Three viewpoints on semi-abelian homology
The main theme of the thesis is to present and compare three different viewpoints on semi-abelian homology, resulting in three ways of defining and calculating homology objects. Any two of these three homology theories coincide whenever they are both defined, but having these different approaches available makes it possible to choose the most appropriate one in any given situation, and their respective strengths complement each other to give powerful homological tools.
The oldest viewpoint, which is borrowed from the abelian context where it was introduced by Barr and Beck, is comonadic homology, generating projective simplicial resolutions in a functorial way. This concept only works in monadic semi-abelian categories, such as semi-abelian varieties, including the categories of groups and Lie algebras. Comonadic homology can be viewed not only as a functor in the first entry, giving homology of objects for a particular choice of coefficients, but also as a functor in the second variable, varying the coefficients themselves. As such it has certain universality properties which single it out amongst theories of a similar kind. This is well-known in the setting of abelian categories, but here we extend this result to our semi-abelian context.
Fixing the choice of coefficients again, the question naturally arises of how the homology theory depends on the chosen comonad. Again it is well-known in the abelian case that the theory only depends on the projective class which the comonad generates. We extend this to the semi-abelian setting by proving a comparison theorem for simplicial resolutions. This leads to the result that any two projective simplicial resolutions, the definition of which requires slightly more care in the semi-abelian setting, give rise to the same homology. Thus again the homology theory only depends on the projective class.
The second viewpoint uses Hopf formulae to define homology, and works in a non-monadic setting; it only requires a semi-abelian category with enough projectives. Even this slightly weaker setting leads to strong results such as a long exact homology sequence, the Everaert sequence, which is a generalised and extended version of the Stallings-Stammbach sequence known for groups. Hopf formulae use projective presentations of objects, and this is closer to the abelian philosophy of using any projective resolution, rather than a special functorial one generated by a comonad. To define higher Hopf formulae for the higher homology objects the use of categorical Galois theory is crucial. This theory allows a choice of Birkhoff subcategory to generate a class of central extensions, which play a big role not only in the definition via Hopf formulae but also in our third viewpoint.
This final and new viewpoint we consider is homology via satellites or pointwise Kan extensions. This makes the universal properties of the homology objects apparent, giving a useful new tool in dealing with statements about homology. The driving motivation behind this point of view is the Everaert sequence mentioned above. Janelidze's theory of generalised satellites enables us to use the universal properties of the Everaert sequence to interpret homology as a pointwise Kan extension, or limit. In the first instance, this allows us to calculate homology step by step, and it removes the need for projective objects from the definition. Furthermore, we show that homology is the limit of the diagram consisting of the kernels of all central extensions of a given object, which forges a strong connection between homology and cohomology. When enough projectives are available, we can interpret homology as calculating fixed points of endomorphisms of a given projective presentation.