Two isomorphism criteria for directed colimits

Using the general notions of finitely presentable and finitely generated object introduced by Gabriel and Ulmer in 1971, we prove that, in any (locally small) category, two sequences of finitely presentable objects and morphisms (or two sequences of finitely generated objects and monomorphisms) have isomorphic colimits (=direct limits) if, and only if, they are confluent. The latter means  that the two given sequences  can be connected by a back-and-forth chain of morphisms that is cofinal on each side, and commutes with the sequences at each finite stage. In several concrete situations,  analogous isomorphism criteria are typically obtained by ad hoc arguments.  The abstract results given here can  play the useful  rôle of discerning  the general from the specific in situations of actual interest. We illustrate by applying them to varieties  of algebras, on the one hand, and to dimension groups—the ordered $K_{0}$ of approximately finite-dimensional  C*-algebras—on the other. The first application encompasses such classical examples as Kurosh’s isomorphism criterion for countable torsion-free Abelian groups of finite rank. The second application yields the Bratteli-Elliott  Isomorphism Criterion for dimension groups. Finally, we  discuss  Bratteli’s original isomorphism criterion for approximately finite-dimensional C*-algebras, and show that his result does not follow from ours.

Two isomorphism criteria for directed colimits

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  • […] These are the slides of a presentation given in Stellenbosch on two isomorphisms criteria for co-limits of sequences of finitely presented or finitely generated objects in a locally small categories.  The preprint containing full proofs and applications  of these two results is available here. […]

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