# nLab dependent sum

category theory

## Applications

#### Limits and colimits

limits and colimits

# Contents

## Idea

The dependent sum is a universal construction in category theory. It generalizes the Cartesian product to the situation where one factor may depend on the other. It is the left adjoint to the base change functor between slice categories.

The dual notion is that of dependent product.

## Definition

Let $\mathcal{C}$ be a category and $f \colon A \to I$ a morphism in $\mathcal{C}$ such that pullbacks along $f$ exist in $\mathcal{C}$. These then constitute a base change functor

$f^* \colon \mathcal{C}_{/I} \to \mathcal{C}_{/A}$

between the corresponding slice categories.

###### Definition

The dependent sum or dependent coproduct along the morphism $f$ is the left adjoint $\sum_f \colon \mathcal{C}_{/A} \to \mathcal{C}_{/I}$ of the base change functor

$(\sum_f \vdash f^* ) \colon \mathcal{C}_{/A} \stackrel{\overset{\sum_f}{\to}}{\underset{f^*}{\leftarrow}} \mathcal{C}_{/I} \,.$

This is directly seen to be equivalent to the following.

###### Definition

The dependent sum along $f \colon A \to I$ is the functor

$\sum_f \coloneqq f\circ (-) \colon \mathcal{C}_{/A} \to \mathcal{C}_{/I}$

given by composition with $f$.

## Properties

### Relation to the product

Assume that the category $\mathcal{C}$ has a terminal object $* \in \mathcal{C}$. Let $X \in \mathcal{C}$ be any object and assume that the terminal morphism $f \colon X \to *$ admits all pullbacks along it.

Notice that a pullback of some $A \to *$ along $X \to *$ is simply the product $X \times A$, equipped with its projection morphism $X \times A \to X$. But if we regard this as the image of the base change functor $f^* \colon \mathcal{C}_{/*} \to \mathcal{C}_{/X}$ then it is not quite just the product in $\mathcal{C}$. Instead we have:

###### Proposition

The product $X \times A \in \mathcal{C}$ is, if it exists, equivalently the dependent sum of the base change of $A \to *$ along $X \to *$:

$\sum_{X} X^* A \simeq X \times A \in \mathcal{C} \,.$

Here we write ”$X$” also for the morphism $X \to *$.

### Relation to type theory

Under the relation between category theory and type theory the dependent is the categorical semantics of dependent sum types .

Notce that under the identification of propositions as types, dependent sum types (or rather their bracket types) correspond to existential quantification $\exists x\colon X, P x$.

The following table shows how the natural deduction rules for dependent sum types correspond to their categorical semantics given by the dependent sum universal construction.

type theorycategory theory
syntaxsemantics
natural deductionuniversal construction
dependent sum typedependent sum
type formation$\frac{\vdash\: X \colon Type \;\;\;\;\; x \colon X \;\vdash\; A(x)\colon Type}{\vdash \; \left(\sum_{x \colon X} A\left(x\right)\right) \colon Type}$
term introduction$\frac{x \colon X \;\vdash\; a \colon A(x)}{\vdash (x,a) \colon \sum_{x' \colon X} A\left(x'\right) }$
term elimination$\frac{\vdash\; t \colon \left(\sum_{x \colon X} A\left(x\right)\right)}{\vdash\; p_1(t) \colon X\;\;\;\;\; \vdash\; p_2(t) \colon A(p_1(t))}$
computation rule$p_1(x,a) = x\;\;\;\; p_2(x,a) = a$

## References

Standard textbook accounts include section A1.5.3 of

and section IV of

Revised on October 8, 2012 00:27:17 by Urs Schreiber (89.204.139.144)