Linearizing Combinators

Robin Cockett and Jean-Simon Pacaud Lemay

In 2017, Bauer, Johnson, Osborne, Riehl, and Tebbe (BJORT) showed that the abelian functor calculus provides an example of a Cartesian differential category. The definition of a Cartesian differential category is based on a differential combinator which directly formalizes the total derivative from multivariable calculus. However, in the aforementioned work the authors used techniques from Goodwillie's functor calculus to establish a linearization process from which they then derived a differential combinator. This raised the question of what the precise relationship between linearization and having a differential combinator might be.

In this paper, we introduce the notion of a linearizing combinator which abstracts linearization in the abelian functor calculus. We then use it to provide an alternative axiomatization of a Cartesian differential category. Every Cartesian differential category comes equipped with a canonical linearizing combinator obtained by differentiation at zero. Conversely, a differential combinator can be constructed à la BJORT when one has a system of partial linearizing combinators in each context. Thus, while linearizing combinators do provide an alternative axiomatization of Cartesian differential categories, an explicit notion of partial linearization is required. This is in contrast to the situation for differential combinators where partial differentiation is automatic in the presence of total differentiation. The ability to form a system of partial linearizing combinators from a total linearizing combinator, while not being possible in general, is possible when the setting is Cartesian closed.

Keywords: Cartesian Differential Categories, Linearizing Combinators, Abelian Functor Calculus

2020 MSC: 18F40, 18F50

Theory and Applications of Categories, Vol. 38, 2022, No. 13, pp 374-431.

Published 2022-02-24.

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