chain complex


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of each homomorphism is included in the
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of the next. Associated to a chain complex is its Homology (mathematics), homology, which describes how the images are included in the kernels. A cochain complex is similar to a chain complex, except that its homomorphisms are in the opposite direction. The homology of a cochain complex is called its cohomology. In algebraic topology, the singular chain complex of a topological space X is constructed using continuous function#continuous functions between topological spaces, continuous maps from a simplex to X, and the homomorphisms of the chain complex capture how these maps restrict to the boundary of the simplex. The homology of this chain complex is called the singular homology of X, and is a commonly used topological invariant, invariant of a topological space. Chain complexes are studied in homological algebra, but are used in several areas of mathematics, including abstract algebra, Galois theory, differential geometry and algebraic geometry. They can be defined more generally in abelian categories.


A chain complex (A_\bullet, d_\bullet) is a sequence of abelian groups or modules ..., ''A''0, ''A''1, ''A''2, ''A''3, ''A''4, ... connected by homomorphisms (called boundary operators or differentials) , such that the composition of any two consecutive maps is the zero map. Explicitly, the differentials satisfy , or with indices suppressed, . The complex may be written out as follows. :: \cdots \xleftarrow A_0 \xleftarrow A_1 \xleftarrow A_2 \xleftarrow A_3 \xleftarrow A_4 \xleftarrow \cdots The cochain complex (A^\bullet, d^\bullet) is the dual (category theory), dual notion to a chain complex. It consists of a sequence of abelian groups or modules ..., ''A''0, ''A''1, ''A''2, ''A''3, ''A''4, ... connected by homomorphisms satisfying . The cochain complex may be written out in a similar fashion to the chain complex. :: \cdots \xrightarrow A^0 \xrightarrow A^1 \xrightarrow A^2 \xrightarrow A^3 \xrightarrow A^4 \xrightarrow \cdots The index ''n'' in either ''A''''n'' or ''A''''n'' is referred to as the degree (or dimension). The difference between chain and cochain complexes is that, in chain complexes, the differentials decrease dimension, whereas in cochain complexes they increase dimension. All the concepts and definitions for chain complexes apply to cochain complexes, except that they will follow this different convention for dimension, and often terms will be given the prefix ''co-''. In this article, definitions will be given for chain complexes when the distinction is not required. A bounded chain complex is one in which almost all#cardinality, almost all the ''A''''n'' are 0; that is, a finite complex extended to the left and right by 0. An example is the chain complex defining the simplicial homology of a finite simplicial complex. A chain complex is bounded above if all modules above some fixed degree ''N'' are 0, and is bounded below if all modules below some fixed degree are 0. Clearly, a complex is bounded both above and below if and only if the complex is bounded. The elements of the individual groups of a (co)chain complex are called (co)chains. The elements in the kernel of ''d'' are called (co)cycles (or closed elements), and the elements in the image of ''d'' are called (co)boundaries (or exact elements). Right from the definition of the differential, all boundaries are cycles. The ''n''-th (co)homology group ''H''''n'' (''H''''n'') is the group of (co)cycles modulo (jargon)#structures, modulo (co)boundaries in degree ''n'', that is, ::H_n = \ker d_/\mbox d_ \quad \left(H^n = \ker d^/\mbox d^ \right)

Exact sequences

An exact sequence (or exact complex) is a chain complex whose homology groups are all zero. This means all closed elements in the complex are exact. A short exact sequence is a bounded exact sequence in which only the groups ''A''''k'', ''A''''k''+1, ''A''''k''+2 may be nonzero. For example, the following chain complex is a short exact sequence. : \cdots \xrightarrow \; 0 \; \xrightarrow \; \mathbf \; \xrightarrow \; \mathbf \twoheadrightarrow \mathbf/p\mathbf \; \xrightarrow \; 0 \; \xrightarrow \cdots In the middle group, the closed elements are the elements pZ; these are clearly the exact elements in this group.

Chain maps

A chain map ''f'' between two chain complexes (A_\bullet, d_) and (B_\bullet, d_) is a sequence f_\bullet of homomorphisms f_n : A_n \rightarrow B_n for each ''n'' that commutes with the boundary operators on the two chain complexes, so d_ \circ f_n = f_ \circ d_. This is written out in the following commutative diagram. : A chain map sends cycles to cycles and boundaries to boundaries, and thus induces a map on homology (f_\bullet)_*:H_\bullet(A_\bullet, d_) \rightarrow H_\bullet(B_\bullet, d_). A continuous map ''f'' between topological spaces ''X'' and ''Y'' induces a chain map between the singular chain complexes of ''X'' and ''Y'', and hence induces a map ''f''* between the singular homology of ''X'' and ''Y'' as well. When ''X'' and ''Y'' are both equal to the n-sphere, ''n''-sphere, the map induced on homology defines the Degree of a continuous mapping#From Sn to Sn, degree of the map ''f''. The concept of chain map reduces to the one of boundary through the construction of the Mapping cone (homological algebra), cone of a chain map.

Chain homotopy

A chain homotopy offers a way to relate two chain maps that induce the same map on homology groups, even though the maps may be different. Given two chain complexes ''A'' and ''B'', and two chain maps , a chain homotopy is a sequence of homomorphisms such that . The maps may be written out in a diagram as follows, but this diagram is not commutative. : The map ''hd''''A'' + ''d''''B''''h'' is easily verified to induce the zero map on homology, for any ''h''. It immediately follows that ''f'' and ''g'' induce the same map on homology. One says ''f'' and ''g'' are chain homotopic (or simply homotopic), and this property defines an equivalence relation between chain maps. Let ''X'' and ''Y'' be topological spaces. In the case of singular homology, a homotopy between continuous maps induces a chain homotopy between the chain maps corresponding to ''f'' and ''g''. This shows that two homotopic maps induce the same map on singular homology. The name "chain homotopy" is motivated by this example.


Singular homology

Let ''X'' be a topological space. Define ''C''''n''(''X'') for Natural number, natural ''n'' to be the free abelian group formally generated by singular homology, singular n-simplices in ''X'', and define the boundary map \partial_n: C_n(X) \to C_(X) to be ::\partial_n : \, (\sigma: [v_0,\ldots,v_n] \to X) \mapsto (\sum_^n (-1)^i \sigma: [v_0,\ldots, \hat v_i, \ldots, v_n] \to X) where the hat denotes the omission of a vertex (geometry), vertex. That is, the boundary of a singular simplex is the alternating sum of restrictions to its faces. It can be shown that ∂2 = 0, so (C_\bullet, \partial_\bullet) is a chain complex; the singular homology H_\bullet(X) is the homology of this complex. Singular homology is a useful invariant of topological spaces up to homotopy#homotopy equivalence, homotopy equivalence. The degree zero homology group is a free abelian group on the connected space#Path connectedness, path-components of ''X''.

de Rham cohomology

The differential form, differential ''k''-forms on any smooth manifold ''M'' form a real number, real vector space called Ω''k''(''M'') under addition. The exterior derivative ''d'' maps Ω''k''(''M'') to Ω''k''+1(''M''), and ''d'' = 0 follows essentially from symmetry of second derivatives, so the vector spaces of ''k''-forms along with the exterior derivative are a cochain complex. : \Omega^0(M)\ \stackrel\ \Omega^1(M) \to \Omega^2(M) \to \Omega^3(M) \to \cdots The cohomology of this complex is called the de Rham cohomology of ''X''. The homology group in dimension zero is isomorphic to the vector space of locally constant functions from ''M'' to R. Thus for a compact manifold, this is the real vector space whose dimension is the number of connected components of ''M''. smoothness#smooth functions between manifolds, Smooth maps between manifolds induce chain maps, and smooth homotopies between maps induce chain homotopies.

Category of chain complexes

Chain complexes of ''K''-modules with chain maps form a category (mathematics), category Ch''K'', where ''K'' is a commutative ring. If ''V'' = ''V''_* and ''W'' = ''W''_* are chain complexes, their tensor product V \otimes W is a chain complex with degree ''n'' elements given by : (V \otimes W)_n = \bigoplus_ V_i \otimes W_j and differential given by : \partial (a \otimes b) = \partial a \otimes b + (-1)^ a \otimes \partial b where ''a'' and ''b'' are any two homogeneous vectors in ''V'' and ''W'' respectively, and \left, a\ denotes the degree of ''a''. This tensor product makes the category Ch''K'' into a symmetric monoidal category. The identity object with respect to this monoidal product is the base ring ''K'' viewed as a chain complex in degree 0. The braided monoidal category, braiding is given on simple tensors of homogeneous elements by : a \otimes b \mapsto (-1)^ b \otimes a The sign is necessary for the braiding to be a chain map. Moreover, the category of chain complexes of ''K''-modules also has closed monoidal category, internal Hom: given chain complexes ''V'' and ''W'', the internal Hom of ''V'' and ''W'', denoted Hom(''V'',''W''), is the chain complex with degree ''n'' elements given by \Pi_\text_K (V_i,W_) and differential given by : (\partial f)(v) = \partial(f(v)) - (-1)^ f(\partial(v)) . We have a natural isomorphism :\text(A\otimes B, C) \cong \text(A,\text(B,C))

Further examples

*Amitsur complex *A complex used to define Bloch's higher Chow groups *Buchsbaum–Rim complex *Čech complex *Cousin complex *Eagon–Northcott complex *Gersten complex *Graph complex *Koszul complex *Moore complex *Schur complex

See also

* Differential graded algebra * Differential graded Lie algebra * Dold–Kan correspondence says there is an equivalence between the category of chain complexes and the category of simplicial abelian groups. * Buchsbaum–Eisenbud acyclicity criterion * Differential graded module


* * {{cite book , last=Hatcher , first=Allen , author-link=Allen Hatcher , date=2002 , title=Algebraic Topology , url= , location=Cambridge , publisher=Cambridge University Press , isbn=0-521-79540-0 Homological algebra Differential topology