential equation is an equation 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 ( ...

differential equation
s defined on the manifold in question. * A manifold is
orientable 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 ...
when the top-dimensional integral homology group is the integers, and is non-orientable when it is 0. * The ''n''-sphere admits a nowhere-vanishing continuous unit
vector field In vector calculus Vector calculus, or vector analysis, is concerned with differentiation Differentiation may refer to: Business * Differentiation (economics), the process of making a product different from other similar products * Product ...
if and only if ''n'' is odd. (For n=2, this is sometimes called the "
hairy ball theorem A hair whorl The hairy ball theorem of 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 topologi ...
".) * The
Borsuk–Ulam theorem In mathematics, the Borsuk–Ulam theorem states that every continuous function from an n-sphere, ''n''-sphere into Euclidean space, Euclidean ''n''-space maps some pair of antipodal points to the same point. Here, two points on a sphere are called ...
: any continuous map from the ''n''-sphere to Euclidean ''n''-space identifies at least one pair of antipodal points. * Any subgroup of a
free group for the free group on two generators would look like. Each vertex represents an element of the free group, and each edge represents multiplication by ''a'' or ''b''. In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the stud ...
is free. This result is quite interesting, because the statement is purely algebraic yet the simplest known proof is topological. Namely, any free group ''G'' may be realized as the fundamental group of a
graph Graph may refer to: Mathematics *Graph (discrete mathematics), a structure made of vertices and edges **Graph theory, the study of such graphs and their properties *Graph (topology), a topological space resembling a graph in the sense of discret ...
''X''. The main theorem on
covering space 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 tells us that every subgroup ''H'' of ''G'' is the fundamental group of some covering space ''Y'' of ''X''; but every such ''Y'' is again a graph. Therefore, its fundamental group ''H'' is free. On the other hand, this type of application is also handled more simply by the use of covering morphisms of
groupoids 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 ...
, and that technique has yielded subgroup theorems not yet proved by methods of algebraic topology; see . *
Topological combinatorics The mathematical Mathematics (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is a ...
.


Notable algebraic topologists


Important theorems in algebraic topology


See also


Notes


References

* ''(Discusses generalized versions of van Kampen's theorem applied to topological spaces and simplicial sets).'' *. * ''(Gives a broad view of higher-dimensional van Kampen theorems involving multiple groupoids)''. *. "Gives a general theorem on 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 ...
with a set of base points of a space which is the union of open sets." *. *. "The first 2-dimensional version of van Kampen's theorem." * This provides a homotopy theoretic approach to basic algebraic topology, without needing a basis in
singular homology 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 algebraic invariant (mathematics), invariants that classification theorem, classify ...
, or the method of simplicial approximation. It contains a lot of material on
crossed moduleIn mathematics, and especially in homotopy theory, a crossed module consists of group (mathematics), groups ''G'' and ''H'', where ''G'' Group action (mathematics), acts on ''H'' by automorphisms (which we will write on the left, (g,h) \mapsto g \cd ...
s. * *. A functorial, algebraic approach originally by Greenberg with geometric flavoring added by Harper. *. A modern, geometrically flavoured introduction to algebraic topology. * *. * *


Further reading

* and . * * Section 2.7 provides a category-theoretic presentation of the theorem as a colimit in the category of groupoids. {{DEFAULTSORT:Algebraic Topology