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Comparing geometric realizations of tricategories

Antonio M Cegarra and Benjamín A Heredia

Algebraic & Geometric Topology 14 (2014) 1997–2064
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This paper contains some contributions to the study of classifying spaces for tricategories, with applications to the homotopy theory of monoidal categories, bicategories, braided monoidal categories and monoidal bicategories. Any small tricategory has various associated simplicial or pseudosimplicial objects and we explore the relationship between three of them: the pseudosimplicial bicategory (so-called Grothendieck nerve) of the tricategory, the simplicial bicategory termed its Segal nerve and the simplicial set called its Street geometric nerve. We prove that the geometric realizations of all of these ‘nerves of the tricategory’ are homotopy equivalent. By using Grothendieck nerves we state the precise form in which the process of taking classifying spaces transports tricategorical coherence to homotopy coherence. Segal nerves allow us to prove that, under natural requirements, the classifying space of a monoidal bicategory is, in a precise way, a loop space. With the use of geometric nerves, we obtain simplicial sets whose simplices have a pleasing geometrical description in terms of the cells of the tricategory and we prove that, via the classifying space construction, bicategorical groups are a convenient algebraic model for connected homotopy 3–types.

monoidal bicategory, tricategory, nerve, classifying space, homotopy type, loop space
Received: 4 September 2013
Revised: 5 December 2013
Accepted: 6 December 2013
Published: 28 August 2014
Antonio M Cegarra
Department of Algebra
Faculty of Sciences
University of Granada
18071, Granada
Benjamín A Heredia
Department of Algebra
Faculty of Sciences
University of Granada
18071, Granada